BY NANCY SAN MARTIN | Miami Herald
Honduran authorities said Friday they continue to believe Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles is no longer in the country, but that, if he’s captured, they would consider Cuba’s extradition request.
There, the explosives expert would face a firing squad.
‘‘We still believe that he left the country, but we can’t determine how he did that,’’ Armando Calidonio, Honduras’ vice minister of security told The Herald. ``The investigation continues.’‘
Leonidas Rosa Bautista, Honduras’ minister of foreign relations, told reporters on Thursday that an extradition request had been submitted by Cuba and that, if Posada is apprehended, he would be ``immediately deported.’‘
Cuba, meanwhile, has said that Posada would be condemned to death.
Posada—who is wanted by Cuba on numerous terrorism and assassination charges—was among four exiles pardoned last month by Panama’s former President Mireya Moscoso. They had been imprisoned four years ago on convictions tied to an assassination plot against Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Three of the exiles, Gaspar Jimenez, Pedro Remon and Guillermo Novo—all of whom are U.S. citizens—returned to their homes in Miami. Posada, 76, who is not a U.S. citizen, is believed to have fled to Honduras where he went into hiding. Authorities in that country said they have information indicating Posada fled to the Bahamas or another Caribbean country but could not be absolutely certain.
Branded by Castro as ‘‘the worst terrorist in the hemisphere,’’ Posada is wanted in connection with the 1976 midair bombing of a Cuban jetliner in which 73 people were killed. The former CIA operative also is accused of orchestrating a dozen terror bombings of Havana tourist spots in 1997, and numerous plots to assassinate Castro.
DENIED ANY ROLE
Posada and the three Miami exiles have denied any role in the alleged assassination plot in Panama during a heads-of-state summit in 2000, where Castro made the accusations.
A Panamanian court dropped initial charges of conspiracy to murder and possession of explosives, but convicted them in April of endangering public safety and sentenced them to up to eight years.
In the terror bombings in Havana, Posada first admitted, then denied, responsibility.
Responding to reports by Cuba that Posada could have gone to Costa Rica, authorities there announced they would not provide refuge to Posada.