President Raul Castro honored on tuesday as “heroes” the five Cuban agents convicted of espionage in the United States, two of whom served their sentences and three were exchanged by contractor Alan Gross in December.
In a solemn ceremony at the Palace of Conventions in Havana, Castro granted Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Rene Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero, the orders of “Hero of the Republic of Cuba” and “Playa Girón.”
“The Five,” as they are known in Havana, were arrested in 1998 along with 14 people accused of integrating the “Wasp Network,” considered the largest group of Cuban spies detected in US operations.
The Cuban government recognizes the five as their agents, but always assured they watched out the anti-Castrista groups in Miami and did not spy the United States.
Rene and Fernando Gonzalez were released at the end of their sentence. Hernandez, Guerrero and Labañino, arrived in Cuba in December 2014, after the restoration of relations between the US and the island.