Heroic Homecoming For Cuban Agents Brings Speculation About Future in Politics 6

The "Cuban Five," which includes Ramon Labanino (top left), Gerardo Hernandez (top right), Fernando Gonzalez (bottom left), Antonio Guerrero (bottom right) and Rene Gonzalez (center), have become part of the new political intrigue in Cuba. (Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters)

The “Cuban Five,” which includes Ramon Labanino (top left), Gerardo Hernandez (top right), Fernando Gonzalez (bottom left), Antonio Guerrero (bottom right) and Rene Gonzalez (center), have become part of the new political intrigue in Cuba. (Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters)

By Nick Miroff, Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — Since their return to Havana last month after 16 years in U.S. federal prison, the remaining three members of the spy ring known as “the Cuban Five” have been a frequent presence on state television. Wherever they go — visiting universities or attending outdoor concerts in their honor — they are celebrated as “Heroes of the Republic.”

They speak with a confidence and a candor unusual among Communist officials of their generation, who rarely veer off-script or show emotion. Despite their years behind bars, the men are relatively young, at least by Cuban leadership standards.

And with each public appearance, more Cubans and Cuba-watchers wonder what role the five, and especially ringleader Gerardo Hernández, might play in the country’s political future.

Although several of them had not set foot on the island in 20 years, Havana’s ceaseless international campaign to free the men has arguably made them the most recognizable faces in the Cuban government after the Castros. A generation of Cuban schoolchildren has grown up memorizing their names and biographies.

Hernández, 49, was serving two life sentences plus 15 years when he was freed as part of the prisoner swap for a long-jailed CIA mole in Cuba that also triggered the release of Alan Gross, an American government subcontractor.

Sent by Havana to infiltrate anti-Castro groups in Miami, Hernández was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, having passed along information that Cuba used in the 1996 downing of two civilian planes operated by the exile group Brothers to the Rescue, killing four.

“We dreamed about this moment for so long,” Hernández told Cuban television soon after his arrival, choking back tears. “The only thing that lifted our spirits was the thought of coming home, to be with the Cuban people again.”

“It was worth it,” he said.

The agents have said nothing specific about their plans. But when the Obama administration agreed to send them back, it possibly gave Cuba more than a group of intelligence operatives.

“We don’t know yet what they’ll do, but they return with tremendous prestige,” said Aurelio Alonso, a member of the small Havana civil society organization Cuba Posible, which advocates gradual reforms. “So far, they’ve demonstrated an extraordinary level of political maturity.”

Feature continues here:  Cuban Spies

Editor’s Note:  The Washington Post is incorrect in reporting the Wasp Network was created “to infiltrate anti-Castro groups in Miami.” It actually targeted US military bases, the FBI, the Miami Herald, local and national political figures, and other groups.

6 comments

  1. That’s junk journalism. Miroff himself is the only source of this speculation, and for publishing it he uses the mask of “more Cubans and Cuba-watchers” as the primary sources.

  2. 1.) Why is it “junk journalism”?

    2.) How does the fact that you state; “Miroff himself is the only source of this speculation and for publishing it he uses the mask of more Cubans and Cuba-watchers as the primary sources” that this statement, as written by you, is correlative on your opinion of it being “junk journalism”?

    3.) Who is Nick Miroff, besides the fact he wrote this article at the Washington Post?

    Thank you

    • 1. J.J. because the starting fact is that there is a speculation on something, but there is not a single identifiable source regarding the speculation
      2. Lacking of identifiable source, the journalist develops a thesis that can be attribute only to himself. He is launching his own idea —which must be a matter of opinion— as a fact for informative journalism.
      3. It does not matter who is Miroff, but what he has written in this very piece

      • I.) These are the informative facts presented by Miroff, as I read them and of course stated therein in the follwing chronological senetences written in his journalistic newpaper article:

        1.) “the Cuban Five have been a frequent presence on state television. Wherever they go — visiting universities or attending outdoor concerts in their honor — they are celebrated as “Heroes of the Republic.”

        2.) “They speak with a confidence and a candor unusual among Communist officials of their generation, who rarely veer off-script or show emotion. Despite their years behind bars, the men are relatively young, at least by Cuban leadership standards.”

        3.) “And with each public appearance, more Cubans and Cuba-watchers wonder what role the five, and especially ringleader Gerardo Hernández, might play in the country’s political future”.

        4.) “Although several of them had not set foot on the island in 20 years, Havana’s ceaseless international campaign to free the men has arguably made them the most recognizable faces in the Cuban government after the Castros. A generation of Cuban schoolchildren has grown up memorizing their names and biographies”.

        5.) “Hernández, 49, was serving two life sentences plus 15 years when he was freed as part of the prisoner swap for a long-jailed CIA mole in Cuba that also triggered the release of Alan Gross, an American government subcontractor”.

        6.) “Sent by Havana to infiltrate anti-Castro groups in Miami, Hernández was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, having passed along information that Cuba used in the 1996 downing of two civilian planes operated by the exile group Brothers to the Rescue, killing four”.

        7.) “We dreamed about this moment for so long,” Hernández told Cuban television soon after his arrival, choking back tears. “The only thing that lifted our spirits was the thought of coming home, to be with the Cuban people again.”

        “It was worth it,” he said”.

        8.) “The agents have said nothing specific about their plans”.

        9.) ““We don’t know yet what they’ll do, but they return with tremendous prestige,” said Aurelio Alonso, a member of the small Havana civil society organization Cuba Posible, which advocates gradual reforms. “So far, they’ve demonstrated an extraordinary level of political maturity.”

        II.) Mr. Angleton, THE ONLY WRITTEN SENTENCE IN MR. MIRROF´S ARTICLE, WHICH–IN FACT–COULD BE CONSIDERED TO FORMULATE A PERSONAL JOURNALISTIC-BASED OPINION, IS THE LINE GRAMMATICALLY CONSTITUTED BY THE FOLLOWING 22 (TWENTY-TWO) WORDS, OF WHICH 11 (ELEVEN) ARE FACT-BASED SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION (as shown in upper case words below) AND ELEVEN (11) ARE OPINION ( as shown in lower case words below):

        1.) “BUT WHEN THE OBAMA ADMINISTARTION AGREED TO SEND THEM BACK, it possibly gave Cuba more than a group of intelligence operatives”.

        REBUTTAL:

        This journalist of the Washington Post, Mr. Nick Miroff, quite evidently provided facts in his newspaper article, which are ALL true, in reference to the outcome in Cuba, after the return of “the Cuban 5” with regard to their presence there throughout the media-like tour they have been exposed to. As a result of that, they basically and naturally, have become the live representation of individual figures, which had been billboarded on a widespread basis as heroes of the Cuban Revolution, long before their recent return to Cuba. Surely you cannot deny that Mr. Angleton. Astronouts coming back from the moon here in the United States such as John Glenn became a Senator, if you can remember. I can remeber seeing John Glenn in a elementary school auditorium as he circled the earth several times, considered a big feat of that day. That was enough for John Glenn to gain enough popularity to become a political figure. I care not mention many others. It would be like beating a dead horse.

        So therefore, the fact that Mr. Miroff correctly states his facts to illustrate to the readers what iconic figures the “Cuban 5” have become in Cuba after their return, makes it perfectly plausible they could turn into political figures in Cuba. Now, what is all this technicality exposé of proving journalism, which you speak about? It has been done.

        1.) FACT: The “Cuban 5” have the image stature of “rock stars”, at present, in Cuba. (Mr. Miroff proved it in his article)

        2.) FACT: People with “rock star” image status (brand recall) can very easily segway into politics.

        3.) FACT: Not all journalism is proven by sources alone, but journalistic pieces may be supported through a bibliography of historic or factual events, which have actually ocurred (as the media tour of the “Cuabn 5”, which has catapulted them into Cuban stardom) and wherein from such facts a conclusion or contention may be legitimately proferred to the viewr of media or reader of media in order to encourgae further analis and personal opinion formulation. This Mr. Angleton is perfectly legitimate.

        Last but not least, you assume my question to you regarding “Who is Mr. Miroff”, as I asked you, and you replied: “It does not matter who is Miroff, but what he has written in this very piece” is unimportant, perhaps to you, yes, but to me all information is relevant including the fact you seenm so incensed by what constitutes a very plausible contention that the “Cuban 5” may be thrust into Cuban politics after their experience.

        I leave you with this thought, as more appropriately expressed in the story below about Adam Walsh, and how he became who he is in the United States. You see, Mr. Angleton, some people say: “think out of the box”, for me, the box just does not exist, otherwise, we would not be able to draw from a shipload of life experiences available to mankind if we just keep our minds wide open to what others say, how they say it, what it may mean on the surface or underneath. Somewhere within the layers of man´s experience, lies a wealth of truth to be used for the greater good. So your telling me: “It does not matter who is Miroff, but what he has written in this very piece” is not in line with my way of thinking and processing information. I just thought this to be important I share with you.

        John Edward Walsh, Jr. (born December 26, 1945) is an American television personality, criminal investigator, human and victim rights advocate and the host, as well as creator, of America’s Most Wanted. Walsh is known for his anti-crime activism and his extreme hatred of criminals, with which he became involved following the murder of his son, Adam, in 1981; in 2008, the late serial killer Ottis Toole was named as the killer of Walsh’s son Walsh is part owner of the Museum of Crime & Punishment in Washington, D.C.

        NUFF SAID!

  3. “We don’t know yet what they’ll do, but they return with tremendous prestige,” said Aurelio Alonso, I began with this expression just to remember that “the tremendous prestige’ was created by the Cuban Government. They were used in the same way Elian Gonzalez Case  as a “Medida Activa” to distract the attention of Cuban’s people real Problems. As usual..”Pan y circo”..(Bread and Circus…Maybe Dear Chris..will be good to disclosure the real “intelligence work” of that five.. although we will be in need to disclosure the severity of the Law in relation with “the crime” they do. Do really deserve this “tremendous prestige” the Intelligence work they do? Dr Jose Acosta Ex-DGI Cheaf Officer

  4. I appreciate your dimensional opinion as to the rationalization of the why (?) they–the Cuban Five–became a prestigious media asset, but the FACT is; prestige is a reality assoiated to their “collective personas”. That is exactly the point: They all together gained public prestige inside Cuba and as you say; who knows “yet what they´ll do” with their lives and who knows how the circumstances surrounding will allow and/or enable them collectively or individually to proceed. Andy Warhol coined a great phrase “fifteen minutes of fame”. I believe the situation applies.

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