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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Two stories from Latin America about how Bush is trashing the U.S. image
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Two stories from Latin America about how Bush is trashing the U.S. image

here's a little summary of what's cooking with our good neighbors down south...

Bush in free-fall in the southern hemisphere too
The image of the United States under President George W. Bush has suffered in Latin America, as well as the Islamic world and Europe, according to a survey released by the Zogby International polling firm in cooperation with the Miami Herald and the University of Miami School of Business Administration.

The survey, which was based on interviews with 523 "opinion leaders" in the public and private sectors, as well as mass media and academia in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, found Bush to be particularly unpopular, as well as eroding support for close economic ties with the U.S.

More than four out of five respondents (81 percent) gave Bush a negative job approval rating -- about 20 percent higher than his current ratings in the U.S. -- while a whopping 86 percent said they disagreed with how Bush has handled conflicts in various parts of the world.

The survey also found that slightly more respondents (26 percent) said they favour integrating their national economies more with Europe than with the U.S. (23 percent).

those are some pretty astonishing percentages, especially when you stop to consider that many of the people in those countries, including ones who were polled, still think the u.s. has streets paved with gold... just goes to show how bush is dragging us down the toilet with the entire world... (too bad zogby doesn't see fit to do a u.s. domestic poll about impeachment... go figure...)

U.S. snubs Venezuela and denies extradition of terrorist
The decision Tuesday by a U.S. immigration judge in Texas to deny Venezuela's request to extradite Luis Posada Carriles, whom Caracas has dubbed "the Osama bin Laden of Latin America", was greeted with surprise and disappointment by Latin America activists and even some former U.S. officials.

Venezuela wants Carriles to stand trial for the October 1976 bombing of a civilian Cubana Airlines flight that killed all 73 people aboard shortly after it took off from Barbados.

Venezuela's ambassador here, Bernardo Alvarez, accused the George W. Bush administration of using a "double standard" on terrorism. He said the White House and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which represented the administration before the court, "virtually" collaborated with Posada by failing to contest statements by one defence witness that Posada would be tortured if he were returned to Caracas.

"There isn't a shred of evidence that Posada would be tortured in Venezuela," said Alvarez, adding that "if we examine our respective records on torture, a prisoner is more likely to be tortured in the custody of the U.S. government than in the custody of Venezuelan officials".

Some U.S. officials, who declined to speak on the record, also deplored the decision by immigration judge William Abbott not to extradite Posada on the grounds that he could face torture in Venezuela.

"It's bad enough when the world knows that we're rendering suspected Islamic terrorists to countries that routinely use terror," said one State Department official. "But here we have someone who we know is a terrorist, and it's clear that we're actively protecting him from facing justice. We have zero credibility."

"The long and short of it is that we are harbouring a terrorist," agreed Wayne Smith, who headed the U.S. Interest Section in Havana in the late 1970s and early 1980s. "This is really a total farce."

well, gee, that doesn't sound too good, does it...? it sounds even worse when you dig into the full story...


According to the independent National Security Archive (NSA) here, the Cuban-born Posada joined the U.S. military in 1963 and was recruited by the CIA, which trained him in demolitions. CIA documents posted on the NSA's website show that he was terminated as an asset in July 1967 only to be reinstated four months later.

A series of 1965 FBI memos obtained by NSA describe Posada's participation in a number of plots involving sabotage and explosives, as well as his financial ties to Jorge Mas Canosa, another anti-Castro activist who would later go on to found and lead the Cuban American National Foundation.

Plots included efforts to blow up Cuban or Soviet ships in Veracruz, Mexico, and the bombing of the Soviet library in Mexico City. One memo links him to a major plot to overthrow the Guatemalan government, an effort halted by the discovery by U.S. Customs agents of a cache of weapons that included napalm and explosives. During this period, Posada was working with the CIA.

His relationship with the CIA lasted until 1974, although he retained contact with the agency at least until June 1976, three months before the plane bombing, according to CIA documents. During that period, he worked in Caracas as a senior official in the Venezuelan intelligence agency, DISIP.

A 1972 CIA document described Posada as a high-level official in charge of demolitions at DISIP. The report noted that Posada had apparently taken CIA explosives supplies to Venezuela and was associated with a Miami mafia figure named Lefty Rosenthal.

In one of the very first reports on the Oct. 6, 1976 bombing of the Cubana Air flight, a cable from the FBI Venezuelan bureau cites an informant who identified Posada and Orlando Bosch as responsible and notes that the two Venezuelan suspects -- who both worked for a Caracas private security firm set up by Posada in 1974 -- had been arrested by police in Barbados.

Bosch, another anti-Castro radical, was pardoned by former President George H. W. Bush in 1990 despite a recommendation by the U.S. Justice Department that he be deported. He currently lives in Miami and has repeatedly called for Posada to be granted asylum

Another CIA document released last June cited a report several days after the plane was blown up by a former Venezuelan government official characterised as "usually a reliable reporter" that Posada had bragged a few days before the bombing that he and Orlando Bosch were planning to "hit" a Cuban airplane.

ah, ok... protecting a CIA ASSET...! got it...!

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