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Officials of the communist government of Cuba are singing the praises of the five recently convicted Wasp Network spies, saying the convicts have “personal dignity” and “revolutionary values,” according to Cuban government sources.
Also, the officials described Miami, Fla., as a city “where those who buy weapons and explosives publicly boast of their terrorist activities.” Miami is home to an active Cuban-American community.
Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban parliament – the National Assembly of Peoples’ Power – stated that the five spies exhibited “heroism that cannot be described with words,” echoing the sentiments of Cuban President Fidel Castro, who stated that the five are “political prisoners.”
Radio Habana Cuba, the official broadcasting service of the Cuban government, carried the statements of Castro and Alarcon, who are launching a major propaganda campaign for the return of the spies.
The five Cubans were part of an espionage group of 14 individuals, which called itself the “Wasp Network.” The FBI broke the ring in 1998. Of the original number, five cooperated with U.S. federal authorities; four are believed to be in Cuba; and five were convicted on spy-related charges earlier this month.
The Castro regime is characterizing the spies as “patriots” who sought only to inform their government of “terrorist activities” planned by anti-communist Cuban Americans in the U.S.
During an earlier rally in Havana, Castro condemned the trial as a “political trial,” and declared that “these comrades are political prisoners in the United States.”
Referring to the five as “young, heroic men,” Castro said that Cuba and the world “don’t know them yet, [but] will get to know them well.”
“Public opinion in Cuba and the world will know how they feel, what they think and how much dignity and courage they have,” Castro promised. “They will become an example … for the young people around the world,” Castro stated.
The Cuban government – and Castro himself – are closely connected to the convicted spies and the operations of the Wasp Network as a whole.
According to a January 2000 report by the Miami Herald, during the trial, the prosecution revealed that the FBI intercepted coded shortwave broadcasts sent to leaders of the Wasp Network from top Cuban intelligence officials. One of the broadcasts alluded to Castro, referring specifically to the “commander in chief,” who was directly involved in Cuban intelligence operations.
One operation involved supplying information on the activities of an anti-communist group called Brothers to the Rescue, which seeks to aid refugees fleeing from Cuba.
As a result of Cuban intelligence activities, Cuban MiG fighters intercepted two planes belonging to the Brothers and shot down the aircraft in international waters, killing all aboard both planes.
The Miami jury returned a murder conviction against Gerardo Hernandez, the spymaster of the Wasp Network, for supplying information leading to the deadly jet attack.
Other members of the group sought to record the movements of U.S. military aircraft, obtain personal information – including medical files – on U.S. military personnel, and locate entry points into Florida for smuggling explosive material.
In an interview with WorldNetDaily, Miami FBI spokeswoman Special Agent Judy Orihuela stated that much of the information surrounding the Wasp Network is still classified, but she was able to confirm that the Cuban spy ring was “very aggressive” in seeking to acquire information for Cuba. The Wasp Network reported “everything in minute detail” to Havana, Orihuela stated, and employed “sophisticated encryption devices.”
The Wasp Network’s encryption system was so sophisticated that it was not broken until a raid at Hernandez’ apartment yielded computer discs providing the key to the ring’s code.
When contacted by WND, Joe Garcia, executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, responded to the attacks against his group by stating that the Cuban American National Foundation engages “peacefully in the democratic process.” Miami, he said, is “one of the great cities of the world,” and he ridiculed the Cuban government’s description of violence in Miami by declaring that “no one here is walking around with bazookas.”
Garcia emphasized the high level of economic activity in the Miami area, which would be impossible in a dangerous environment. He praised the level of economic productivity of the Cuban Americans in and around the Miami area, stating that Cuban Americans in the area outperform their counterparts in Cuba by a factor of “30 times.”
Comparing the social and political situation prevailing in Cuba to the Soviet Union, Garcia noted the USSR’s sudden, unexpected collapse.
“Castro is the longest lasting dictator in the Western Hemisphere. He’s sent one-fifth of the Cuban people into exile, murdered 15,000 of his own people, and more people have died trying to escape [Cuba] than in the history of the Berlin Wall,” Garcia stated.