US expels 2 Cuban diplomats
UNITED NATIONS (UPI) -- The United States yesterday ordered two Cuban diplomats at the United Nations expelled within 48 hours for espionage and banned them from the country for life.
"I expect these two cats to go in the next 48 hours," said Joel Blocker, press counsellor to the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
He declined to detail the alleged espionage activities of the two men.
The two diplomats -- Rolando Salup Canto, a third secretary, and Joaquin Penton Cejas, an attache -- were the fourth and fifth Cuban envoys at the United Nations to be expelled in less than 10 months.
Cuban Ambassador Raul Roa Kouri defended his two staff members in a note to the U.S. Mission, in which he said he "firmly rejects" the expulsion order.
A diplomatic source close to the Cuban mission said Roa Kouri would contest the expulsions until evidence of spying was produced by U.S. authorities.
In serving the original notice Monday, the U.S. mission gave Roa Kouri 24 hours to prove the charges wrong and yesterday sent the final expulsion order requesting "arrangements be made for their expeditious departure from the United States.
"Further, the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations is hereby informed that Messrs. Salup and Penton will not be allowed to re-enter the United Stated." The notice said.