A Cuban combat pilot has finally been released after serving the longest ever jail term in the US for marijuana.
Antonio Bascaro, now 84 years old, has been released after serving 39 years of a 60-year sentence for his part in a marijuana smuggling scheme in the late 1970’s.
Part of the reason Mr Bascaro’s sentence was so lengthy was due to the fact that he refused to cooperate with prosecutors, leading to a conspiracy charge as well.
Mr Bascaro said: “I refused to cooperate because my moral values and ethics, as well as my military training, kept me from using someone else or from testifying against another person to solve my problems.”
He continued: “No one forced me to join the conspiracy. That is why I did not cooperate or try to use anyone else to save my neck.”
Mr Bascaro was an anti-communist rebel pilot who fought against the Castro regime, even receiving CIA training for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
But as a non-US citizen who was convicted of a major felony, he may face a new challenge: deportation.
His daughter, Myra Bascaro, is grateful for her father’s freedom, but is unnerved by the uncertainty of his future. She’s not sure where exactly her father can go, asking, “To Cuba, where he could get arrested again for having fought against Fidel Castro? To Guatemala where he met my mother but where he has nothing and nobody... the country that deported him to the United States almost 40 years ago?”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies