Free The Five


Statement by the Canadian Network on Cuba

For Immediate Release

18 April 2007

Canadian group launches campaign asking U.S. to extradite accused terrorist to Venezuela On Tuesday April 17 the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles will not have to wait in jail for his trial on immigration fraud charges in May; therefore he can now be released on bail.

The immigration fraud charges against Posada Carriles are really a smokescreen for his actual crimes, which include his role in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba - exactly 46 years ago to the day – and, more tragically, plotting from Venezuela the bombing of flight 455 of Cubana de Aviacion on October 6, 1976 that killed the 73 people on board.

The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), an umbrella organization of 25 member groups representing more than 55,000 people across Canada, has been following and documenting Posada’s career and finds his release and trial a “complete miscarriage of justice”. “It is disturbing that Mr. Posada is on trial for illegally entering the U.S. when he should be on trial for terrorist activities”, said Nino Pagliccia, the CNC Campaigns co-chair.

Venezuela is joined by Cuba in demanding that Posada Carriles be extradited to that country to continue his trial interrupted 20 years ago when Posada fled the country. “There is no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Posada will be tortured there as the U.S. government claims”, Mr. Pagliccia said. He continues, “This is just a case of protection of an ex-CIA agent that might reveal the agency’s involvement in terrorist activities”.

Posada Carriles’ career spans four decades until the year 2000 when he was arrested and later pardoned in Panama for the attempt to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro. His name is connected to several controversial activities including the Iran-Contra Affair in the 1980s.

His activities have also impacted Canada. An Italian tourist resident in Montreal, Fabio Di Celmo, was killed when a bomb went off in a hotel in Havana in 1997. In an interview to the New York Times in 1998 Mr. Posada “proudly admitted authorship of the hotel bomb attacks.” “It is sad that someone is dead, but we can’t stop,” he added. “That Italian was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The CNC has launched a campaign that seeks the extradition of Posada Carriles to Venezuela where there is now an order for his arrest for 73 murder charges; he is also a fugitive from justice. “President Bush has to live up to his famous statement ‘if you harbor a terrorist … you are as guilty as the terrorist’”, said Mr. Pagliccia.

Canadian Network on Cuba
Contact: Nino Pagliccia
Ph: 604-831-9821