U.S. authorities on Tuesday arrested a Cuban exile who slipped into the country in March and is wanted by Venezuela over the bombing of a Cuban
airliner that killed 73 people nearly 30 years ago.
Luis Posada Carriles, 77, a former CIA collaborator and anti-communist activist who has sought political asylum in the United States, was arrested in
Miami just hours after he emerged from hiding to give a series of media interviews.
Posada's presence on its soil has presented the United States with the dilemma of how to reconcile its sympathy for politically influential Cuban
exiles with its tough stance against terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
Cuban President Fidel Castro, who accused Washington of double standards in its war on terrorism, led about a million Cubans in a protest march in
Havana on Tuesday demanding that the United States act against Posada.
"Bush, fascist, capture the terrorist," the crowd chanted.
"Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took Mr. Luis Posada Carriles into custody, pending review of his immigration status," the Department
of Homeland Security said in a statement, adding that it had 48 hours to decide on Posada's status.
The government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a close ally of Castro who is hostile to the United States, has asked the Bush administration to
extradite Posada to face trial for the 1976 bombing of the Cuban plane off Barbados.
Venezuelan Interior Minister Jesse Chacon called on Washington to honor a bilateral extradition treaty and deliver Posada. "This person is a
terrorist, there is no other name for him ... the ball is in Mr. Bush's court," Chacon said.
Posada's lawyer, Eduardo Soto, told reporters his client dropped his asylum petition on Tuesday before his arrest and had intended to leave the
country. "His intention was to abandon the United States and they simply could have let him go ...," Soto said.
But he added that he intended to immediately renew Posada's asylum application in light of the arrest.
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Well This could be a good thing. I mean Castro demanded this person be arrested and the U.S. did just that. Could this mean that the U.S and Cuba
could soon be friends again? What are you opinions?