Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, ambassador of Venezuela to the United States, discusses the case of Luis Posada Carriles
April 11, 2007
On April 11, Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! interviewed Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, ambassador of Venezuela to the United States. The complete interview, in audio and text form, can be found here. What follows is an excerpt from the interview, in which Alvarez discusses the case of Luis Posada Carriles:
AMY GOODMAN: Let me just explain for one minute, Ambassador, again, the Cuban militant, Luis Posada Carriles, a US ruling allowing him to post bail. Posada is connected to the 1976 bombing of the Cuban airliner that killed seventy-three people, though he’s not being held in the Texas jail on terrorism charges, but on minor immigration charges. The question is: will he be released? Now, you -- the Venezuelan government has asked for him to be extradited to be tried in Venezuela. He had been jailed there, but broke out of jail. Cuba has asked for him to be extradited. What is your response to the US government refusing to do this?
BERNARDO ALVAREZ HERRERA: Yeah, look. In the case of -- Cuba has said, OK, don't send him to Cuba, and the only extradition request is the one made by Venezuela, because we have a treaty with the US, a 1922 treaty, extradition treaty with the US, that we have even used in the past. So the US government, if they want to be consistent with their policies against terrorism, they only have two options: one, they extradite him to Venezuela, and we will judge him in Venezuela for terrorism; or second, they have to try and judge him in the US for terrorism, because the US have to follow the international law, the Montreal Agreement and many other legal instruments that actually the US have to follow.
So the problem is, we have requested the extradition of Posada, even before he became public in Miami, because we knew -- everybody knew -- that he was in Miami. And yesterday, we sent another diplomatic note to the State Department saying, “After twenty-two months waiting, you haven't done anything. So now that this guy might be free, so we, Venezuela, we want to again request that you detain -- that is, a preventive detention of Posada on the extradition request -- and we reaffirm the request for extradition of Posada.”
AMY GOODMAN: On September 28, 2005, a US judge ruled Posada cannot be deported to Venezuela, because he “faces the threat of torture” in Venezuela. Ambassador Alvarez, your response?
BERNARDO ALVAREZ HERRERA: Yeah, well, my response is in that -- you know, that the one that represent Venezuela in that case is the US government. I cannot send to El Paso my own lawyer, because, as we have a treaty of extradition, the US government is representing Venezuela. And you know what happened? That in that hearing the only witness presented was an associate of Posada that used to be also with him working in the police in Venezuela. He was his lawyer, and he, himself, he said that he thinks that there was not conditions for him in Venezuela. And the US government did not present, did not even question this witness. So from the very beginning, that was the inaction of the US government, because they could have told us, they could have brought many people from Venezuela that would tell that Posada will have, we guarantee, all the rights for him, but he has to be judged in trial. I mean, we cannot keep him only because of immigration. It's like if you were going to take Osama bin Laden to a country because he's entering a country without a visa.