Florida Couple Sentenced as Cuban spies

MIAMI – A Cuban-American couple who worked at a Florida university were sentenced on Tuesday to prison terms for funneling information about Miami’s Cuban exiles to the Havana government.

Carlos Alvarez, a psychology professor at Florida International University in Miami, was sentenced to five years in prison.

He admitted that for nearly 30 years he had supplied the Cuban Intelligence Service with information about Miami’s exile community, the heart of opposition to Cuban President Fidel Castro and his communist government.

His wife, Elsa Alvarez, a counselor at the school, was sentenced to three years in prison for concealing her husband’s actions. Both are Cuban emigres and naturalized U.S. citizens who pleaded guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors said Carlos Alvarez used his university job to meet people that Havana wanted watched. His wife sometimes accompanied him when he traveled to meet with Cuban government agents, and knew he was using their home to relay encrypted messages to Havana, prosecutors said.

U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta said the couple betrayed the oath they took when they became U.S. citizens, which required them to renounce all allegiance to the government of their homeland. “Carlos and Elsa Alvarez paid only lip service to that oath, deciding to secretly serve the interests of a foreign master,” Acosta said.