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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Profile: Cuban 'plane bomber'
Luis Posada Carriles (file image)
Posada Carriles: "I've always believed in the armed struggle"
Anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles has posed a double headache for the US: his alleged crimes relate to Cuba and its ally Venezuela, and he is a former CIA employee.

The 79-year-old is wanted by both Latin American states for masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, in which 73 died.

He is also being investigated for the 1997 bombing on a hotel in the Cuban capital, Havana, which killed an Italian tourist.

Jailed in Venezuela in 1976 after being found guilty of bombing the Cuban plane, in 1985 Posada escaped.

Charges dropped

Twenty years later, in May 2005, he was detained by US immigration officials after allegedly entering the country illegally, via Mexico.

In 2007, a US judge's decision to dismiss charges of immigration fraud against him have angered Cuba and Venezuela who are both continuing to push for his extradition.

The authorities in Havana describe Posada as "the Bin Laden of the Hemisphere".

They have accused the US of double standards in its war on terror and of protecting the Cuban suspect due to his status - and the secrets he may know - as a former CIA employee.

Some Cuban exiles hostile to the communist government in Havana regard Posada as a hero, said Pepe Hernandez, president of the Cuban American National Foundation.

"He's been fighting one of the worst tyrannies this continent has experienced," Mr Hernandez told AP news agency.

Assassination plot

Before his detention in Miami, Posada, who was born in Cuba but has Venezuelan citizenship, insisted his "only objective" was to fight for Cuba's "freedom".

Reports suggest he was involved in operations against leftists across Latin America over the decades, from Guatemala to El Salvador.

According to declassified US government documents, he once worked for the CIA. The papers also reveal that an FBI informer "all but admitted" that Posada was one of those behind the plane bombing.

In an interview for the Miami Herald newspaper, Posada denied any involvement in the plane attack but declined to confirm or deny involvement in other violence.

In August 2004, Panama granted him a pardon over a plot to assassinate President Castro during a visit by the Cuban leader to Panama in 2000.

The US authorities have refused requests for Posada's extradition, saying he might be tortured, and failed to find takers when they suggested sending him to a country other than Cuba or Venezuela.




SEE ALSO
Cuban 'bomber' arrested in US
17 May 05 |  Americas
Cuba 'bomber' sought by Venezuela
14 May 05 |  Americas
Cuba 'plane bomber' was CIA agent
11 May 05 |  Americas
Panama pardons Castro 'plotters'
26 Aug 04 |  Americas

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