After a decade long global propaganda campaign dubbed “Free the Five”, Cuban spy René González was given three years of parole in 2011. He was allowed to return to Cuba for his father’s funeral on April 22, 2013, with the understanding that he would return to Florida to fulfill his three years of probation. On May 3 a federal judge ruled that he could remain in Cuba provided that he renounce his United States citizenship.
In May 2012, the U.S. refused an exchange of prisoners proposed by the Cuban government. That exchange would have seen the Cuban Five returned to Cuba in exchange for USAID contractor Alan Gross.
Gross was imprisoned in Cuba for providing equipment that would allow Cuban Jews to have internet access – a violation of Cuban law. The reason American officials turned down the exchange was because the U.S. did not consider Gross the equivalent to the Cuban Five – one of whom had been convicted of double murder.
Once Cuban spy Fernando González was released on February 27, 2014 – he returned to Cuba and campaigned for the release of the remaining three Cuban agents still held in U.S. jails.
In the meantime the Obama and Castro governments continued secret negotiations working toward an exchange of prisoners. Those negotiations included U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, who met with Adriana Pérez O’Connor, whose husband Gerardo Hernández was in prison serving life for the shootdown and murder of Brothers flight crews.
Pérez O’Connor suggested Leahy arrange a way for her to become pregnant by her husband. Leahy made her case to U.S. officials, who then arranged for Gerardo Hernández to provide his sperm for artificial insemination.
The prisoner exchange finally took place in December 2014. In exchange for the three remaining Cuban spies – including Gerardo Hernandez – Cuba released Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, a Cuban who had worked as an agent for American intelligence until his arrest in November 1995. He was returned to the United States.
Sarraff, a key figure in Cuban intelligence, was a cryptologist who provided the Central Intelligence Agency with information that helped the CIA arrest Cuban spies long after his arrest and imprisonment.
The exchange of the Cuban spies also coincided with Cuba’s release of American contractor Alan Gross – although both governments characterized the release of Gross as unrelated to the spy exchange.
President Obama took the liberty to parade Gross before the nation during a subsequent State of the Union address.
Today, the Cuban government continues spying on the United States as they attempt to secretly negotiate the release of Ana Belen Montes, Cuba’s “Queen of Spies”, a DIA analyst and double agent who was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage for the government of Cuba. It is now believed she’d already been a double agent working for the Cubans when she was hired by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1985.
Montes pleaded guilty to spying and in October 2002 and was sentenced to a 25-year prison term followed by five years’ probation. As of July 2016, Montes was incarcerated at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. FMC Carswell is listed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a facility located in the northeast corner of the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth that specializes in medical and mental health services for female offenders.
Her tentative release date is listed as July 1, 2023.