Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
We run various sites in defense of human rights and need support to pay for more powerful servers. Thank you.
Archives
Recent Comments

    Speculation rises over possible swap of Cuba spy for American fugitive

    Speculation rises over possible swap of Cuba spy for American fugitive

    Unconfirmed reports suggest the United States and Cuba are considering a
    high-profile prisoner swap: jailed Cuba spy Ana Belén Montes in exchange
    for longtime American fugitive Joanne Chesimard.
    NORA GÁMEZ TORRES
    ngameztorres@elnuevoherald.com

    An unprecented trip to Havana on Wednesday by American officials from
    various security agencies, including the FBI, has raised speculation
    that the United States and Cuba are considering a high-profile prisoner
    swap: jailed Cuba spy Ana Belén Montes in exchange for longtime American
    fugitive Joanne Chesimard.

    The speculation stems from a report last week by NBC News that Cuban
    diplomats had recently brought up Montes during talks about possible
    prisoner exchanges.

    Neither the U.S. or Cuba has confirmed that any such action is in the works.

    But the State Department did announce that a team of American officials
    —including representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigations
    (FBI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and
    Customs Enforcement (ICE) — would take part in a first-time gathering in
    Havana with Cuban counterparts to discuss joint efforts in the fight
    against terrorism.

    The alleged Montes-for-Chesimard swap has generated criticism.

    “Trading convicted spy Montes for fugitives from American justice will
    only reward the Castro regime for harboring criminals,” said Florida
    Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, one of the leading opponents to the
    thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations.

    Montes is serving a 25-year sentence after pleading guilty of spying for
    the Cuban government during the 16 years she worked as an analyst for
    the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The spy is accused of revealing
    the identities of four U.S. secret agents to Cuba.

    Ros-Lehtinen stressed that Montes had a fair trial despite having
    jeopardized U.S. national security.

    “The Obama administration must secure the return of criminals like
    Joanne Chesimard, a convicted cop killer, and others unconditionally,”
    Ros-Lehtinen said. “There are many unanswered questions surrounding this
    possible deal that should be fully investigated before any action is
    even contemplated.”

    The unconfirmed prisoner exchange report, while controversial, would not
    be unprecedented.

    President Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro surprised the world on Dec.
    17, 2014 with the announcement of a spy swap and the release of American
    contractor Alan Gross.

    In fact, the U.S. has publicly stated that it is interested in the
    return of several fugitives who have found refuge in Cuba, including
    Chesimard, who escaped from a prison in New Jersey in 1979 while serving
    a life sentence for the murder of a policeman.

    “The United States continues to seek the return from Cuba of fugitives
    from U.S. justice,” according to a State Department statement issued
    Wednesday. “The Department repeatedly raises fugitive cases with the
    Cuban government and will continue to do so at every appropriate
    opportunity.”

    For decades, Chesimard supporters have said the former activist and
    Black Panther Party member was unjustly convicted.

    A new round of calls for the release of Montes have recently taken place
    in Cuba. Popular Cuban singer Silvio Rodríguez even dedicated a song to
    Montes and called for her release during a concert in Spain.

    Source: Speculation rises over possible swap of Cuba spy for American
    fugitive | In Cuba Today –
    www.incubatoday.com/news/article82590427.html