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The United States rejected on Friday Venezuela's first move to extradite a Cuban exile wanted for an airliner bombing, in a case that could challenge the U.S. commitment to fight all forms of terrorism.
The Bush administration told Venezuela its request that Luis Posada Carriles be arrested with a view to extradition was "clearly inadequate," because it lacked supporting evidence, said a State Department official who asked not to be named.
Venezuela can make a fresh request against the former CIA collaborator, who is accused of plotting from Venezuela the 1976 downing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people, if it provides more evidence, the official told reporters.
Venezuela's embassy in Washington said it would provide the needed documents.
Posada, who has dedicated his life to trying to oust Cuban President Fidel Castro, is already under arrest on charges of illegally entering the United States in March. He goes before a judge on that charge on June 13.
Cuba said rejecting Venezuela's extradition request was part of a "maneuver" to let the anti-communist militant and CIA-trained explosives expert off the hook.
Castro, who led a protest march of 1 million Cubans last week to demand the United States extradite Posada to Venezuela, called the U.S. response "insolence."
Venezuela's ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, complained that Washington was slow to respond to its May 13 request for what is known as a "provisional arrest."