This Date in History: Mexican Diplomat Accused of Espionage; US Media Coverage Repressed Reply

September 5, 1969:  Havana accused Mexican diplomat Humberto Carrillo Colon of spying against Cuba.  The Castro regime maintained that Carrillo, the Embassy Press Officer, was a CIA agent tasked to collect against both the Cuban and Mexican governments.  Havana asked Mexico to lift Carrillo’s diplomatic immunity so he could be tried in Cuba.  Mexico denied the regime’s claims, but agreed to remove him.  In part of its extensive coverage, Granma claimed that Carrillo gathered intelligence on senior Cuban government officials and sent his reports to the CIA using diplomatic pouches from the Mexican Embassy.

In contrast to Granma’s coverage, Havana-based Associated Press (AP) correspondent John F. Wheeler repeatedly questioned how Cuban Counterintelligence knew the contents of Mexico’s diplomatic mailings.  Wheeler also called on Havana to release its “irrefutable proof” of Carrillo’s espionage.  Cuba reacted to AP’s coverage by expelling Wheeler and his wife on September 8th.  The only resident American journalist in Cuba, he had served less than 32 months in Cuba. The Associated Press did not return to Cuba for almost 30 years.

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