A Sun-Sentinel, Thursday, February 29, 1996
Before he left for Havana, Juan Pablo Roque
demanded $1,500 in back pay from the FBI, Special
Agent Paul Philip said. The check will not be
mailed to Roque in Havana, Philip said.
and DONNA PAZDERA
In another intriguing subplot to the downing of two Cuban exiles' planes, U.S. authorities confirmed on Wednesday that a Cuban defector had been a double agent who was paid by the FBI to spy on Cuban-Americans.
Juan Pablo Roque, a pilot who returned to Cuba one day before two Cuban air force MiGs shot down the exiles' planes on Saturday, received $6,720.42 for information on the activities of CubanAmericans, the FBI said.
"He reported on groups of individuals who sought to violate U.S. law," said Paul Philip, special agent in charge of the Miami office.
Cuba has been showcasing Roque on television in Havana, touting him as its spy. But the FBI said the former Cuban air force pilot was a snitch.
Before he left for Havana., Roque demanded $1,500 in back pay from the FBI, Philip said. The check will not be mailed to Cuba, he said.
Roque provided the FBI with information about drug dealers and paramilitary groups. He also informed on members of Brothers to the Rescue, the organization that lost the two planes on Saturday in waters near Havana. Four people are missing and presumed dead.
Since being employed by the FBI in 1993, Roque provided only one tip that resulted in an arrest, Philip said. The FBI did not suspect Roque was a Cuban spy and is not concerned that he might have FBI secrets or property.
"He was not an intelligence asset," Philip said. "He was an informant."
On Wednesday, Roque said on Cuban television that the FBI Ge-wthe planes were going to be attacked by MiGs. Philip vehemently denied that, "I wish to make it clear," Philip said. "The FBI is calling Mr. Roque what he truly is: a liar."
In other U.S.-Cuba developments on Wednesday:
The White House and Congress reached an agreement on legislation that will impose stricter economic sanctions on the Cuban government.
Family members and friends of the downed fliers flew to Washington to testify today before the House Committee on International Relations.
A group called Cuban Youth called for motorists to drive to Miami International Airport on Friday and clog the roadways.
Cuban exiles prepared for a flotilla on Saturday in the Florida Straits and a memorial service that afternoon in the Orange Bowl, expected to draw 50,000 people.
Organizers said they planned a flotilla from Key West to the area where the planes were shot down, about 15 miles north of Havana harbor. Six to eight boats, all long-, er than 38 feet, are expected to take part.
"We are keeping this very limit said Julio Cabarga, a spokesman for Cuban Municipals in Exile.
Cuban authorities warned of dire consequences if the flotilla entered Cuban waters and said the. United States would be responsible for any trouble that occurred. The Clinton administration reportedly was considering closing off airspace so exile planes cannot join the demonstration at sea. Some exiles said the seagoing demonstration could cause more trouble.
"I am concerned that they might bring about a response from the Cuban government," said Andres Gomez, leader of the leftist Antonio Maceo Brigade, which favors an easing of the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
At the Orange Bowl, a memorial service for the four downed fliers will begin at 5 p.m., featuring four priests, a rabbi, a Baptist minister and a choir. Armando Alejandre, 79, father of one of the missing men, will deliver the eulogy.