Thursday, May 12


What's a president to do?

US President George W. Bush has said on more than one occasion during the war on terrorism that "those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves." ABCNews reports that this statement will be put to the test by a case involving Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban who sneaked into the US recently seeking political asylum.

The New York Times reported Monday that the Cuban government accuses Mr. Posada of being involved with the bombing of a Cuban passenger jet in 1976. Posada has also admitted to "plotting attacks that damaged tourist spots in Havana and killed an Italian visitor there in 1997," and he is also wanted in Venezuela on terrorism charges.

The whole situation is complicated by the fact that Cuban Americans, who are extremely anti-Castro, reliably vote Republican. And we all know how Bush and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez feel about each other. Handing Posada over would be a triumph of a kind for Chavez and Castro that would sit ill on Georgie Boy's stomach.

If Mr. Posada has indeed illegally entered the United States, the Bush administration has three choices: granting him asylum; jailing him for illegal entry; or granting Venezuela's request for extradition.

A grant of asylum could invite charges that the Bush administration is compromising its principle that no nation should harbor suspected terrorists. But to turn Mr. Posada away could provoke political wrath in the conservative Cuban-American communities of South Florida, deep sources of support and campaign money for President Bush and his brother Jeb, the state's governor.


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