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The Right to Make Money is More Important Than the Right to Know

A Decision in the Posada Case

by JOSÉ PERTIERRA

A federal district court in El Paso, Texas, accepted many of the Government’s arguments, not allowing certain evidence in the case of Luis Posada Carriles to be made public.  Posada is scheduled for trial on perjury charges in March of 2010.

The Judge imposed a protective order on part of the evidence that will be used at trial.  Specifically, Judge Kathleen Cardone ordered a protective seal around tapes and transcriptions that journalist Ann Louise Bardach made in the course of interviewing Posada Carriles in 1998 concerning terrorist actions that he masterminded the previous year.

The judge’s decision, is incredibly, and based on the journalist’s right to “sell her material and she is entitled to the proceeds of that sale.”  The Court concluded that “Ms. Bardach should not . . . lose control over that material.”

The economic interests of a journalist to sell her tape recordings, or a book based on those recordings, ought not take precedence over the public’s right to know, as well as the rights of the families affected by the terrorist acts to review the evidence.  This decision is a sad reflection of what is truly most important in this society:  business above all else.

Fabio DiCelmo, the young Italian that Posada brutally murdered in Havana on September 4, 1997, left behind a family that grieves his absence:  Giustino and Ora, his parents, as well as Livio his brother.  They, and also the public, ought not have to await the publication of a book that they would subsequently have to purchase in order to review the taped interviews of Posada Carriles.

During all of the legal vicissitudes that we will come across in the coming months relating to the trial of Posada Carriles in El Paso, we must not lose sight that the terrorist has 73 counts of first degree murder pending in Caracas in relation to the downing of a passenger plane.

The charges that are pending against Posada in Caracas are much more serious than those pending in El Paso.  Perjury is a poor substitute for 73 counts of first degree murder, and a murder prosecution ought take precedence.

The Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Illicit Acts for the Protection of Civil Aviation, signed in Montreal in 1971, obligates Washington to try Posada in the United States for 73 counts of first degree murder, if it decides not to extradite him.

Posada Carriles is an international fugitive from justice.  He fled from a Venezuelan prison to escape justice.  If it does not extradite him to Venezuela, the United States is legally obligated to prosecute him for the downing of the plane.  Why doesn’t Washington abide by its obligations under international law?  This is the heart of the matter.

JOSÉ PERTIERRA represents the government of Venezuela in the extradition case against Luis Posada Carriles.