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Venezuela, Cuba Criticize US Over Release of Carriles


Venezuela and Cuba have accused the United States of harboring a terrorist after a U.S. federal judge dropped immigration fraud charges against Cuban-born former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro repeated his government's demand Wednesday for the extradition of the 79-year-old Posada Carriles. Maduro spoke in Venezuela at a joint news conference with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.

Perez Roque said Posada Carriles' release shows what Cuban minister called the hypocrisy of the U.S. government.

Posada Carriles is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela, where he is accused of plotting the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 people. He denies any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, the judge in El Paso, Texas dismissed an indictment against Posada Carriles. She said statements Posada Carriles made that were to be used against him at his trial had been improperly obtained.

Tuesday's move came three days before Posada Carriles was scheduled to go on trial on charges that he illegally entered the United States in 2005.

Prosecutors are reviewing the judge's decision.

The Cuban-born Posada Carriles is a naturalized Venezuelan citizen.

U.S. Democratic Party Congressman Bill Delahunt issued a statement Wednesday calling on President Bush to detain Posada Carriles. Delahunt said unless President Bush takes action, the world will conclude that his administration has a double standard when it comes to fighting terrorism.

The senator said Posada Carriles' release could be catastrophic to U.S. efforts to rally other nations to fight al Qaeda, especially in the Muslim world where he said some view Osama bin Laden as a similar hero.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
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