Venezuela's ambassador to Washington is calling on the U.S. to extradite a Cuban militant accused of planning a deadly airplane bombing in 1976.

Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez told Venezuelan state television Monday the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles should not be considered an immigration issue.

Carriles is a former CIA operative who is considered to be the mastermind behind the in-flight bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane that killed 73 people. He is being held in a detention center in the U.S. state of Texas for immigration violations.

Alvarez called Carriles the "Osama bin Laden" of Latin America. He said he discussed the extradition request with U.S. Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon last month.

Venezuela's government often clashes with Washington. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sharply criticized President Bush Sunday, days after a White House report called Mr. Chavez a demagogue.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.