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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


US diplomacy stumbles yet again

Luis Posada Carriles, an alleged Cuban terrorist, was acquitted of 11 different charges ranging from perjury to subversion earlier this month in a Texas federal court.

Carriles had applied for asylum years earlier. When Venezuela sought his extradition to try him for conspiracies and violent crimes, he withdrew his asylum request and was arrested in 2005. He stayed in the United States, escaping serious trials in Latin America and dealing with seemingly minor immigration issues. His latest trial began in January.

Carriles worked for the CIA between 1965 and 1976. Venezuela, Cuba, Panama and others accuse him of involvement in the Bay of Pigs invasion, an airplane bombing killing 73 in 1976, a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro, bombings in Havana and more.

One reason to keep him in the United States is the possibility of extracting confidential information about US involvement in Latin America over thirty years ago.

Keeping Carriles in court for less serious crimes pushes the issue under the table. The US ultimately has two options: extradition or granting him asylum.

The US could grant Carilles asylum for possible persecution — illegitimate trial or torture — for political opinion. The United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1967, states that countries can grant asylum to those who fear persecution for political views in their home country; under that rule Carriles might qualify.

There are multiple problems with asylum, though; the first is the strong evidence from the Latin American countries of his guilt. The New York Times has taped interviews with him, and the information he gives is almost self-incriminating.

In the interviews, Carilles shows little sympathy for the innocent victims of the attacks, and does not hide evidence of his monetary support for conspiracy. He looks like a criminal, not a refugee.

Even if he acts consistently with US political ideals, those who have jurisdiction — not the US — should try him. His anti-communist opinions do not absolve him of the hundreds of lives he is alleged to have ended.

With all of the anti-terrorism propaganda circulating in the US, refusing to let Venezuela actually try an alleged violent terrorist is embarrassingly hypocritical, especially considering our strange relationship with Cuba.

With President Barack Obama relaxing embargos and Democrats supposed stance on Guantanamo, the administration could use this as an opportunity to show some respect for foreign governments like Obama promised.

Carriles could even be used in order to ask them to extradite an American in return.

The refusal to extradite an alleged foreign terrorist sends the message that we do not take these countries’ sovereignty seriously. Trying Carriles for crimes while Venezuela, Cuba and Panama have legitimate criminal charges and evidence against him is obnoxious.

Recognized governments have the right to run themselves and serve justice as they choose.

Disagreeing with their politics does not give the US the right to disregard international custom: We aren’t protecting Carriles, we are making an antagonistic, selfish attempt to hide our own flaws and insulting others in the process.

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