Today in History: Capture of Cuban “Mata Hari” Led to Spy-Diplomats’ Expulsion 1

October 9, 1970:  Two Diplomats from the Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN), Counselor Rogelio Rodriguez Lopez and First Secretary Orlando Prendes Gutierrez, left the US.  The spies had been given 48 hours to leave based on their role in running Jennifer Miles against several US government officials.  An administrative officer at the South African Embassy in Washington, Havana had tasked Miles to establish and maintain access to influential officials and provide detailed information on their personal attitudes, strengths and weaknesses, and unique characteristics.

Following a joint South African-FBI investigation, Miles had been detained for questioning on October 4th.   She quickly confessed and cooperated fully with the FBI. Based in part upon this cooperation, she was subsequently allowed to return to South Africa.

Rodriguez and Prendes were the only Cuban diplomats expelled during the 1970s.  Rodriguez began his CMUN tour in mid-1969, while Prendes arrived that September. According to a declassified CIA report, Prendes – the DGI Centro Chief – handled Cuban sources in the Casa de Las Americas, Puerto Rican extremists, a Cuban exile group, and the Dominican Popular Movement (MPD).