[Marxism] Florida academics arrested for organizing tours to Cuba
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jan 10 07:06:43 MST 2006
Husband, Wife Indicted as Cuban Agents
A husband and wife who work at Florida International University were
indicted by a federal grand jury Monday on charges of being covert agents
Carlos and Elsa Alvarez are being held in jail, pending a bail hearing.
They have not entered a plea, but their lawyer told local reporters that
they were not guilty. Carlos Alvarez is an associate professor of
educational leadership and policy studies. Elsa Alvarez is a social worker
in the universitys counseling center.
A spokesman for Florida International said Monday night that they had been
placed on paid leave, pending further developments.
The indictment released by the Department of Justice states that the couple
reported to Cuban officials about actions of the anti-Castro movement in
the United States and recruited young people of Cuban descent to be spies
for the Castro government. The indictment and press release did not
indicate whether these recruitment activities involved the couples
university positions, but the Associated Press quoted federal prosecutors
as saying that Carlos Alvarez had organized exchange trips to Cuba with the
goal of indoctrinating students.
The charges are less severe than espionage. According to a press release
issued by the U.S. attorneys office in Miami, the charge of being a covert
agent carries with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000
Mark Riordan, director of media relations at Florida International, said
that Carlos Alvarez had worked at the university since 1974 and has tenure.
His wife has worked at the university since 1990. Riordan said that the
university had no indication until Monday of anything unusual about either
Alvarez. Leaders of Miamis influential anti-Castro movement have never
held back from criticizing people at the university and elsewhere who they
believe are sympathetic to the Cuban leader, but Riordan said that there
had never been such complaints about either Alvarez.
The university has retained Roberto Martinez, a former U.S. attorney, to
provide guidance on how to handle the case.
The indictments come a month after a federal jury cleared Sami Al-Arian, a
former professor at the University of South Florida, of some of the charges
he faced related to allegations that he had helped terrorist groups. The
jury deadlocked on other charges, and Al-Arian remains behind bars. South
Florida fired Al-Arian in 2003, shortly after he was indicted, and many
faculty leaders have argued ever since that the university denied him due
process in stripping him of a tenured position.
Riordan said that Florida International hoped to handle the situation in a
way that respected the relevant rights of all involved. Obviously as a
result of the Sami Al-Arian case, theres a sensitivity to these kinds of
issues in Florida, and all across the country, he said. In the end our
actions are going to be measured by the standards of: Did we act consistent
with the U.S. Constitution and due process while at the same time
protecting the interest of this government.
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