Anti-Castro Cuban terrorist may obtain “political asylum” in USA

Luis Posada Carriles, who has been allegedly responsible for downing an airplane in Venezuela in 1976 emerged from hiding in Miami

Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban exiled terrorist whom Venezuela wants extradited over the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 in 1976, emerged from hiding in Miami and asked the US Government for “political asylum” in return for his past “services” to Washington. Carriles, now 77, whose whereabouts had been a mystery to all but a few people since he slipped into the United States two months ago from Mexico, gave an interview to the Miami Herald in an apartment in the city's upscale Brickell business and condo district.

Also on Tuesday, Cuban President Fidel Castro headed a massive anti-terrorist demonstration at the gates of the US office of interests in Havanna. The Communist leader said the rally was “not against the United States, but against the terrorists and in favour of peace and life.”

Night after night, Fidel Castro has been on television demanding the United States arrest Posada Carriles, who admitted having bombed hotels in Cuba's capital in 1997. Tuesday's demonstration was the largest in Havanna since the Elian Gonzalez case roused the Caribbean nation.

The presence in the United States of Posada, a former CIA collaborator and longtime anti-communist activist, has presented U.S. authorities with the dilemma of how to reconcile traditional sympathy for politically influential Cuban exiles with Washington's stance against terrorism suspects following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

"At first I hid a lot," said Posada, "I thought the (U.S.) government was looking for me," he told the paper. "Now I hide a lot less. People have recognized me in the market, at the doctor's office, mostly older people."

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez asked US authorities on Saturday to extradite Posada, who was arrested in Caracas more than 20 years ago, in connection with the downing of the Cuban aircraft. Posada Carriles, who has Venezuelan citizenship escaped from prison in 1985 without being convicted.

Five years later, the Cuban terrorist was arrested and tried in Panama, after Fidel Castro denounced a plot to kill him. Panamanian authorities pardoned Posada Carriles in 2004. Since then, his whereabouts remained unknown, while Cuba and Venezuela have repeatedly claimed that he was hiding in Florida.

On the picture: Luis Posada Carriles

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Author`s name Olga Savka