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Cuban Five Member Released from Prison, Headed Back to Cuba

Categories: La Habana

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And then there were three.

Fernando Gonzalez walked out of a U.S. federal prison in Arizona today after spending 15 years behind bars on charges that he was part of a Fidel Castro-backed Cuban spy ring. Though, he's not a free man quite yet. He was released to immigration officials and will be deported back to Cuba in the coming days.

Gonzalez is the second member of the so called Cuban Five to be released from prison. Rene Gonzalez was released from prison in 2011. He had stayed in America for a few years on probation but returned to Cuba for his father's funeral and was allowed to stay there on the condition he renounced his American citizenship.

Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino are all serving life sentences.

The five men were originally arrested in 1998 on numerous charges including espionage. A seven month trial in Miami ensued, but despite the length of the trial, it only took a jury mere hours to convict the men of the various 26 charges against them.

The Cuban government had acknowledged that the men were their agents, but insisted they were only spying on exile groups in Miami after terrorist attacks they believed were orchestrated by Luis Posada Carriles. Cuba claimed the men never spied on the US government.

Vilified in Miami's exile community, the men have been treated as heroes back on the communist nation.

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