Raul Castro welcomes home Cuban agents
3 agents imprisoned after involvement in Brothers to the Rescue shooting
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Cuban television Wednesday showed images of President Raul Castro welcoming home agents who were part of a historic prisoner exchange with the United States.
Video showed Castro greeting Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero after they landed in Havana.
The three agents were returned to Cuba after spending 16 years in a U.S. prison after being found guilty of various spying efforts. Hernandez was also found to be connected to the shootdown of a Brothers to the Rescue plane that killed four people in 1996.
Hernandez, Labañino and Guerrero were part of a group known as the "Cuban Five" who were instructed to infiltrate Cuban-American groups in South Florida as well as military instillations in the United States. All five members of the group were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and conspiracy to commit murder.
The three were returned to Cuba as part of a prisoner exchange included in the announced change in U.S.-Cuba foreign relations. Long imprisoned American citizen Alan Gross was released and returned back to the United States as a show of goodwill from Cuba, although U.S. officials were quick to correct any mention of Gross being part of the prisoner exchange.
Two members of the "Cuban Five" were released from prison and returned to Cuba in 2011 and early 2014.
Cuban authorities admitted that the group was in the United States as agents of Cuba, but that they were there to target exiles living in the county and not the U.S. government.
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