- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2005


Posada issue roils relations with U.S.

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez says Venezuela will review diplomatic ties with Washington if the United States does not extradite a Cuban exile accused in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jet that killed 73 persons.

His statements Sunday came as a former U.S. prosecutor said he determined in a federal investigation that Luis Posada Carriles was at a 1976 meeting in the Dominican Republic where militant Cuban exiles discussed plans to bomb a Cuban plane.

The information from former Assistant U.S. Attorney E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. could be used to persuade an immigration judge to deny U.S. asylum to the former CIA operative, the Miami Herald reported Sunday. Mr. Posada, 77, is expected to ask for asylum at an immigration hearing June 13.


Amnesty views GI as worthy of asylum

TORONTO — Amnesty International has announced that it will adopt an American soldier as a prisoner of conscience if Canada deports him to the United States, where he likely will face a prison sentence.

Amnesty says it considers Pfc. Jeremy Hinzman a legitimate conscientious objector to the war in Iraq, even though Canadian immigration authorities denied him political asylum in March.

Pfc. Hinzman, 26, a member of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, fled to Canada in search of asylum just days before his unit was to deploy to Iraq to fight in a war he thinks is illegal under international law.

Canada rejected his refugee claim in March. The soldier now faces a court-martial in the United States and up to five years in prison.


Cuban dissidents meet, but Europeans expelled

MADRID — Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos on Sunday called a weekend conference of dissidents in Cuba opposed to the communist regime of Fidel Castro, but the move was overshadowed by the expulsion of European lawmakers and journalists.

Two members of the European Parliament, two former Spanish senators as well as journalists and other Europeans tried to attend the gathering, but were expelled by Cuban authorities. Mr. Moratinos said the expulsions endangered relations between Cuba and the European Union.

About 100 Cuban dissidents defied Mr. Castro and participated in a weekend conference aimed at building a transition toward democracy, which some diplomats from Europe and the United States were able to attend.

Weekly notes

Peru has forgiven Chile for illegally selling weapons to its enemy, Ecuador, during a border war in the 1990s, after its southern neighbor formally apologized, Peruvian Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero announced Sunday. “Peru has formally received apologies for the sale of military material by Chile to Ecuador during the conflict with Ecuador in 1995,” he told a press conference. “The situation has been overcome, and now we have to look ahead.” … Bolivia’s two main conflicts — indigenous protests over natural gas and the wish of wealthy provinces for autonomy — converge this week as both movements pressure embattled President Carlos Mesa. Yesterday, residents of El Alto — overlooking the capital La Paz and site of the international airport — began an indefinite strike over energy legislation approved last week by Congress that would raise taxes on foreign gas projects. Meanwhile, civic leaders in the wealthy tropical province of Santa Cruz scheduled an Aug. 12 referendum on autonomy after Congress failed to tackle the issue as promised.

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