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.
Recent Comments

    U.S. rules out swap of jailed Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes

    U.S. rules out swap of jailed Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes

    The Obama administration “has no intention” of releasing or swapping
    jailed Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, according to a letter sent by the
    U.S. Department of State to the House Permanent Select Committee on

    The Aug. 19 letter, obtained by el Nuevo Herald, followed a number of
    news reports pointing to the possibility of freeing Montes — a top
    Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst on Cuban affairs who is
    serving a 25-year prison sentence — in exchange for Cuba handing over
    American fugitive Assata Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard.

    The letter, addressed to committee chairman U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes,
    R-Calif., says the State Department “want(s) to assure you that the
    United States government has no intention of releasing or exchanging

    Nunes had written to Obama on July 12 urging the president not to
    release or swap Montes, calling her “one of the most brazen traitors in
    U.S. history.” The State Department wrote that it was “responding on the
    president’s behalf.”

    Montes, one of the top foreign spies captured in recent years, authored
    some of the key U.S. intelligence assessments on Cuba. She was arrested
    in 2001 and was sentenced in 2002 after she pleaded guilty to spying for
    Cuba throughout her 16 years at the DIA.

    “Montes was — and remains — unrepentant. She betrayed the public trust,
    the security of the United States and her oath to support and defend the
    constitution while remaining loyal to the Castro brothers in Havana,”
    Nunes wrote. “Ana Belen Montes richly deserved her 25-year prison
    sentence, and must serve every day of it.”

    Montes, who is of Puerto Rican descent, declared in a 2015 interview
    with the blog Cayo Hueso, which supports the Cuban government, that she
    has not changed. “I will not be silenced. My commitment to the island
    cannot be ignored,” she was quoted as saying.

    Nunes’ letter noted that because of her senior post at DIA, Montes has
    compromised every single U.S. intelligence collection program that
    targeted Cuba, revealed the identity of four covert U.S. intelligence
    agents who traveled to Cuba and provided Havana with information that
    could have wound up in the hands of other U.S. enemies.

    “In short, Montes was one of the most damaging spies in the annals of
    American intelligence,” the committee chairman wrote.

    The State Department replied that it “shared” Nunes’ concerns “regarding
    national security and the importance of safeguarding classified
    information. The department is dedicated to taking all possible steps to
    protect against and to prevent the unauthorized release of classified

    Nunes’ letter to Obama followed a round of news reports about a possible
    swap of Montes for Shakur, a member of the former Black Panther Party
    and Black Liberation Army who is wanted in the shooting death of a New
    Jersey state trooper. She lives in Cuba as a political refugee.

    During a meeting in June with U.S. officials, their Cuban counterparts
    mentioned their desire to see Montes released as part of a prisoner
    swap, according to the published reports. Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez
    also urged Montes be released during an April concert in Spain.

    Committee member U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican, said
    she does not trust Obama’s intentions or the State Department promise.

    The Obama administration also promised Congress it would not swap five
    other convicted Cuban spies from the so-called Wasp Network, promises
    “that we now know to have been false,” she said. The last three spies
    still in U.S. prisons were freed on Dec. 17, 2014, the day Obama
    announced a thaw in U.S. relations with Havana.

    Ros-Lehtinen also noted that Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress
    in 2013 that the Obama administration would not swap spies for Alan
    Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor jailed in Havana. He was freed on
    Dec. 17, 2014.

    “When it comes to U.S. foreign policy with Cuba, the Obama
    administration cannot be trusted.”

    Source: U.S. rules out swap of Ana Belen Montes for Joanne Chesimard |
    In Cuba Today –