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Cablegate: Panama: Extradition Request for Posada Expected

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0556/01 1902002
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 082002Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1175
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2256
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0095
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHEFHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFB/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 000556

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PM PTER KCRM VE CU
SUBJECT: PANAMA: EXTRADITION REQUEST FOR POSADA EXPECTED

REF: PANAMA 542

Classified By: Classified by POLCOUNS Brian R. Naranjo for
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (C) Panama is under internal as well as external pressure
- from the Cuban government - to request extradition of Luis
Posada Carriles, whose 2004 pardon, along with those of 181
others, was recently overturned by the Supreme Court. A
lawsuit was filed in Panama's Fifth Circuit requesting the
extradition of Posada and three other Cubans. The U.S. "must
extradite" Luis Posada Carriles, Cuban National Assembly
President Ricardo Alarcon declared June 6 upon arriving in
Panama City for the "Latin American-Caribbean Parliamentary
Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba" hosted by his counterpart
Panamanian National Assembly President Pedro Miguel Gonzalez,
who is under U.S. federal indictment in connection with the
1992 murder of a U.S. serviceman. GOP officials are
proceeding to implement the decision of the Supreme Court,
that returns the pardoned cases to their "original state."

--------------------------------------------- ---
Panamanian Lawyers File Suit to Push Extradition
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (U) On July 4, a group of Panamanian lawyers filed suit
in the Fifth Panama City Circuit Court in Panama City to
request the extradition of Posada and three other anti-Castro
Cubans. The group also announced plans to file lawsuits
against former GOP officials who had roles in the pardons and
subsequent departure of the Cubans, charging them with abuse
of authority. (COMMENT: Ex-President Mireya Moscoso has
immunity from prosecution as a member of the Central American
parliament. END COMMENT) Julio Berros, spokesman for the
group of lawyers, said that they would immediately ask the
Interpol office in Panama to arrest Posada and the others as
they were "fugitives from Panamanian justice." The four
lawyers who requested extradition were involved in the
prosecution 2004 trial of Posada and the others.

----------------------------------------
Alarcon Arrives for PMG-sponsored summit
----------------------------------------

3. (U) Alarcon further said that "George Bush must grab him
without anyone asking him and put him in a bag and send him
to Panama." Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo
Alarcon, in Panama to attend the "Latin American-Caribbean
Parliamentary Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba," also called
for Posada's extradition. The meeting, sponsored by the
Panamanian-Cuban Interparlimentary Friendship Group and
organized by Panamanian National Assembly President - and
indicted U.S. fugitive - Pedro Miguel Gonzalez (PMG), would
be devoted to debating "the struggle for the liberation of
five Cuban antiterrorists arrested and convicted in the
United States." (COMMENT: This refers to five Cubans
arrested in Florida in 1998 on charges of espionage. END
COMMENT)


--------------------------------------
GOP Gears Begin to Grind Through Cases
--------------------------------------


4. (U) First VP and Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro
commented to the media on July 1 that "if the persons in
charge of meting out justice submit a request to have Posada
Carriles returned to the country we will take the necessary
steps to have him come to face the charges lodged against
him." Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez has asked Superior
Prosecutors, District Prosecutors and other public ministry
authorities to inventory the 182 pardons, including Posada
Carriles', that were thrown out and determine the status of
each pardoned individual. The Court's decision required that
each case be returned to its "original state" prior to
pardon, which for Posada would be a return to jail in Panama.

-------
COMMENT
-------

5. (C) It is increasingly likely that the GOP will request
extradition of Posada and the three other Cubans once the
required legal processes have played themselves out. Embassy
contacts, except for those directly affected by the reversal
of the pardons, seem to be of one mind that the overturn of
the 182 pardons was a necessary check on Executive power, and
that the GOP should follow its laws and legal processes,
which eventually, in the case of Posada and the other Cubans,
will result in a extradition request to the U.S. from the GOP.
MESA

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