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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable