Embargo? What embargo???
Many people like to complain about the US embargo against Cuba, but in reality the so-called embargo has so many holes in it you would be hard pressed to find anything getting stuck in it. Plenty of food and medicine makes its way to Cuba from the US, and here in Miami, it doesn't take more than a couple of phone calls to find someone, who knows someone, who knows of someone who just got back from a trip to Cuba and brought a few boxes of Cuban cigars and some bottles of Havana Club to sell.
But there is one export from Cuba--its most prized and valuable commodity--that most likely the US is its number one recipient. It is not cigars, but something even more profitable for the regime: Espionage.
Courtesy of Reuters, here is a list of some of the best exports the Cuban regime has to offer:
Following are some Cuban spying cases brought in the United States in recent years.
- Carlos Alvarez, a psychology professor at Florida International University, and his wife Elsa Alvarez, a social worker at the school, were charged in January 2006 with serving as agents and feeding information on U.S. officials and anti-Castro exile groups to Havana for 30 years. They tearfully apologized in court and were convicted of lesser charges.
- Ana Belen Montes, a senior intelligence analyst with the U.S. Defense Department, was charged in October 2001 with giving classified defense information to Havana. Authorities said she used encrypted codes to liaise with Cuban intelligence agents via radio. She admitted to spying for Cuba for 17 years, was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison in October 2002.
- Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labanino, who became known as the Cuban Five and are considered heroes in Cuba, were convicted in June 2001 of running a spy ring called the "Wasp Network" that infiltrated U.S. military bases and Cuban exile groups and fed information to Havana.
- George and Marisol Gari, husband and wife, were indicted in August 2001 on charges of spying for the Cuban government as part of the "Wasp Network." They gathered information on the Cuban American National Foundation exile group and acted as handlers for a spy code-named Gabriel who tried to penetrate the headquarters of the U.S. military's Southern Command. They pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
- Mariano Faget, a Cuban-born former high-ranking U.S. immigration agent, was sentenced in June 2001 to five years in prison for disclosing official secrets to Cuba.
- Juan Pablo Roque, an alleged Cuba spy, married a woman in Miami allegedly to establish his cover and joined Brothers to the Rescue, a prominent exile organization. He was accused of operating a spy ring that attempted to destabilize Miami's anti-Castro exile community. He vanished from Miami the day before Cuban military jets shot down Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996. He later turned up in Havana.
I seriously doubt any other country in the world can boast of being the number one recipient of Cuba's most precious export.
So much for the embargo.