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Cuban 5

The Cuban Five, also known as the Miami Five (Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González), are five Cuban intelligence officers who were arrested in September 1998 and later convicted in Miami of conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, acting as an agent of a foreign government, and other illegal activities in the United States. The Five were in the United States to observe and infiltrate the Cuban-American groups Alpha 66, the F4 Commandos, the Cuban American National Foundation, and Brothers to the Rescue. They were part of La Red Avispa (the Wasp Network).

In 2001 the Cuban government acknowledged—after denying the fact for nearly 3 years—that the 5 men were intelligence agents. It said they were spying on Miami's Cuban exile community, not the US government. Cuba contends that the men were sent to South Florida in the wake of several terrorist bombings in Havana organized by anti-communist terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative.
The Five appealed their convictions, and concerns about the fairness of their trial have received international attention. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta overturned their convictions in 2005, citing the "prejudices" of Miami’s anti-Castro Cubans, but the full court later reversed the five's bid for a new trial and reinstated the original convictions. In June 2009 the United States Supreme Court declined to review the case. In Cuba, the Five are viewed by the government as national heroes and portrayed as having sacrificed their liberty in the defense of their country.

René González was released on October 7, 2011 following the completion of 13 years of his sentence with a further three years of probation in the US. He was allowed to return to Cuba for his father's funeral on 22 April 2013, and a federal judge allowed him to stay there provided that he renounce his United States citizenship. Fernando González was released on February 27, 2014. 
The remaining members were released on December 17, 2014, in a prisoner swap with Cuba for an American intelligence officer (identified by a senior American as Rolando Sarraff Trujillo); the release also coincided with the release by Cuba of American contractor Alan Phillip Gross, although the governments characterized the release of Gross as being unrelated to the release of the Cuban Five members. The release was sanctioned by President Obama and was viewed by some observers as a first step in the easing of political relations between the United States and Cuba, known as the Cuban Thaw.

The "Cuban Five" were Cuban intelligence officers who were part of "La Red Avispa", or Wasp Network, which the FBI dismantled with 10 arrests in 1998. According to Gerardo Hernández, the leader of the cell, and as reported by Saul Landau in the political magazine CounterPunch, the network observed and infiltrated a number of Cuban-American groups: Alpha 66, the F4 Commandos, the Cuban American National Foundation, and Brothers to the Rescue.

The court found that they had infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami-based organization that flew small aircraft over the Florida straits in efforts to rescue rafters fleeing Cuba, and had on some flights intentionally violated Cuban airspace and dropped leaflets. On February 24, 1996, two Brothers to the Rescue aircraft were shot down by Cuban military jets in international airspace while flying away from Cuban airspace, killing four U.S. citizens aboard.
The U.S. government also accused the remaining four of lying about their identities and sending 2,000 pages of unclassified information obtained from U.S. military bases to Cuba. The network received clandestine communications from Cuba via the Atención numbers station.

U.S. government organizations, including the FBI, had been monitoring Cuban spy activities for over 30 years, but made only occasional arrests. However, after the two Brothers to the Rescue aircraft were shot down by Cuban MiGs in February 1996 and four U.S. citizens were killed, on the basis of information sent to Cuba by an infiltrator of the group, the Clinton administration launched a crackdown. According to U.S. attorney José Pertierra, who acts for the Venezuelan government in its attempts to extradite Luis Posada Carriles, the crackdown was aided by the cooperation of the Cuban authorities with the FBI in 1997. 

The Cubans provided 175 pages of documents to FBI agents investigating Posada Carriles's role in the 1997 bombings in Havana, but the FBI failed to use the evidence to follow up on Posada. Instead, they used it to uncover the spy network that included the Cuban Five. According to FBI evidence at the trial, the FBI had been monitoring the communications of Hernández, whose information enabled the shootdown, for several years prior to that event. He was not arrested until 1998.
 
 
 
 
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