3 Cuban Diplomats Ordered Out of U.S. For Spying
By TIM WEINER
ASHINGTON -- Three Cuban diplomats at the United Nations who are suspected
spying were ordered Wednesday to leave the country, American officials said.
The three men
were linked to espionage after an investigation by the FBI that led to
the arrest and
indictment of 10 suspected Cuban agents in Miami three months ago. The three men in New York
have diplomatic passports, which give them immunity from prosecution as spies.
The State Department
spokesman, James Rubin, said Wednesday that the three diplomats --
identified by other U.S. officials as Eduardo Martinez Borbonet, a first secretary; Roberto Azanza
Paez, a third secretary, and Gonzalo Fernandez Garay, an attache -- were being expelled "for
activities incompatible with their diplomatic status." The phrase is Cold War code for espionage.
The three have been ordered to leave the United States by Monday evening.
in Miami were charged with trying to infiltrate military bases and Cuban
organizations in the United States. They face life in prison if convicted.
Hundreds of spies
from Cuba's spy service, the Direccion General de Inteligencia, or DGI,
work in the United States, according to former members of the service who have defected. A sizable
fraction of the Cuban delegation at the United Nations has always been made up of intelligence
officers, according to U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials.
-- including the United States -- have used the United Nations as a base
intelligence work since it was founded more than 50 years ago, according to former officials of the
CIA. During the Cold War at least a third of the diplomats at the Soviet Mission to the United
Nations were suspected by the FBI of working for Soviet intelligence.
officers do not operate under cover only as diplomats. They have posed
drivers, real-estate brokers and weapons dealers in New Jersey and Florida. They have also posed
as members of the Cuban immigrant communities in Miami who actively oppose the Cuban leader,
Fidel Castro. Many of those groups have been infiltrated for years; the chief of operations of one of
the most militant anti-Castro organizations secretly reported to Havana for a decade.
Castro has openly
defended his right to conduct intelligence operations in the United States.
justifies them as a legitimate response to American attempts to overthrow or undermine him over
nearly four decades, and to the many groups of Cuban exiles who seek a swift end to his rule.