Cuba

Cuban singer Silvio Rodríguez calls for the release of U.S.-jailed spy

File photo for Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez
File photo for Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez AP

Renowned Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez has asked for the release of convicted spy, Ana Belen Montes — a senior analyst at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), who is serving a 25-year sentence on charges of spying for the Cuban government.

Rodríguez dedicated a Spanish song titled La Maza to Montes during a concert at La Coruña, Spain, on Friday, and then asked for her release on his blog Segunda Cita.

“The woman... is not Cuban but Puerto Rican,” Rodríguez wrote in his blog. “Her name is Ana Belen Montes and she was a senior officer of the US secret services. When she knew they were going to do something bad to Cuba, she passed the information to us. That is why she is serving decades in prison and, a few years ago, I published here her plea of ​​self-defense. Ana Belen Montes. Not a lot bad things happened to us because of her. Freedom for her.”

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, called Rodríguez a “liar” and “a regime stooge,” noting that

Montes “did everything in her power to hurt our nation when she served as a senior analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency.”

In a statement, Ros-Lehtinen added that “it is documented that Montes committed treason in order to further her own ideological agenda and did serious damage to our nation’s national security by sharing sensitive information with the Castro regime. I am grateful for the quick work of U.S. law enforcement personnel in arresting Montes immediately after September 11, 2001 in order to prevent her from further damaging our nation’s security.”

Montes, 59, was the highest-ranking Cuba analyst at the DIA when she was arrested in 2001 on charges of “conspiracy to commit espionage” for the Cuban government, a crime for which she pleaded guilty. Montes was accused of revealing the identities of undercover U.S. agents to Cuban authorities.

Following the December 2014 release of the remaining three of five members of the Wasp Network — identified in Cuba as the “five heroes” — calls to free Montes have multiplied in pro-government blogs, which has fueled speculation about her possible release.

According to Ros-Lehtinen, “communist singer Silvio Rodríguez’s wrong assertion behind Ana Belen Montes’ treason could be the beginning of a new campaign to free the spy.”

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