Cuban 'Wasp' spy checks in with Miami probation officer
A Havana web site reports that Wasp Network member checked in with his
probation officer in Miami.
By Juan O. Tamayo
Cuban spy René González reported to a probation officer in downtown
Miami on Tuesday after serving 13 years in prison as part of the "Wasp
Network" of intelligence agents, according to reports from Havana.
González, the first of the five convicted network members to complete
his prison sentence, had not been seen in public since Friday when he
walked out of a U.S. prison in northwestern Florida.
The 55-year-old had been expected to avoid South Florida, and its deeply
anti-Castro Cuban exile community, for the duration of the three years'
probation that he still must serve to complete his sentence.
But the Web site CubaDebate, run by the Cuban government, reported
González checked in Tuesday with the federal probation office in Miami
as required by the terms of his release.
His Miami lawyer, Philip Horowitz, confirmed Gonzalez has checked in
with a federal probation office Tuesday but declined to say where,
saying he needed to protect his client's safety.
CubaDebate published photos of the Miami building — but not of the
González visit — credited to Aissa García, a Havana journalist sent to
Miami to report on the case for Telesur, a TV channel run by Cuba and
Mexico's La Jornada newspaper on Tuesday published an interview with
Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba's legislative National Assembly of
Peoples' Power, confirming Gonzalez has been in South Florida.
"René today is in a secure place in South Florida with his daughters,
his brother, his father," Alarcón said. The four relatives arrived from
Havana last week and were on hand for his release from the Marianna prison.
Alarcon also seemed to say that Gonzalez remained under U.S.
surveillance. "He is being watched," Alarcon said. "To protect him? To
attack him? Or to stop him from doing something against terrorists?"
Havana insists the Cuban Five are intelligence agents "anti-terrorist
heroes" sent to South Florida only to spy on exiles planning terrorist
attacks against the island. Their trial included evidence the network
tried to infiltrate the U.S. military's Miami-based Southern Command and
reported on warplane landings and takeoffs at U.S. military bases in
Tampa and the Florida Keys.
Defense lawyers are still appealing the convictions of all of the "Cuban
Five" – González, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero
and Fernando González, who is not related to the freed spy.
Hernandez is serving two life sentences on charges that information he
sent to Havana helped Cuban warplanes shoot down two Miami-based
civilian planes in 1996, and kill all four Brothers to the Rescue
Horowitz recently asked U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lenard, who
presided at the trial of the "Cuban Five," to let his client serve his
probation in Cuba. Lenard rejected the request but said he could file it
again after he was released. Horowitz said Tuesday that he will file it
Some leading Cuban exiles in Miami have said they favor allowing
Gonzalez, a Chicago-born dual U.S. and Cuban citizen, to return to Cuba
in order to remove a possible irritant in South Florida.
U.S. prosecutors have argued that allowing González to return to Cuba
would effectively lift all the restrictions of his probation.
Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was reported to have told Cuban
officials that the Obama administration would be willing to let González
return to Cuba if Havana frees Alan Gross, a U.S. government
subcontractor serving a 15-year prison term in Cuba.
Cuba has hinted it could free Gross only as part of a deal involving all
the Cuban Five. The State Department has noted that would not be
possible because the five are convicted spies and "not political prisoners."