03/19/15 Cuban Special

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Gerardo Hernandez was a Cuban spy.  He was sentenced to two life sentences in U.S. prison.  He was convicted on 13 criminal charges including conspiracy to commit espionage.  And conspiracy to commit murder.

The murder charges stemmed from the shoot-down of two U.S. civil aircraft flying over international waters.  Three Americans and a Cuban were killed.

They were part of a group known as “Brothers to the Rescue.”

“Brothers to the Rescue” was formed in 1991 after the tragic death of a Cuban teenager who perished at sea while trying to flee the Castro regime.  Using small, twin engine aircraft, the group would periodically scour the 90 miles between Cuba and Florida. They would report the location of refugees in need of assistance.

In 1996, Hernandez tipped off the Cuban military of an upcoming aid mission.  Cuban Air Force jets shot down the planes over international waters.  Killing all four crewmen.

President Bill Clinton denounced the shoot-down.  But took no further action.

Hernandez was eventually caught, tried, convicted and sentenced.

A year ago, the Obama Administration responded to a request from the prisoner’s wife in Havana. U.S. authorities collected semen from Hernandez and flew it to Cuba.  So she could become pregnant.

[Two members of Congress sent a letter, expressing outrage at the Administration’s actions.]

Then in December, Gerardo Hernandez was released from prison as part of the Obama Administration’s normalization of relations with Cuba.

[A White House spokesman specifically stated American Alan Gross who was imprisoned in Cuba was released on humanitarian grounds.  He was not part of any prisoner swap.  However, the Cuban spies were part of a swap for U.S. intelligence asset, Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, held in Cuba since 1995.  The Obama Administration deal with Cuba did not include the return of more than 70 U.S. fugitives given safe refuge in Cuba.]

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