Life sentence reduced for Cuban spy

Today, as per schedule, a U.S. Federal Judge decreased the sentence of a convicted Cuban spy from life to just under 22 years. 50-year-old Antonio Guerrero is one of the Cuban Five, a group of Cuban spies convicted in 2001 of spying on the U.S. and the ex-Cuban community in Miami.

The five men, each originally receiving sentences ranging from 15 years to life, were convicted of 26 counts of espionage. Later, an appeals court ruled that the sentences for three of the five men were too harsh, given that no U.S. secrets were actually discovered and shared with Cuba. So even though the men allegedly intended to uncover confidential military information and pass it on to Cuba, their failure to do so seems to have acted in their favor.

Antonio Guerrero managed to sneak his way into the Boca Chica Naval Air Station in Key West, Florida but never got his hands on any classified information. The resulting reduced sentence means he has 11 more years to serve in prison. His attorney, Leonard Weinglass, reckons he’ll be out in seven, given that he can expect additional reductions for good behavior.

Prior to today’s sentencing, a 20-year-sentence deal was made between Guerrero and prosecutors, but Judge Joan Lenard issued a sentence of 21 years and 10 months, stating after the hearing that “Mr. Guerrero made no statement of contrition,” even though he was convicted of “very serious offenses.”

The re-sentencing of the other two men has been postponed.

The matter of the Cuban Five remains a contentious one in U.S.-Cuban relations. In Cuba, the five are venerated as heroes, and their full release is often called for.

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