Friday, 20 April 2007

Bring a real terrorist to justice

It's not often I side with the likes of people like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, but it is time for the United States to bring a real terrorist to justice instead of running around, accusing and aimlessly charging the Jose Padillas -- the 'war on terror' phony political examples -- out there.

AP via CNN

Venezuela plans to ask the United Nations to investigate why the United States has failed to prosecute or extradite Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles on charges he masterminded the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, a lawyer for the Venezuelan government said Friday.

Venezuela also plans to join other countries in appealing to the Organization of American States and challenging the U.S. government's actions in international courts after the 79-year-old posted bail and was freed from jail Thursday, lawyer Jose Pertierra told The Associated Press.

Posada is awaiting trial in the U.S. on immigration fraud charges.

In Cuba, relatives of the 73 people killed in the bombing off Barbados held a vigil in front of a U.S. mission, while the government accused the White House of arranging Posada's release to cover up past CIA secrets.

President Hugo Chavez's government made an extradition request for the United States to hand over Posada nearly two years ago to be tried for the bombing, allegedly planned in Caracas. Pertierra accused the Bush administration of flouting a 1922 extradition treaty with Venezuela.

Not only is this bad foreign politics for America, its bad legal ethics. Isolation only empowers the 'enemy' — whether Iran or Cuba — but the Bush administration just does not get it.

And, alas, this is not the only case where the US has a known or alleged terrorist in its custody. (I guess the White House wouldn't want to dispel the Muslim/Arab stereotypical terrorist it has worked so hard on implementing.)

And George Bush wonders why Latin American opinion is so much against his country? A combination from an arguable continuance of Cold War-ish policies and the president's ignoring of his southern neighbors is one solid set of reasons.

America and its Soviet rival did enough damage to the world during the Cold War, fostering undemocratic regime changes, supporting maniacal dictators, and instigating proxy wars to the harm of the third party. It is time for the United States to come to terms with its past demons and initiate something other than so-called free trade talks with its fellow countries in the Americas. The days of Pinochet and the CIA puppet governments are over. Why can't the US open its eyes to that?

On the other hand people like Venezuela's Chavez, who is becoming more and more of a dictator like his Cuban idol, need to lay off the conspiracy theories, or the real issues and actual sources of tension, like in the case of Luis Posada Carriles, will not be reckoned with or taken seriously by the international community.

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