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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

US State Department Refuses to Extradite Posada to Venezuela

Posted May 28, 2005 by Dana Garrett in Cuba Politics.
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COHA Press Release

Hitting Rock Botton - - The Bush Administration’s Shameful Rejection of Venezuela’s Extradition Request

The State Department’s summary and insulting rejection of the extradition request issued by the government of Venezuela for Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles was as shocking as it was predictable. The decision not to hand over Posada to be tried for his alleged role in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner which 73 innocent people were killed does violence to this administration’s respect for the rule of law. Yet this is nothing new for a White House which has a long history of selective indignation towards villainous acts committed abroad. Such a categorical rejection of the administration’s own antiterrorist rhetoric bears strong resemblance to its similarly hypocritical praise for the 2002 coup attempt against the democratically-elected Hugo Ch�vez, thus belying President Bush’s supposed commitment to the spread of democracy throughout the hemisphere. Worst of all, the Department of State has dishonored this country’s dead as a result of a terrorist act on September 11 by not honoring those murdered in 1976 when a bomb blew up on a Cuban Airlines flight over the Bahamas. A preponderance of evidence � some of it from the FBI and the CIA � and his subsequent acts of terror dispel any doubt that Posada is a world-class terrorist.
Just as it was entirely predictable that the Bush administration would reject the extradition request as a cheap slap in the face to its adversaries in Caracas, is the certain fate of Washington’s already precipitous decline in its standing throughout Latin America. The moral cynicism behind the State Department’s reluctance to extradite a major international terrorist suspect will certainly be pointed to by leaders of Latin America’s “Pink Wave” as evidence of continued Yankee duplicity, and still another reason to disengage from the American hegemon.

While much of Latin America may be put off by Chavez’s style, they are not inclined to give any credence to the State Department’s claim that it does not extradite suspects for trial in a “kangaroo court.” Foggy Bottom has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to extradite terrorist suspects to countries with a reputation for judicial integrity far below Venezuela’s, such as Syria and Uzbekistan � presumably because such lax judicial regulation will lead to the desired swift punishment for suspects.

Embarrassingly to the average American, the joke has been circulating for weeks that the State Department would choose to turn down Venezuela’s extradition request for Posada on the eve of a Friday afternoon of a three-day national holiday, thus providing the slow news day environment in which indignation over his release would have time to cool down. This banal script was the exact one that the uncool Bush administration chose to follow.

But the administration’s decision was a fait accompli long before it was actually hatched. It has repeatedly revealed its inability to learn from its ethical pratfalls and to live by its own pretentious but non-observed standards, as evidenced by Bush’s nomination of the notorious intelligence manipulator, John Bolton, to be ambassador to the UN, and by the promotion of John Negroponte, who had a history of support for local death squads while he was Ambassador to Honduras. Additionally, the number two man in Bush’s National Security Council, Elliot Abrams, was an irresistable candidate for his post because he had to be pardoned by the first President Bush for lying to Congress during Iran-Contra. This White House has done itself and the nation a disservice by choosing to pander to the powerful Cuban-American interest groups in Miami rather than demonstrate its genuine dedication to the war on terrorism.

With Posada, Washington had a choice of maintaining the integrity of its already deeply troubled antiterrorism crusade or to cater to its hard right Miami campaign donors and political backers. Lamentably, there was never any mystery as to which road Washington would choose to take.

Member Comments

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On May 29, 2005, johnjames wrote:

The State Department’ reference to Venezuela and “kangaroo court” in the same breath would be hilarious if the circumstances were not so tragic. According to the US State Dept, it is not ok to extradite a known terrorist to face justice in a country run by democratically elected officials and with whom the US has had a legal extradition treaty for decades. But it is somehow ok to summarily dispatch “terror” suspects to third world countries (e.g., Egypt) for torture and indefinite detention under the CIA’ extralegal program known as “renderings.” The US is a vile cesspool of lies and hypocrisy.  It is both disquieting and comforting to know that China will exact justice in the name of the violated whose blood was sucked dry by the evil vampire/empire to the north.