Al Jazeera Interview With Cuban Spy: ‘I will do it again if I have to’ 3

After spending 16 years in US prisons, Gerardo Hernandez shares his remarkable story behind his liberation.

Cuban intelligence officer Gerardo Hernandez was a central character in the frosty relations between Cuba and the United States.

His return to Cuban soil on December 17, 2014 marked a dramatic new beginning for both countries.

After 16 years in US prisons, he was given a hero’s welcome, and remains defiant and loyal to his government.

In 2001 he was convicted by a Miami court and handed down two life sentences for sending intelligence back home to Cuba.

The court said his actions assisted in the murder of Cuban exiles – in the shooting down of two planes – who were attempting to overthrow the Castro government.

He was a spy, but Hernandez, and the other members of the so-called “Cuban Five” spies captured on US soil and now released, have been declared national heroes by Fidel Castro and were decorated by Cuban president Raul Castro earlier this year.

All this time he had been separated from his wife Adriana Perez, yet, to the surprise of many she was nine months pregnant when he returned to Cuba in 2015. What hadn’t been revealed was that in an unusual diplomatic gesture of good will, officials on both sides had worked to send Hernandez’s sperm to Panama, so that the couple could have a child through artificial insemination.

Hernandez’s surprise release, and the story involving his wife and their baby, which may never have been born, was a key ingredient in secret negotiations leading to a historic agreement to end more than half a century of hostilities between the US and Cuba.G

Now, for the first time, Hernandez and his wife share the story of his imprisonment and release, Perez‘s experiences, how Hernandez posed as a Puerto Rican graphic artist in the US before his capture and how their child was conceived in a diplomatic move, as they talk to Al Jazeera in Havana, Cuba.

EXCLUSIVE: Senior Cuban Spies Leading “Normalization” Talks With US 12

Josefina Vidal

Josefina Vidal

Gustavo Machin

Gustavo Machin

Josefina Vidal Expected Choice as Cuban Ambassador to US

By Chris Simmons

Two career Cuban spies, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro and Gustavo Machin Gomez, will lead this week’s migration and normalization discussions with the United States. The pair are members of Cuba’s primary foreign intelligence service – the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), and serve as Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of the North American Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX).  This is Machin’s second time in the Division, having served as Deputy Chief in 2003 and Division Chief from 2004-2005.

As Havana’s lead “diplomats” on U.S.-Cuban relations, they handled the Alan Gross negations, the return of three of Havana’s jailed spies, and the artificial insemination of DI officer Adriana Perez O’Connor (wife of freed spy Gerardo Hernandez). Perez herself was a member of the Wasp Network – the largest Cuban spy ring ever known to operate in the US. Incidentally, when details are eventually released regarding the Obama administration’s secret talks to restore US-Cuba relations, Vidal and Machin will undoubtedly be at the center of events.

From the DI’s perspective, MINREX’s North America Division is now seen as a de facto wing of the spy service. This assignment is so important that three former members were appointed to ambassadorships. Now we are witnessing the unprecedented return of Ambassador Gustavo Machin to serve as Josefina Vidal’s deputy. Given this pattern of events, I think it’s fairly safe to say Vidal is Raul Castro’s choice to be the first Cuban Ambassador to the United States.

Espionage Backgrounds

Little is publicly known about Vidal’s espionage career.  In May 2003, the US expelled 14 Cuban diplomats for espionage. Seven diplomats were based at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations and seven at the Interests Section. Among the seven Washington-based spies declared Persona Non Grata was First Secretary Jose Anselmo Lopez PereraHis wife, First Secretary Josefina Vidal, also known to the US as a Cuban Intelligence Officer, voluntarily accompanied her expelled spouse back to Cuba.

Previously, Vidal’s lone known success was her support to the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); in particular, Julia E. Sweig, a CFR Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Latin America Program. In her book, Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground, Sweig profusely thanked six Cuban spies for assisting her with her research. The six intelligence officers were Jose Antonio Arbesu, Ramon Sanchez Parodi, Fernando Garcia Bielsa, Hugo Yedra, Jose Gomez Abad and Josefina Vidal.

The son of a revolutionary hero, Gustavo Machin Gomez, was expelled in November 2002 in retaliation for the Ana Belen Montes case. In 2003, he was Deputy Director of MINREX’s North America Division and Chief the following year. In 2006, he was appointed Cuba’s first ambassador to Pakistan, where he is believed to have targeted US counterterrorism operations in the region. He then returned home to head the International Press Center before his current assignment.

DI officer Johanna Tablada preceded Machin in his second tour as Deputy Division Chief before her appointment as ambassador to Portugal.  She was suspected of being assigned to Department M-I, the elite element focused on targeting the US intelligence community, universities, and Congress.

Eduardo Martinez Borbonet previously assisted Vidal as a Counselor in the North America Division.  In November 2011, two weeks after a landslide victory propelled longtime Havana-ally Daniel Ortega into a controversial third term, he became Havana’s ambassador to Nicaragua.

In late December 1998, First Secretary Martinez Borbonet was expelled for his involvement in the South Florida based Wasp Network.  The diplomat-spy served at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN), the traditional hub for Havana’s US-based espionage operations. He had arrived approximately eight years earlier as a lowly Third Secretary.




In Cuba, Wife of Freed Spy Gives Birth to Girl 3

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2014 file photo, Gerardo Hernandez, right, member of “The Cuban Five,” touches the belly of his pregnant wife Adriana Perez, during a concert, in Havana, Cuba. The wife of the Cuban intelligence agent freed by the United States in December, gave birth to a girl, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, after a pregnancy made possible by negotiations to improve ties between the two countries. U.S. officials helped facilitate a process of artificial insemination for Hernandez and his wife. (Ramon Espinosa, File/Associated Press)

FILE – In this Dec. 20, 2014 file photo, Gerardo Hernandez, right, member of “The Cuban Five,” touches the belly of his pregnant wife Adriana Perez, during a concert, in Havana, Cuba. The wife of the Cuban intelligence agent freed by the United States in December, gave birth to a girl, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, after a pregnancy made possible by negotiations to improve ties between the two countries. U.S. officials helped facilitate a process of artificial insemination for Hernandez and his wife. (Ramon Espinosa, File/Associated Press)

By Associated Press

HAVANA — The wife of a Cuban intelligence agent freed by the United States has given birth to a girl after a pregnancy made possible by negotiations to improve ties between the two countries.

The Communist Party daily Granma says the baby named Gema was born Tuesday and weighs 7 pounds and 1 ounce (3.2 kilograms).

U.S. officials helped facilitate a process of artificial insemination so that convicted spy Gerardo Hernandez and his wife Adriana Perez could have a child. It came during talks that led the U.S. to release Hernandez and two other agents last month and the announcement of plans to restore normal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Cuba, meanwhile, freed imprisoned U.S. aid worker Alan Gross.

Corrected Editor’s Note:  Both Gerardo Hernandez and Adriana Perez work for the Directorate of Intelligence (DI). As part of the Wasp Network, her mission was to courier messages and material between Havana and Miami. She was still in training when her husband and nine other Wasp Network members were arrested in September 1998.

Obscure Group Honors Cuban Spy-Trainee Adriana Pérez 3

The husband-wife spy team of Adriana Perez and Gerardo Hernandez

The husband-wife spy team of Adriana Perez and Gerardo Hernandez

Prensa Latina (PRELA) announced that Adriana Perez, wife of imprisoned spy Gerardo Hernandez, “was awarded the Silver Dove international prize” for her efforts in support of the Cuban Five. The honor appears to have been bestowed by a little-known group called the Central Council of the International Union of World Leaders.

The award ceremony was held in Moscow at the headquarters of the Russian presidency. According to PRELA, other honorees included citizens from Russia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, India,  Ukraine, Poland and Macedonia. PRELA reported that the awards recognize contributions to “social, cultural, moral and spiritual traditions.”

Editor’s Note:  PRELA failed to report was that Adriana Pérez O’Connor was in training as a Directorate of Intelligence (DI) asset when the Wasp Network (La Red Avispa) was brought down in September 1998. She and her children were deported and permanently banned re-entry visas. Her mission had been to courier messages and material between Havana and Miami.




Cuban Spies “Testify” in Show For Castro Supporters in London Reply

From March 7-8th, an “International Commission” was held in London as part of the “Free the Five” campaign. In a grossly bigoted piece of political theater, alleged expert witnesses, pro-Castro attorneys, and family members of the five spies provided “testimony” before an audience said to number roughly 250 persons. Only claims supporting the immediate release of the failed spies were permitted.

The absurd proceedings included Lawyers for the Cuban 5 parroting their long-running denial that their spy-clients had no connection to the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down. Even more hypocritical was the “testimony” of expelled spies Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, and Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernández. Completing this 3-ring circus was the appearance of senior Cuban Intelligence officer, Roberto Hernández Caballero.

I will give them credit — what regime supporters lack in credibility, they certainly make up for in chutzpah!

The highly entertaining Press Release from “Free the 5” can be read here: International Commission in London calls on Obama to free the Five

UN Human Rights Commissioner Meets Cuban Spy 4

"Former" DI officer Adriana Perez

“Former” DI officer Adriana Perez

Radio Cadena Agramonte has reported that UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri, met in Geneva with “former” Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Adriana Pérez. She is the wife of Gerardo Hernández, the Military Intelligence officer “loaned” to the DI to run the Wasp Network. It was under his supervision that the massive spy network conducted Operation Scorpion. This mission supported the Cuban Air Force’s murder of four search and rescue crewmen flying with Brothers to the Rescue.

During yesterday’s meeting, the “former” spy asked the UN to urge Washington to release Havana’s three remaining jailed spies. She also told the UN official that her husband and the others, physically and mentally, are not doing well in prison. Speaking for myself, that’s probably something they should have considered before they spied against the US and engaged in a conspiracy to commit murder.

Editor’s Note: Hernández’s wife, Adriana Pérez O’Connor, was still in training as a Directorate of Intelligence (DI) asset when the Wasp Network (La Red Avispa) was brought down in September 1998. She and her children were deported and permanently banned re-entry visas. Her mission had been to courier messages and material between Havana and Miami.

UK’s “Guardian” Publishes Shameless Propaganda Authored by Cuban Spy 1

Today marks 15 years since the ‘Cuban Five’ arrest, another US injustice

Four Cuban patriots languish in US prisons after a phoney trial. Every day they spend in jail is a mockery of human decency

By Rene Gonzalez [Convicted Spy — emphasis added]

In August 1962, I was an ordinary Cuban child who had just turned eight years old. I can still remember the commotion all over Havana after someone sailed a boat to within a mile of the city’s coastline and fired a cannon at a hotel. They then turned north and headed for safe haven in Miami.

That experience repeated itself for me and for my four comrades, who are still in US prisons, as I was until recently. The five of us grew up in Cuba, witnessing the kidnapping and assassination of Cuban fishermen, and the culprits would then return to their safe haven in Miami. A gunboat crew attacked and killed the crew of a Spanish freighter off the coast of Cuba and then returned to their safe haven in Miami. In 1976, two terrorists of Cuban origin, after having organized the bombing of a Cubana airliner which killed 73 people, found safe haven back in Miami. Twenty years later, one orchestrated a bombing campaign against Cuban hotels, which cost the life of an Italian citizen.

No wonder all of us agreed to go to Miami in order to infiltrate and monitor the activities of a section of Cuban-Americans who, for over 30 years, had brought death and suffering on the Cuban people through what should be called terrorist activities designed to bring down our government. No wonder, either, that upon landing in Miami, one of the first groups that I joined was headed by the very guy who had fired the canon on the Havana hotel, back when I was an eight-year-old child.

In May 1998, the Cuban government thought the time had come to engage the US government on the fight against terrorism. Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian author and Nobel Prize winner, was the personal liaison sent by Fidel Castro to the White House with the proposition. As a result of this contact, an FBI delegation went to Havana in June of that year. They were given a dossier on the terrorist groups still operating in Miami, and returned to the US after assuring the Cuban side that something would be done about the issue.

Good to their word, on 12 September 1998 something was done: armed officers burst into my home, threatened and cuffed me, traumatised my family, and took me to prison. The FBI raided the houses and arrested the people who had been monitoring the terrorist activities groups, protected by the US government and operating freely from Miami. No wonder the five of us were found guilty of all charges after a phoney trial in Miami. No wonder the prosecutors asked the judge to “incapacitate” the defendants so as to prevent them monitoring the activities of their terrorists in the future. No wonder, on 14 December 2001, the Judge obliged:

Whether terrorism is committed against innocents in the United States or Cuba, Israel or Jordan, Northern Ireland or India, it is evil and it is wrong, but the terrorist acts by others cannot excuse the wrongful and illegal conduct of this defendant or any other.

A further punishment by the US government was inflicted on my wife Olga, who along with Adriana Perez, the wife of Gerardo Hernando, were arbitrarily denied visas to visit us for more than 10 years.

And then, after I had served my 15 year sentence, I was was prevented from returning home, and confined to Florida on supervised release, where the cruel irony was lost on the judge who imposed a clause which would guarantee to the prosecution the incapacitation they had asked for:

As a further special condition of supervised release the defendant is prohibited from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals of groups such as terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence, and organized crime figures are known to be or frequent.

What makes some terrorists good guys and some others bad guys? Do the lives of Cuban citizens not deserve to be protected? Is there some international legal instrument which bestows upon the United States judiciary the privilege to serve as a protector of terrorism?

While these and many other questions beg for an answer, four Cuban patriots languish in American prisons for the crime of having sacrificed themselves to protect the lives of others.

Every day they spend in jail is a mockery of human decency.

Cuban Five Case is Priority for Cuba’s Foreign Policy 2

Havana, Cuba (Cuban News Agency – ACN) Cuba will intensify actions aimed at achieving justice in the case of the antiterrorist fighters held in US prisons since 1998. The Cuban Five issue is priority for the country’s Foreign Policy, said deputy foreign minister Ana Teresita Gonzalez.

Addressing deputies with the Parliament Commission on International Affairs at Havana’s Conventions Palace, Gonzalez said that some of the actions considered by the Foreign Ministry include an international colloquium in Havana beginning September 12, a day that will mark fifteen years of the imprisonment of Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González. The latter one is already free in Cuba. The initiatives will mainly aim at breaking the silence wall raised by the US mainstream media against the case and at informing public opinion in that country about the injustice committed against the Cuban Five.

The deputy foreign minister briefed lawmakers on legal actions filed with US courts, which include a Habeas Corpus and a Discovery Motion allowing the judge in charge to order the release of confidential documents in the hands of the US administration. Cuba is still waiting to hear a word from Washington in this process, which has been delayed despite the growing international support of the Cuban Five cause expressed through statements by personalities, such as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay.

Presidents of five countries joined the international claim over the past six months, said the deputy minister. The world claim has also been backed by Nobel laureates and important figures from the political and culture arenas.

Speaking with reporters, Adriana Perez, who is the wife of Gerardo Hernandez, called for actions on the social Internet networks and alternative media in order to break the silence of the mainstream media. Perez also stressed the need to reach out to international institutions and agencies backing the cause and to all those who have not yet joined in, in order to have Washington take a fair and humanitarian decision with respect to the Cuban Five case. President Barack Obama can give a definitive solution to the case and end the anguish of these patriots and their families after nearly 15 years of suffering, said Perez.

Breaking News: Spy-Wife Adriana Pérez to Visit Vancouver on Monday; Accompanied by Cuban Ambassador to Canada 1

(Courtesy: Halifax Media Co-op)

*la versión en español sigue la versión en Inglés*

A special evening organized by United Steelworkers featuring…

ADRIANA PÉREZ (Wife of Gerardo Hernández one of the Cuban 5 held in U .S. jails)


“Stanley Park Ballroom”
Westin Bayshore Hotel
1601 Bayshore Drive
Downtown Vancouver, Canada

Please join us in welcoming two honoured guests to Vancouver, Canada, Adriana Pérez and Mr. Julio Garmendía Peña. Adriana Pérez is the wife of Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban 5. Gerardo is currently serving two life sentences plus 15 years in a United States jail accused of “conspiracy to commit espionage” and “conspiracy to commit murder”. However, Gerardo‘s mission in the United States was only to protect his country, Cuba, against a vicious campaign of terrorism coming out of Miami since 1959 that has led to over 3,400 deaths in Cuba.

Adriana has been married to Gerardo since 1988, but he has spent the last 14 years of their marriage in a U.S. jail cell. In those 14 years, Adriana has repeatedly been denied entry to the United States and has not been able to visit her husband. Yet, with courage and determination, she and the families of the Cuban 5 have been speaking out to defend their innocent loved ones and demand their freedom.

On Monday April 15, we invite you to come and hear directly from Adriana about the case of the Cuban 5. We will also be honoured by the presences of Mr. Julio Garmendía Peña, Cuban Ambassador to Canada, who will share his perspectives on this important case for the Cuban government and people.

For more information on the case of the Cuban 5 please visit:

Event organized by:

Event sponsored by:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

La esposa de uno de los 5 Cubanos y el Embajador de Cuba en Canadá visitan Vancouver!

Una noche especial organizada por United Steelworkers con presentación de …


Esposa de Gerardo Hernández uno de los 5 Cubanos presos en cárceles de EE.UU.

Embajador de Cuba en Canadá

Lunes 15 de abril 2013
6:00 pm
“Stanley Park Ballroom”
Westin Bayshore Hotel
1601 Bayshore Drive
Centro de Vancouver, Canadá

Por favor, únase a nosotros en dar la bienvenida a dos invitados de honor a Vancouver, Canadá, Adriana Pérez y elSr. Julio Garmendia Peña. Adriana Pérez es la esposa de Gerardo Hernández, uno de los 5 Cubanos. Gerardo está cumpliendo dos cadenas perpetuas más 15 años en una cárcel de Estados Unidos acusado de “Conspiración para cometer espionaje” y “conspiración para cometer asesinato”. Sin embargo, la misión de Gerardo en los Estados Unidos era sólo para proteger a su país, Cuba, contra una feroz campaña de terrorismo cometida de Miami desde 1959, que ha llevado a más de 3.400 muertes en Cuba.

Adriana ha estado casada con Gerardo desde 1988, pero el ha pasado los últimos 14 años de su matrimonio enuna celda de una prisión en EE.UU. Durante esos 14 años, Adriana ha sidoreiteradamente negada la entrada a los Estados Unidos y no ha podido visitar a su marido. Sin embargo, con coraje y determinación, ella y los familiares de los 5 Cubanos han abogado para defender a sus seres queridos inocentes y para exigir su libertad.

El lunes 15 de abril, les invitamos a venir y escuchar directamente de Adriana sobre el caso de los 5 Cubanos. También tendremos el honor de tener la presencia del Sr. Julio Garmendía Peña, Embajador de Cuba en Canadá, quien compartirá su punto de vista sobre este importante caso para el gobierno y el pueblo cubano.

Para más información sobre el
caso de los 5 Cubanos visite:

Evento organizado por:

Evento patrocinado por:

Editor’s Note: Hernández’s wife, Adriana Pérez O’Connor, was still in training as a Directorate of Intelligence (DI) asset when the Wasp Network (La Red Avispa) was brought down in September 1998. She and her children were deported and permanently banned re-entry visas. Her mission had been to courier messages and material between Havana and Miami.

UN High Commissioner Backs Cuban Five Case Reply

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 28 (Cuban News Agency) The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, expressed her support of actions in favor of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the United States and said she would do her best to find a solution to the case. Pillay received the spouses of Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez for the third yearly occasion in Geneva.

Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, along Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Ramon Labanino, known as the Cuban Five, were given extremely long sentences by a Miami court in 2001 after they monitored Florida-based violent organizations that planned terrorist actions against Cuba. Rene Gonzalez, is currently under probation in US territory after having met a 13-year prison term. During the meeting with the High Commissioner, Olga Salanueva said the probation imposed on her husband is absurd since he is denied to return to his country with his family. The two women stressed the importance that the United Nations intercedes in favor of reaching definitive solution to the Cuban Five case.

They also asked for the UN official to help in getting a visa for them so that they can visit their husbands in the United States. The UN High Commissioner admitted that the visa denial by US authorities is a violation of human rights, which should have not been used as an extra punishment. Pillay expressed her support of the case and her intentions to do her best towards a solution, according to a release by the Cuban permanent mission in Geneva.