Cuban-Americans are seething after it was reported Monday that the Obama administration authorized an operation in which sperm from an imprisoned Cuban spy was transported to Panama for the purpose of impregnating his wife, another Cuban who many suspect of also being a spy.
The story is raising questions about whether the Obama administration went too far to accommodate the needs of a spy who was facing two life sentences in prison in the United States.
Gerardo Hernandez (far left) returned home to Cuba to see his wife, who was already eight-months pregnant with his child thanks to an operation that allowed Hernandez to export his sperm while still in U.S. prison.
Image: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
The New York Times reported that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) visited Cuba last year, and wanted to find a way for Adriana Perez to bear her imprisoned husband's child. Her husband is Gerardo Hernandez, one of the three convicted Cuban spies who Obama released last week.
After being told conjugal visits were against the law, a staffer for Leahy arranged to transport Hernandez's sperm. When Hernandez returned to Cuba last week, his wife was nearly due, which raised questions about how she could be that pregnant with his child just days after his release.
Leahy himself confirmed the events by congratulating the author for being "on top of that story."
But not everyone is seeing the story as a romantic story of two spies facing impossible odds. A Cuban-American lawmaker told TheBlaze Monday and she and her constituents are shocked that the Obama administration allowed this transaction to take place.
"The Cuban-American exile community is aghast at the special privileges this asset was able to get in spite of him having blood on his hands, and that this administration actually gave one whit about whether his wife would ever bear his baby," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). "It's unbelievable where their priorities are."
Ros-Lehtinen said the decision is being justified as one that was needed in order to win special treatment for Alan Gross, who was released by Cuba as part of the deal that freed the three Cuban spies. She also said there's little evidence the Cubans treated Gross so kindly — Gross returned to the U.S. with clear weight loss and missing teeth, while the three Cuban spies appeared to be "very healthy," she said.
She said even before Gross was taken prisoner, the executive branch often gave special treatment to some of the spies, which she said included guided tours around Washington DC.
"These five have always been given special privileges," she added. "Before Alan Gross, it was to help the U.S. Interest Section."
Ros-Lehtinen said supporters of tough sanctions against Cuba in the House and Senate would be looking into whether the administration's actions were legal or appropriate, and whether Congress should react in any way with legislation.