Activists take effort against Cuban militant to U.N.
by Diana Washington Valdez
Sept. 29, 2008
Reprinted from El Paso Times
NEW YORK -- Activists seeking the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela took their cause to the United Nations and the nation's capital this month.
In August, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Carriles, a former CIA operative, must stand trial in El Paso on immigration fraud charges.
A hearing date had not been set for his trial.
Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, was in New York on Sept. 22, where she and others went to hear Cuban officials address efforts to help the five prisoners.
"Our next step is to attend Posada's trial in El Paso," La Riva said.
World leaders were present in New York for United Nations Week. Before that, on Sept. 12, the activists conducted a protest in front of the White House, and delivered a letter for President Bush with a petition signed by more than 100,000 people from 78 countries asking the U.S. government to free the five men, for visas for their relatives to visit them in the United States and for Carriles to be extradited to Venezuela.
The five Cuban nationals (Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez) were convicted 10 years ago for spying on the United States; they denied the allegations and told court officers they were spying on Cuban exiles in the United States who were plotting terrorist acts against the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro.
Venezuela wants Posada for allegedly plotting while in Venezuela to blow up a Cuban commercial jetliner in 1976 that killed 73 people. The Panamanian government recently said it, too, wants Posada for allegedly plotting to kill Fidel Castro during a summit in 2000. Posada has denied the allegations.