Thursday, October 22, 2015

Loose ends

U.S. authorities in December freed three spies*, paving the way for a new relationship between the United States and Cuba.
The Obama administration pardoned Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino and they returned to Cuba, where they were welcomed as heroes.
A man who played a key role in the spy ring has yet to be pardoned. He is Juan Pablo Roque, a Cuban agent who hastily returned to the island before the FBI swept in and arrested the other spies.
Juan Pablo Roque
Roque remains a fugitive, unable to travel back to the U.S. for fear of being arrested.
Court records show that Roque, also known as German, has two pending charges:

  • Conspiracy to defraud the United States, and
  • Impersonating agents of foreign governments.

The charges were filed on Sept. 23, 1998. Most of the records in his case file are sealed (see docket).
I wonder what, if anything, will become of the charges against Roque? Should they be thrown out now that the other spies have been freed? Or should Roque remain in limbo?

After this post was published, a reader sent me this email:

You wrote: "U.S. authorities in December freed three spies."
From a legal standpoint this is not accurate. The Cuban 5 did not spy on the US government, rather they spied on private citizens involved in illegal activities. Moreover, the information they gathered was then supplied to the US government.
Here is a definition of what constitutes espionage in the US. Espionage in the US, as defined by law, involves:
Espionage, commonly known as spying, is the practice of secretly gathering information about a foreign government or a competing industry, with the purpose of placing one's own government or corporation at some strategic or financial advantage. Federal law prohibits espionage when it jeopardizes the national defense or benefits a foreign nation (18 U.S.C.A. § 793). Criminal espionage involves betraying U.S. government secrets to other nations.
The whole document can be found here.

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