Cuban spy free from Florida jail but must stay in US
The first member of a Cuban spy ring to complete his U.S. prison sentence was greeted Friday by his daughters as news of his release bombarded the airwaves hundreds of miles away on the communist island.
One of the so-called “Cuban Five,” 55-year-old Rene Gonzalez served about 13 years on a conviction for participating in a scheme to infiltrate U.S. military bases and keep tabs on Cuban exiles for Fidel Castro’s government. Now Gonzalez must serve three years’ probation in the U.S., unless his attorney can persuade a federal judge to let him return to Cuba where he’s hailed as a hero.
His attorney, Phil Horowitz, told The Associated Press that he picked up Gonzalez at the prison around 5:30 a.m. EDT. Gonzalez was met after his release by his two daughters, 27-year-old Irma and 13-year-old Ivette; his brother, Roberto; and his father, Candido, Horowitz said.
Gonzalez’s wife, Olga Salanueva, 51, told Cuban state-run media her husband telephoned shortly after his release and seemed “euphoric.” She said the daughters took video of the event and, in a second phone call from a car, Gonzalez began singing a favorite song called “The Major” by Cuban entertainer Silvio Rodriguez.
“The girls brought him photos, books and discs with the songs he likes,” Salanueva was quoted as saying.
Horowitz said Gonzalez is declining interview requests and is concerned for his safety. For now, he wants to stay out of the spotlight.
“He’s been in prison for 13 years. I think it’s time to give him some peace,” said Horowitz, who wouldn’t reveal where Gonzalez was planning to serve his probation. “I do believe he needs some time to decompress..”