HAVANA TIMES — Fernando González today became the second of five Cuban agents who goes free after serving a long prison term in the United States, reported dpa news.
Gonzalez, and the rest of the “Cuban Five”, were arrested in 1998 and later convicted of espionage and other charges. He was released from prison in the city of Safford, Arizona, and was handed over to immigration authorities.
The former Cuban agent will be deported “as soon as possible,” said Michelle Alvarez, spokeswoman for the prosecutors in Miami. It was unclear how long the deportation process would take.
Gonzalez, 50, spent more than 15 years in prison. Along with four other Cuban agents he was sentenced in 2001. One of the Cubans, Gerardo Hernandez was given a double life sentence.
The US court sentenced the five Cubans for conspiracy to commit espionage and failing to register as foreign agents. Hernandez was also charged of conspiracy to commit murder.
Cuba declared them “heroes” and argues that these agents of the “Wasp Network” of Cuban intelligence in the United States operated solely to thwart attacks against Cuba by radical rightwing Cuban exiles.
René González, no relation to Fernando, was the first of the Cuban Five to be released. Gonzalez completed his prison sentence in October 2011 and is in Cuba since May of last year.
The case of the Cuban Five is one of the thorniest issues in the difficult relations between Washington and Havana. Another is the case of Alan Gross, a highly paid US operative who was sentenced to 15 years in Cuba for endangering the island’s national security. Gross was working for Development Alternatives Inc., a US-AID contractor.