Castro questions timing of Cuban spy arrests

Fidel Castro called the case of two Americans accused of spying for Cuba "strange" yesterday and questioned whether the timing of their arrests was politically motivated.



In an essay read by a newscaster on state television, the former Cuban leader noted that the retired Washington couple were taken into custody just 24 hours after the Organization of American States voted to lift a decades-old suspension of Cuba's membership in that group.

Though the US ultimately supported the OAS vote Wednesday, the administration of President Barack Obama initially wanted to see more democratic reforms on the communist island before Cuba was readmitted.

Castro called the OAS vote "a defeat for United States diplomacy."

Walter Kendall Myers and his wife, Gwendolyn, were arrested Thursday in Washington after a three-year investigation that began before Myers' retirement from the State Department in 2007.

The US government says they had been spying for Havana for 30 years, recruited by Cuba after a 1978 trip there. Myers received his orders by Morse code, and he and his wife usually hand-delivered intelligence, sometimes by exchanging carts in a grocery store, according to court documents.

"Doesn't the story of Cuban spying seem really ridiculous to everyone?" Castro asked, without commenting on its validity.

Myers had been under suspicion since 1995 and FBI investigation since 2006.

If the couple had been watched that long, "why were they not arrested before?" Castro asked.

Court documents say the two were such valued spies, they once had a four-hour meeting with Castro, whom Myers described as one of the great modern political leaders.

Castro said he doesn't recall meeting them when he was still president.

"I met during this time with thousands of Americans for various reasons, individually or in groups, on occasion with gatherings of several hundred of them," said the 82-year-old, who ceded power to his brother Raul when he fell ill nearly three years ago and has not been seen in public since.

"Perhaps influencing the case was not only the tremendous reverse suffered (by the U.S.), but also the news that contacts are being made between the governments of the United States and Cuba on issues of common interest," he added.

Cuba agreed to resume talks with the Obama administration on legal immigration of Cubans to the United States and direct mail services after an overture from the U.S. last month.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

2nd Line server support - Microsoft certified

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...

Year 4 Teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Teacher required...

Year 1 Teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required...

Year 5/6Teacher needed - Roath, Cardiff

£100 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?