|Cuba says US broke anti-terrorism treaties|
|Published on Saturday, May 12, 2007||Email To Friend Print Version|
By Anthony Boadle
HAVANA, Cuba (Reuters): Cuba accused the United States on Friday of violating international anti-terrorism treaties by failing to prosecute an anti-Castro militant and former CIA operative wanted for bomb attacks against the country.
Cuba said Washington should have arrested Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles under its own Patriot Act as a security threat and called for his extradition to Venezuela to stand trial for plotting the 1976 downing of a Cuban plane that killed 73 people. "The US government should have tried Posada Carriles for terrorism," Cuba said in a statement that deplored the freeing of the accused bomber after a US judge dismissed immigration fraud charges against him on Tuesday.
"Let’s see what the White House does now. It still has the option to fulfill its international obligations to detain Luis Posada Carriles and extradite him to Venezuela," said the statement published in the Communist Party newspaper Granma.
Cuba said the immigration indictment was a "smoke screen" to avoid prosecuting Posada Carriles for acts of violence that would have revealed his links over 25 years to the Central Intelligence Agency.
Trained by the CIA for its failed Bay of Pigs invasion to oust Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1961, Posada Carriles was jailed in Venezuela for the 1976 bombing of the Cuban airliner, but escaped from prison in 1985.
Venezuela, Cuba’s leftist ally, requested his extradition from the United States in 2005, but got no response.
Posada Carriles, 79, was arrested in Miami in 2005 after illegally entering the United States. Cuba also accuses him of plotting a wave of bomb blasts in Cuban hotels and nightclubs to sabotage Cuba’s tourism industry in 1997. A Italian tourist was killed.
By not prosecuting Posada Carriles for his violent past, the United States had failed to comply with UN Resolution 1373, a wide-ranging counter-terrorism adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks, among other international conventions, Cuba said.
INDICTMENT TO COME?
The Cuban exile could yet be indicted on terrorism charges in the United States by a federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey, to determine his role in the 1997 Havana bombings, the Miami Herald reported last week.
The FBI took the unusual step of sending agents to Cuba to gather evidence last year, the newspaper said. In a 1998 interview, Posada Carriles told The New York Times he plotted the wave of bomb blasts from Central America funded by Cuban exiles in Miami. He later denied saying so.
On Friday, Cuba published transcripts of telephone calls it said Posada Carriles made from El Salvador in 1997 to an associate in Venezuela about the Havana blasts. "We have two more explosions: we placed one in the Sol Palmeras Hotel in Varadero and the other in a discotheque in Havana," Posada Carriles said, according to the transcripts published by Granma. It did not say how they were obtained but said they were passed to the FBI as evidence.
Cuba has displayed evidence of the string of bombings allegedly masterminded by the man it calls Latin America’s Osama bin Laden. Photographs show plastic explosives smuggled into Cuba in shampoo bottles, digital clocks used to make time bombs and damages caused by the blasts.
Targets included Havana’s famed Tropicana cabaret and the Bodeguita del Medio, where writer Ernest Hemingway once drank his mojitos.