Media Center



April 25, 2007 - Washington, DC

• Mr. Chairman, U.S. counter-terrorism policy is clear: We condemn terrorism and terrorists, irrespective of the cause they pretend to espouse.

• We are all engaged in a global campaign against terrorism to protect our citizens, our democratic way of life, our freedom and our prosperity.

• In the “Declaration of Panama on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure in the Hemisphere in the face of Terrorism” -- which was adopted earlier this spring by all OAS member states except Venezuela -- states agreed to continue to build on the spirit of multilateral cooperation in order to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism in all of its forms through the protection of critical infrastructure. In this, my delegation firmly agrees.

• The terrorist attacks of September 11 sent a powerful message not only for the 296 million citizens of the United States of America, but for the over 800 million people of this Hemisphere -- many of whom, including Venezuela, lost relatives and friends. Six years ago, 19 terrorists attacked the U.S. with a barbarity unequaled in our history, but on that same day, in Lima, Peru, our foreign ministers also worked to send a message of hope and freedom. Through the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, we committed ourselves to a form of democracy based on respect for fundamental, universal, non-negotiable individual liberties and human freedoms, including freedom of expression. And democracy is the most formidable tool in the fight against terrorism.

• Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, the member states of the OAS have worked in concert to strengthen our ability to confront the threats of terrorism. We have strengthened our institutional capacity to help prevent the threats from becoming real.

• The OAS adopted at the June 2002 General Assembly the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, expanding our legal obligations to work together to both prevent and respond to terrorism.

• Today 22 states, including the United States, are states parties to the Convention. The activities of Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) -- along with the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism -- constitute a strong institutional foundation for our hemispheric fight against terrorism.

• The Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism serves as an excellent mechanism to enhance our ability to address the shared threats of terrorism. Indeed, CICTE continues to be the only hemispheric anti-terrorism body in the world. The United States continues to be a strong supporter and the largest donor to CICTE so that it may continue to carry out its critical and important work. Our U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism has called CICTE: “An outstanding, perhaps the best, example of a region pulling together to protect itself to endure the pursuit of democracy and economic freedom, all shared values among the OAS members.”

• Mr. Chairman, my government has demonstrated time and again that it is fully committed to preventing our enemies from establishing a safe haven from which to attack again. As President Bush noted just last week, “I made a vow that I would do everything I could, and work with members of Congress to do everything they could, to protect the United States. It is the most solemn duty of our country, to protect our country from harm.”

• Turning to the public allegations on the case of Mr. Posada Carriles made by the Government of Venezuela, we categorically reject these characterizations and specific accusations. We further note that this case is still before U.S. courts, which constrains our ability to respond. We would, however, make the following points.

• Mr. Chairman, the United States is not harboring Luis Posada Carriles. We too are deeply concerned about his unwanted and illegal presence in our territory.

• We did not ask him to come, he came illegally.

• He is currently facing criminal prosecution for violations of our immigration laws. Despite the efforts of the U.S. to keep him in detention, on April 6 the U.S. District Court judge presiding over Luis Posada-Carriles' criminal case granted his appeal and ordered his release on bond pending trial, subject to strict conditions including twenty-four hour home confinement and electronic monitoring until his trial goes forward. This has been decided by our independent courts, pursuant to due process of law.

• Failure by Posada to comply with this order may subject him to more restrictive release conditions, detention, or criminal prosecution. He is now required to appear in court on May 11 for his criminal proceeding as ordered by the court.

• The United States is proceeding with its own national prosecution in an area where Mr. Posada-Carriles has broken U.S. law.

• Mr. Chairman, the United States takes very seriously its obligations to respond strongly to confront terrorism wherever and whenever it occurs.

• We are a nation governed under the rule of law, with a strict separation of powers and a fiercely independent judiciary, of which we are justifiably proud. It is unfortunate that this case is being presented by Venezuela, willfully ignoring the efforts the United States has made to detain Mr. Posada and our firm resolve and commitment in the global fight against terror.