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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Cuba slams US extradition 'farce'
Luis Posada Carriles before his arrest in Miami
Luis Posada Carriles poses a problem for the US government
Cuban President Fidel Castro has condemned the US handling of an old foe, bombing suspect Luis Posada Carriles, as "a big farce, a big lie".

The anti-communist militant was arrested in Miami on Tuesday, weeks after he smuggled himself into the US.

Venezuela wants him extradited, to stand trial over the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people in 1976.

The US says it will not deport him to any country that would hand him over to Mr Castro's regime in Cuba.

Venezuela said on Wednesday it would not hand Mr Posada Carriles over, and Mr Castro said he would be happy to see the Cuban exile tried in Venezuela.

CIA agent

The Cuban president has accused the US of protecting Mr Posada Carriles - whom he calls a "terrorist" - and preparing to send him to a country like El Salvador, where he can expect to be treated more leniently.

El Salvador, which is allied with the US, said on Wednesday it might apply for Mr Posada Carriles' extradition on lesser charges of falsifying documents.

The US is expected to make a decision on Thursday.

During a live television broadcast on Wednesday, Mr Castro said: "It is evident that the purpose of the US government is to protect Posada Carriles... to avoid him going on trial and being punished.

"What has occurred is a big farce, a big lie, an attempt to escape from a difficult situation."

Cuban plotter Luis Posada Carriles in 1985 - his pardon by Panama infuriated Cuba
I've always believed in the armed struggle
Luis Posada Carriles

Mr Posada Carriles, 77, a former agent for the CIA, is seeking political asylum in the US.

Venezuela said the US would be guilty of double standards if it sheltered a man accused of terrorism while claiming to fight a war on terror.

"It would be condemned around the world," Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said.

"It seems that for some there is a good terrorism and a bad terrorism."

Mr Posada Carriles has been linked to a series of attacks on Cuban interests over the last four decades.

He denies any involvement in the bombing of the Cuban airliner, which exploded during a flight between Caracas and Havana.

He was never tried, but was held in jail in Venezuela until he escaped in 1985. Caracas now wants him back.

He was accused in Panama of a plot to kill President Castro in 2000, but was jailed on lesser charges, and last year was granted a presidential pardon and released.



SEE ALSO:
Caracas 'to try bombing suspect'
18 May 05 |  Americas
Cuban 'bomber' arrested in US
17 May 05 |  Americas
Profile: Cuban 'plane bomber'
18 May 05 |  Americas
Cuba 'plane bomber' was CIA agent
11 May 05 |  Americas
US 'not aiding bomb-plot Cuban'
04 May 05 |  Americas
Panama pardons Castro 'plotters'
26 Aug 04 |  Americas


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