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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 02:45 GMT 03:45 UK
Venezuela rallies over Cuba exile
Protest in Caracas
Caracas wants to try Venezuelan citizen Luis Posada Carriles
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have rallied in the capital Caracas to demand the US extradites a Cuban exile accused of bombing an airliner in 1976.

The march comes a day after the US rejected Venezuela's request for it to arrest Cuban-born Luis Posada Carriles, saying there was not enough evidence.

Mr Posada Carriles is in US custody on suspected immigration violations.

The ex-CIA employee denies involvement in the bombing that killed 73 people on the flight from Caracas to Havana.

The naturalised Venezuelan citizen is wanted by both Cuba and Venezuela in connection with the attack.

'Hypocrisy'

Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took to the streets of the capital, blowing whistles and chanting anti-US slogans.

The BBC's Iain Bruce in Caracas says there was good humour and dancing, but despite the festive mood among protesters it is clear that many people feel strongly about the issue.

Luis Posada Carriles before his arrest in Miami
Luis Posada Carriles denies involvement in the airliner bombing
Some accused US President George W Bush of double standards.

"Bush is protecting a terrorist while he is supposedly fighting against terrorism - that's hypocrisy," Pedro Caldera said.

Mr Posada Carriles was charged last week with illegal entry into the US.

The 77-year-old faces a hearing at a US immigration court on 13 June, at which he is expected to apply for asylum.

On Friday the US state department said it had rejected Venezuela's initial request for Mr Posada Carriles to be detained with a view to extradition, because this had not been backed up by adequate evidence.

Now the government in Caracas has announced it will be handing over the full 700 page extradition request on Tuesday.

Mr Posada Carriles was twice acquitted by Venezuelan courts of plotting to bomb the plane.

He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting a trial on appeal.

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

Caracas says it will not hand Mr Posada Carriles over, and Mr Castro has said he will be happy to see him tried in Venezuela.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Cuban leader Fidel Castro's reation to the row




SEE ALSO:
US rejects 'bomber' arrest plea
27 May 05 |  Americas
US accused of 'terror hypocrisy'
20 May 05 |  Americas
Cuban bomb suspect charged in US
19 May 05 |  Americas
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


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