The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 23, 1998; Page A09

U.S. Weighs Expulsion Of 3 Cuban Diplomats

                  U.N. Delegates Suspected of Spying

                  By John Goshko
                  Washington Post Staff Writer

                  UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 22—State Department officials were deciding
                  tonight whether to expel three Cuban diplomats attached to Cuba's
                  delegation to the United Nations for alleged espionage activities in the
                  United States, diplomatic sources said.

                  The sources said that the U.S. government notified the Cuban mission here
                  late Monday that the United States tentatively plans to order the three to
                  leave the country immediately. However, the sources said, the department
                  gave the Cuban mission 24 hours to offer a reason why the expulsion of
                  the diplomats, who were not identified, should be canceled.

                  That deadline passed this evening, and the sources said they did not know
                  what reply, if any, Cuba had made. The sources added that the matter was
                  being discussed at the State Department, with a decision on whether to
                  proceed with the expulsion expected either late tonight or, more likely, on

                  The circumstances of the alleged espionage were not known. However,
                  some sources said they believe there was a connection to arrests in Miami
                  on Sept. 14 of 10 persons accused of collecting information on military
                  installations and of attempting to infiltrate anti-Castro groups in southern

                  U.S. officials said at the time that the Miami arrests constituted the breakup
                  of the largest alleged spy ring of agents in this country working for Cuban
                  President Fidel Castro's communist government.

                  Cuba's U.N. diplomats work under the provisions of the world body's
                  headquarters agreement with the United States. The agreement permits
                  countries with which the United States does not maintain full diplomatic
                  relations to have diplomats living in New York for the purposes of U.N.
                  activities. But in the case of Cuba, severe restrictions are placed on its
                  diplomats' movements and their ability to go outside of New York City.