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Cuban Fugitive Seeks to Stay in U.S.

Suspected bomber Luis Posada Carriles could be deported on charges of entering the country illegally. He escaped prison in Venezuela.

June 05, 2005|From Associated Press

MIAMI — A Cuban militant wanted for his alleged role in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner said he would fight to remain in the United States.

Luis Posada Carriles, 77, is in U.S. custody in El Paso, Texas, facing deportation on charges of entering the country secretly in March. He is claiming U.S. residency status first gained in 1962, as well as political asylum, in part because of his past work for the CIA.

In an interview with the Miami Herald published Saturday, Posada said he wanted to "lead a normal life" in the United States and take up painting again.

"I'm doing paintings and I am selling them very well," he said. "That gives me enough to live on. I have no major aspirations."

Venezuela wants to extradite Posada for escaping from prison in 1985 while he awaited a third trial in the jetliner bombing that killed 73 people off Barbados. He was acquitted twice.

U.S. officials have said that they will not bow to pressure from Venezuela and that Caracas has yet to formally request Posada's extradition.

Cuban officials have also accused Posada of orchestrating bombings in Havana in his campaign against Cuba's leader, Fidel Castro.

An initial hearing is set for June 13 on the immigration charges on which Posada was arrested near Miami last month.

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