Thursday, January 19, 2006

Alleged Cuba Agents Plead Not Guilty in Miami

Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:34 PM ET

MIAMI (Reuters) - Two Florida academics pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of working as covert Cuban agents who funneled information on government officials and Cuban exile groups to Havana for nearly three decades.

Carlos Alvarez, a 61-year-old psychology professor at Florida International University, and his wife, Elsa Alvarez, 55, a social worker at the school, entered the pleas before a U.S. magistrate in Miami, a court official said.

Both naturalized U.S. citizens from Cuba, the couple was indicted in December on charges of acting as foreign agents without notifying the U.S. government.

Prosecutors say they used their positions at the university to attempt to recruit potential spies for Cuba and informed Havana on public attitudes and key players in

Miami's exile community, the heart of opposition to Cuban President Fidel Castro and his communist government.

The indictment marked the latest prosecution of suspected Cuban spies.

The most prominent recent case was that of the "Cuban five," convicted in 2001 of infiltrating military bases and exile groups. An appeals court has agreed to review
the convictions.

Carlos and Elsa Alvarez were being held without bond.

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