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A Cuban Victim of the Cold War is Free Today Thanks to President Obama

Photo: Doug Mills, AP


Earlier today, President Barack Obama announced that the United States is ending is isolation of Cuba. The embargo remains in place until Congress takes action, but the initiative has already born fruit.

The Director of National Intelligence has announced today “the release of a Cuban individual from a Cuban prison who provided critical assistance to the United States.”

Statement on the Release of a Cuban Individual
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
WASHINGTON, DC 20511

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December 17, 2014

Statement on the Release of a Cuban Individual

Today, the United States secured the release of a Cuban individual from a Cuban prison who provided critical assistance to the United States. Information provided by this person was instrumental in the identification and disruption of several Cuban intelligence operatives in the United States and ultimately led to a series of successful federal espionage prosecutions. This man, whose sacrifices were known only to a few, has spent nearly 20 years in a Cuban prison due to his efforts on behalf of the United States. While many details of this individual’s cooperation remain classified, with his release today we can now discuss some of his contributions to U.S. national security.

He provided the information that led to the identification and conviction of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) senior analyst Ana Belen Montes; former Department of State official Walter Kendall Myers and his spouse Gwendolyn Myers; and members of the Red Avispa network, or “Wasp Network,” in Florida, which included members of the so-called “Cuban Five.

In light of his sacrifice on behalf of the United States, securing his release from prison after 20 years – in a swap for three of the Cuban spies he helped put behind bars – is fitting closure to this Cold World chapter of U.S.-Cuban relations.”

Brian P. Hale, Director of Public Affairs

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but its effects, like those of the First World War, will be felt long afterwards. Just one small part of the Cold War was the hostility between the United States and Cuba.

This hostility, which has taken on a life of its own, can be dated to the 1959 revolution which, under the leadership of Fidel Castro, overthrew President Fulgencio Batista.

Few Americans alive then, will ever forget the Bay of Pigs fiasco which threw Castro into the arms of the Soviet Union, or the resultant Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which brought the U.S. and Soviet Union to the brink of World War III.

Since then, people on both sides have suffered needlessly, including families long divided by the gulf between the nations. A timeline of U.S-Cuban relations can be seen here.

Though there has seemed no reason for the two nations to remain at odds over the past 20+ years, old animosities die hard. Though a small step, this announcement is but one of many we will see in coming days, and it is a long overdue step, one refreshingly taken in the right direction.

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