Named Vice Rector at Cuba’s Advanced Institute of International Relations
By Café Fuerte
HAVANA TIMES — The man who once led the spy ring Red Avispa (Wasp Network) in the south of Florida and is today a national hero, has received an important academic role from Raul Castro’s government. Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo will now be the vice rector at the “Raúl Roa García” Advanced Institute of International Relations (ISRI) in Havana.
Last Thursday, 50 year old Hernandez was welcomed as the ISRI’s new vice rector at a ceremony held in the academic institution and chaired by Chancellor Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, reported on the official website Cubadebate.
Hernandez returns to the ISRI, where he graduated in 1988, “to share his knowledge and experiences with a young and enthusiastic group of students as well as with an experienced academic group headed by Rector Isabel Allende Karam.”
Along with two other spies [part of the Cuban Five] who were sentenced to long prison sentences in the US, Hernandez was part of the trade-off between Havana and Washington which loosened the deadlock in their bilateral relations and initated the time of warming relations on December 17, 2014. His release from prison and return to Cuba sparked harsh criticism from Cuban exiles in Miami, believing this concession to the regime to be over the top.
During the last year of his time in prison, US authorities made an unprecedented decision and allowed a semen sample to be taken from Hernandez whilst in a federal prison in order to artificially inseminate his wife Adriana Perez, who was living in Cuba. The result of this operation coordinated by both governments led to the birth of Gema in January 2015.
Hernandez, the head of the Wasp Network, was detained on December 12, 1998 and was sentenced to two life sentences and 15 years in prison, charged with conspiracy to commit murder, espionage and acting as a foreign agent with a false identity.
In Moscow’s Red Square
After having graduated from ISRI, where he was scouted by Cuba’s intelligence authorities, he fought as a soldier in the Angolan war during 1989 and 1990.
He is the second of the spies to return to Cuba who has now been appointed to a role as a government official. In 2015, official Fernando Gonzalez was named the vice-president of the Cuban Institute for the Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), an organization with strong ties to the Ministry of the Interior (MININT).
Hernandez and his four comrades have traveled widely across the world since their release. Recently this month, they were given a royal welcome by the Russian government’s highest officials, after having taken part as guests in the military procession for the 71st anniversary of the victory over fascism, in Moscow’s Red Square. Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov joined them and called them “heroes of the resistance”.
Cubadebate’s website has been regularly covering news about the couple’s family life, from Gema’s birth to her 1st birthday. Last Thursday, it was also reported that Gerardo and Adriana are now also expecting twins.