This Date in History: Spies Expelled for Targeting Cuban-Americans
July 15, 1987: The US ordered two Interests Section diplomats to leave the county within 10 days. The officials, Bienvenido Abierno and Virgilio Lora, were the Acting Chief of the Interests Section and Third Secretary, respectively. At the time, the two were not publicly identified as Intelligence Officers. Instead, their expulsion was portrayed as retaliation for Cuban harassment of US diplomats in Havana. However, that September, Cuban defector Florentino Azpillaga Lombard identified Lora as a spy during a Radio Marti broadcast. Congressional Representative Dante Fascell queried the State Department regarding Azpillaga’s claims, after which the State Department acknowledged that both diplomats were spies, expelled for their recruitment efforts against Cuban-Americans. At the time of the expulsion, 17 Cuban officials worked at their Interests Section.