Venezuela extradites terror suspect to Cuba
"He's a terrorist, and Cuba wants him," said El Aissami, speaking on state television from the airport. "We are leading a comprehensive fight against terrorism."
President Hugo Chavez announced on Tuesday the Salvadoran man would be quickly extradited to Cuba -- Venezuela's closest foreign ally.
Cuban officials say Chavez Abarca placed an explosive that damaged a hotel disco on April 2, 1997, as well as another bomb that failed to explode on the 15th floor of the same hotel later that month. Cuban officials also suspect him in a 1997 bombing of a Cuban government office.
Venezuela's state-run news agency said Chavez Abarca used several fake names during three trips into Cuba during 1997, including Manuel Gonzalez, Roberto Solorzano and William Gonzalez.
Cuban officials say he is a close associate of Luis Posada Carriles, who is the man most wanted by the communist government's prosecutors.
Posada Carriles is accused of involvement in the hotel attacks, in the bombing of a Cuban jetliner and in a series of attempts to assassinate former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. He has denied involvement in the airline and hotel attempts and at least some of the attempts on Castro.
Chavez revealed on Tuesday that Venezuelan authorities have interrogated Chavez Abarca and suspect he was conspiring with local opposition groups to cause violence and upheaval ahead of September congressional elections.
El Aissami reiterated those allegations on Wednesday.
"Chavez Abarca had made contact with fascist groups from the counterrevolution, which collaborated or attempted to collaborate with these malevolent and criminal plans," El Aissami said.
He said investigators must determine "what were these connections and possible plans."
Chavez Abarca was arrested and imprisoned in September 2005 in El Salvador as part of a crackdown on a car theft ring. He was released in 2007, when a judge said the investigation against him had been botched.
He was never charged in El Salvador on charges related to the Cuba bombings and disappeared from public view following his release from prison.
Associated Press Writer Marcos Aleman contributed to this report.
By Christopher Toothaker
Associated Press Writer / July 7, 2010