Aide to Cuba’s Ricardo Alarcon Sentenced to 30 Years for Spying 9

By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@elNuevoHerald.com

A top aide to one of Cuba’s veteran political figures, Ricardo Alarcón, and the aide’s wife, have been convicted of spying and sentenced to 30 and 15 years in prison, according to persons close to the case.

Miguel Alvarez and Mercedes Arce, both former Cuban intelligence analysts in their 50s, were tried and convicted in December, the persons said, 22 months after they were detained in Havana for interrogation on March 3, 2012.

Alvarez was sentenced to 30 years on charges that he leaked secret information to Arce, according to the sources. Arce got the lesser sentence for allegedly using the information to write analytical reports on Cuba that she sold to private companies in Mexico.

Alvarez is the most senior Cuban official known to have been convicted of spying against the communist government in decades. At least three other Cubans are imprisoned on the island for spying, including two former Interior Ministry officials.

The Cuban government has repeatedly offered to swap U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross, imprisoned in Havana since 2009, for four Havana spies held in U.S. prisons since 1998. But it has made no mention of the spies held in Cuban prisons.

The island’s state-controlled news media, which almost never reports on politically sensitive crimes, has published nothing on the Alvarez-Arce case. Relatives also have not commented publicly, hoping their silence will lead to better treatment for the couple.

There has been no indication of the seriousness of the breach of security allegedly created by Alvarez and Arce, but the Cuban government jealously guards even routine information such as sugar harvest figures and Fidel Castro’s home address.

Alvarez was a senior advisor to Alarcón on international and political affairs when Alarcón served as president of the legislative National Assembly of People’s Power, sitting in on many of his meetings with foreign dignitaries and journalists.

Alarcón, 77, a veteran specialist on U.S. relations, headed the National Assembly for 20 years but was replaced in February of last year, 11 months after the Alvarez and Arce arrests.

He is believed to remain a member of the powerful Political Bureau of the Communist Party. Alarcón is seen in public now mostly pushing the government campaign to free the four Cuban spies in U.S. prisons.

Former Florida International University professor Carlos Alvarez (no relation to the Alarcón aide), who was convicted of spying for Havana, described Arce in his confession as one of his Cuban intelligence handlers. He and his wife, Elsa Prieto, were sentenced in 2007 to five and three years in prison, respectively.

Read more here:
Aide to Cuba’s Ricardo Alarcon Sentenced to 30 Years for Spying

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9 comments

  1. Whenever Juan Tamayo and the Miami Herald mention Cuban espionage agent Mercedes Arce, they always carefully omit the fact that when Arce visited Miami, she resided with Professor Marifeli Perez-Stable, a Miami Herald board of contributors member and FIU professor. That fact was mentioned in the Carlos Alvarez confession to the FBI, on page 489 here
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/espionage/Alvarez-spy-6.pdf
    Perez-Stable was publicly accused of being a Cuban intelligence operative by Armando Valladares in the Washington Times
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/18/their-men-in-higher-ed/
    and she never denied it to that newspaper.
    In my email exchanges with Juan Tamayo and the Herald executives in 2009 found here
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/espionage/Miami-Herald-spy-polemic.htm
    I forewarned: “what people will remember is that Perez-Stable and her intimate friend Mercedes Arce are spies and the Herald suppressed the truth.”
    Five years later, the discredited Miami Herald and its jaded blog-surfing reporters continue to suppress the truth to protect their former associate Perez-Stable, whose lengthy pro-Castro activism is found here
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/espionage/marifeli.htm

  2. It´s really nonsensical that Miguel Alvarez has been sentenced to 30 years because “he leaked secret information to Arce.” id est: was spying for his wife, while she was sentenced only to 15 years, despite the fact that she was the one who provided the secret information to third parties.
    A case of espionage without mentioning the involved foreign intelligence service makes no sense at all.
    I guess they were charge with “Revelation of Secrets Concerning the State Security, ” which is the typical charge against those who leaks them (Article 95 of the Penal Code) but did not commit espionage since there wasn’t any connection to a foreign service.
    Tamayo overlooked that because he ignores the deep Cuba, but he had blatantly overlooked the Arce-Perez Stable link —as Professor De la Cova has noted— by giving Arce’s background. By the way, both Arce and Perez Stable met again in August 2008 during a workshop at Santo Domingo on “Cuba: Reality and Perspectives.”

  3. I forgot to point out that a Castro’s intelligence officer, Claro Fernando Alonso Hernandez, is reportedly serving a 30-year sentence precisely because of Revelation of Secrets Concerning the State Security.

    • Yes, they met at the so-called workshop/colloquium from August 20 to August 24, 2008. It was sponsored by the gosht organization “Solidaridad de Trabajadores Cubanos” in Santo Domingo, DR. At that time the “cubanologos” were inventing the “raulismo.” Besides Perez Stable and Arce, other attendees were Juan Antonio Blanco (currently engaged in the scholarships for Cubans at Miami-Dade College), Carlos Saladrigas, Gilberto García Valencia, Siro del Castillo, Vivian Díaz, Antonio Llaca, Santiago Cárdenas, Oscar Visiedo, Pedro Ramón López, Eduardo García Moure, Ariel Hidalgo, Jorge Valls, Arnoldo Müller, Carlos Navarro and whoever else I don’t remember.

    • The sequence is funny: the Miami Herald invented “cubanologos” and they invented “raulismo,” ergo, raulismo also came from the Miami Herald, as indirect evidence of being unable to capture the essence of castroism.

  4. The Cuban regime never change its practice of incarcerating those who the Castro brothers consider they can not use anymore.I do not feel any empathy for any communists,much less empathy I feel for any member of the Cuban MININT,they are murderers.

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