Venezuela asked for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles

&to=http:// ' target=_blank>Venezuela asked the United States on Friday for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, an anti-Castro militant, to retry him for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger plane that killed 73 people.

The Bush administration said it has been unable to confirm reports that Posada has been living in hiding in South Florida after secretly entering the country in March.

There was no immediate comment from the Justice Department on the Venezuelan request. A statement by the Venezuelan embassy said the request was based on a 1922 treaty with the United States.

An official at the Department of Homeland Security said earlier this week that Posada has applied for political asylum in the United States, tells the Guardian Unlimited.

According to Wire Service, &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Luis Posada Carriles, who has Venezuelan citizenship, has applied for asylum in the United States, according to his lawyer, but U.S. officials say they do not know the fugitive's whereabouts.

The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington delivered a letter requesting the Bush administration hunt down the 77-year-old, and deport him to face trial for a 1976 airliner bombing that killed 73 people. He was arrested in Venezuela more than 20 years ago but escaped from prison without being convicted.

The case presents U.S. authorities with the dilemma of how to reconcile traditional sympathy for politically influential Cuban exiles with Washington's firm stance against terrorism suspects following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. It is also a source of friction between the United States and the government of leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a fierce critic of President Bush and Cuba's closest ally.

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