Congressman Wants Castro Arrested

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - A Florida congressman wants Cuban leader Fidel Castro arrested if he sets foot in the United States. Castro may visit the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit in Seattle next week, but he has not announced his exact plans as yet.

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) sent a letter to Washington state Attorney General Christine Gregoire requesting Castro's arrest on charges that four flyers died in a 1996 Cuban warplane attack on two American civilian aircraft.

"I respectfully request that you take all necessary actions so that Fidel Castro be charged forthwith so that he can be arrested in the United States to stand trial for the murders of Alejandro Alejandre, Carlos Costa, Mario de la Pena and Pablo Morales, " Diaz-Balart wrote in the letter.

A spokesman for Gregoire said Castro is a matter for the federal government, not for the state of Washington.

Meanwhile, many Cuban-Americans from the Miami area vow to protest outside the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit if Castro attends.

The summit is scheduled for Tuesday through Friday of next week.

A spokesman for Rep. Jim McDermott, a Seattle Democrat, plans to set up a meeting for Castro with members of Congress, "but not a reception for him." Some members of Congress may meet with members of the Cuban delegation, whether Castro attends or not, according to McDermott's spokesman.

Diaz-Balart expressed outrage "that certain members would even consider hosting a reception to honor a tyrant who is responsible for killing Americans."

Before adjourning for the year, several House members wrote a letter to their colleagues urging them to tell Castro, if they attend such a meeting, that US sanctions against Cuba would be lifted if three conditions are met: release of all political prisoners; legalization of all political parties, unions and the press; and the scheduling of free elections.

A Cuban advance team has been in Seattle preparing for a possible Castro visit. Castro usually conceals his travel plans for political and security reasons.

Castro last visited the United States in 1995 when attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the United Nations in New York.