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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 21:21 GMT 22:21 UK
Venezuela in Cuba 'bomber' demand
By Greg Morsbach
BBC News, Caracas

Luis Posada Carriles
Venezuela wants to try Mr Posada for a 1976 plane bombing
Venezuela has intensified its calls for the US to extradite one of its nationals who it blames for the bombing of a Cuban plane 30 years ago.

The country's foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, demanded the immediate extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, calling him a dangerous terrorist.

Mr Posada is being detained in the US for violating immigration law.

Venezuela accuses the Cuban-born former CIA agent of the bombing of a Cuban plane, which killed 73 people in 1976.

The airliner exploded over Barbados exactly 30 years ago, killing all those on board - including Cuba's entire fencing team.

Cuba is holding a remembrance ceremony on Friday.

In limbo

In contrast to Cuban officials, Venezuela's authorities are satisfied that Mr Carriles remains behind bars in the US following a decision by the US Justice Department late on Thursday.

Though they are still far away from putting Mr Posada on trial here, there is now a sense that things could be going their way.

At a news conference, Mr Maduro said that for the first time in history, US justice officials had publicly recognised that Mr Posada could have been involved in acts of terrorism and that if released, he would pose a danger to the community at large.

Mr Maduro said a recent speech by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez at the UN had put public pressure on the US not to release the terror suspect.

But the diplomat also said that Mr Posada was, in his own words, the Bin Laden of the Americas - backed by the Bush family.

In July 2005, Venezuela filed an extradition request in the US in solidarity with the Cuban government, a key ally of President Chavez.

But so far Washington has not replied directly to the request and Mr Posada's long-term future remains in a state of limbo.

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