A Venezuelan man accused in the 2003 bombing of Spanish and Colombian diplomatic missions in Venezuela has fled his country and is seeking asylum in the United States. The Miami Herald reports that Raul Diaz escaped from prison while on a daytime furlough. He traveled by boat to Trinidad and then flew to Miami.
Mr. Diaz denies involvement in the embassy bombings, which injured four people. He claims that there were irregularities in his criminal proceedings and that he was detained in inhumane conditions.
Since arriving in the U.S., Mr. Diaz has garnered support from the Venezuela Awareness Foundation, a human rights organization that opposes the Hugo Chavez regime. He has also met with U.S. representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is supporting his bid for asylum and who issued a press release stating that Diaz’s case was an example of the human rights violations carried out by Chavez.
While there is good reason to oppose Hugo Chavez and his dictatorial tendencies, it seems premature to embrace Mr. Diaz as deserving asylum in our country. He has been accused of a serious crime–planting bombs that injured four people, including the wife and young daughter of a security guard. This reminds me of the bombing of Cuban flight 455 in 1976, a terrorist attack that killed 73 people. At least two of the men responsible for the attack are now living freely in the U.S., supported by various politicians, including Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, who is originally from Cuba and who is strongly opposed to the Castro government. I guess I do not understand the logic of supporting terrorists who kill innocent people, just because we oppose the governments of the countries they attack.
Perhaps Mr. Diaz is innocent, as he claims, but perhaps not. An Asylum Officer or an Immigration Judge needs to scrutinize the case to determine whether he is eligible for asylum or whether he is barred as a terrorist.