USA Today
December 23, 1998

U.S. orders expulsion of Cubans

                 WASHINGTON - The State Department ordered Wednesday the expulsion
                 of three Cuban diplomats at the United Nations for spying activities.

                 It said two other Cubans who were alleged to have engaged in similar
                 activities left the country on their own several weeks ago.

                 State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said the Cuban mission was
                 informed that the three were being expelled ''for activities incompatible with
                 their diplomatic status'' - diplomatic code words for spying.

                 The three were said to have been linked to a case involving 10 people - all
                 alleged to be Cuban agents - who were arrested in Miami in September.

                 The names of the three Cubans were withheld. Two were said to be
                 low-ranking diplomats and the third was described as mid-to-senior level.
                 U.N. spokesman Manuel de Almeida E Silva said the three must leave by 5
                 p.m. on Dec. 28.

                 ''This action was taken as a result of evidence developed during an exhaustive
                 investigation by the FBI,'' Rubin said.

                 He added that the United States cannot accept violations of U.S. law and
                 ''endangerment of our national security interests.''

                 The Cuban delegation to the U.N. was informed Monday night that the
                 United States tentatively planned to order the three to leave the country, said
                 an official, asking not to be identified.

                 The department gave the Cuban mission 24 hours to argue against expelling
                 the three but it received no response before the deadline, the official said.

                 Jose Borges, spokesman at the Cuban U.N. mission, declined comment.

                 The expulsion was the first by the United States of a Cuban diplomat since
                 Jose Luis Ponce, who was based on Washington, was ordered home in

                 Officials said about 10 Cuban diplomats have been expelled by the United
                 States since the early 1980's.

                 By The Associated Press