By Rachael Boothroyd
Coro, June 5th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Saturday Venezuelan and Cuban social movement activists marched in Caracas demanding that U.S. president Barack Obama extradite Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela on terrorist charges and that he release the Cuban Five. In a show of solidarity with one of the Cuban nationals, Gerardo Hernandez, who turned 46 yesterday in a U.S. jail, Venezuelans gathered in Plaza El Venezolano waving Cuban flags and placards with the word ‘terrorist’ daubed across photos of Carriles.
The march was convened by the Venezuela-Cuba Movement of Friendship and Mutual Solidarity, the Association of Cuban Men and Women Living in Venezuela and the Marti-Simon Bolivar Organisation. A parallel march also took place in Plaza José Martí in Havana, Cuba.
“From Caracas we are saying to Obama – ‘winner of the Noble Peace Prize’ and protector of terrorists – that he frees the five Cuban anti-terrorist prisoners in the United States and that he extradites the criminal Posada Carriles to Venezuela” said Nancy Peréz, Minister of Women and Equality, who also demanded that Obama “take off his mask.”
Throughout this week thousands of Venezuelans have been taking to the streets of Caracas in peaceful protest at the Obama administration’s decision to impose unilateral sanctions against Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
In a document handed over at midday to the National Assembly and read aloud outside parliament, the movements demanded justice and further condemned U.S. sanctions.
Declaring that only the ‘permanent mobilisation of revolutionary movements’ and ‘international solidarity’ would bring justice for Carriles’ victims and secure the release of the five Cuban ‘Heroes’ – as they are known within Cuba and Venezuela. The document went on to state,
“We will continue uniting our collective forces and actions, alongside the National Assembly, the legitimate representative of the Bolivarian men and women acting in collaboration with President Hugo Chavez Frías, until the attacks against the country are stopped, until Posada Carriles is extradited and until our five Cuban and Latin American brothers are free”.
On receiving the document, Gladys Requena, a National Assembly deputy of the governing party PSUV, said, “Here are the organised Venezuelan social movements, and here we are to say to imperialism that we won’t stop our mobilisation, that we will keep mobilising in the streets, because Venezuela is to be respected”.
Former CIA agent Posada – born in Cuba and now a nationalised Venezuelan - is wanted by the Cuban and Venezuelan governments for acts of terrorism. His most serious charge is the bombing of a Cuban aeroplane in 1976 resulting in the deaths of 73 people. He has also publically admitted to bombing Cuban hotels in 1997 as part of a destabilisation campaign against the Castro government and is known to have killed for political reasons during his time in the Venezuelan police. He has been living in the U.S.A since 2005.
Despite repeated calls for his extradition and in violation of international law, the U.S. government has declined to hand Carriles over to Cuban or Venezuelan authorities. Instead he was tried at a court hearing in El Paso Texas in March 2011 for unrelated migratory crimes – and found not guilty.
Five Cuban nationals who tried to monitor the actions of Carriles and other anti-Castro criminal groups in Florida as part of an anti-terrorist operation were detained by the U.S.A in 1998. Following a contested trial on the grounds of impartiality, they were given life sentences and have subsequently served over 12 years in jail in the U.S.A.
Cuba, Venezuela and international figures such as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have frequently petitioned the U.S. government for their release.