July 8, 2010 / 2:07 AM / 10 years ago

Bombing suspect arrives in Cuba to face charges

HAVANA (Reuters) - A Salvadorean man arrested in Venezuela last week was flown to Cuba on Wednesday to face charges that he carried out bombings of Cuban hotels in 1997.

Cuban television showed a disheveled, manacled Francisco Chavez Abarca emerging from a plane at the Havana airport where he was met by Cuban authorities.

A statement from Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said Chavez would undergo investigation for his part in the bombings, one of which killed an Italian tourist.

He is accused of being a member of an anti-communist group trained and directed by Cuban exile and former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles.

Venezuelan authorities detained him at the Caracas airport on Thursday under an Interpol arrest warrant requested by Cuba,

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said.

He was in Venezuela to commit disruptive acts before legislative elections in September, officials said.

Posada Carriles, who lives in Miami, is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela for supposedly masterminding the bombing of a Cubana Airlines jet that killed 73 people, as well as involvement in the hotel bombings, which were aimed at destabilizing Cuba and scaring away tourists.

He was convicted of the plane bombing in Venezuela, but escaped from prison in 1985.

Cuba and Venezuela have repeatedly demanded his extradition from the United States, without success.

Posada Carriles was arrested in the United States in 2005 on immigration charges, but is out of jail awaiting trial next January in El Paso, Texas.

Reporting by Rosa Tania Valdes; Editing by Jeff Franks and Chris Wilson

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