Family man in prison finds the words to bring his wife and daughter to his new country.
by Stephen Kimber
[Editor's Note: One of the things we tend to forget about clandestine intelligence agents is that their world really is clandestine. They can't even tell their families or closest friends what they're doing. When René González "stole" a plane and "defected" to the US in 1990, Cuban authorities told his wife Olga he was a traitor. It took four years of pleading and cajoling — still without telling her the complete truth — before René was able to win her back.
In honour of René Gonzalez's final return to Cuba last month and of Mother's Day, here's a short excerpt from my upcoming book What Lies Across the Water, about the Cuban Five, five intelligence agents Cuba sent to Miami to infiltrate the anti-Castro groups trying to bring down the Cuban government.]
Miami, May 24, 1994
René González looked again at the words he’d just written. It had been three years, five months and 16 days since his “defection” — three years, five months and 16 days since he had last seen Olga and their daughter Irma. Despite the time that had passed, René could still feel the righteous sting from that first letter Olga had written him. It had arrived about a month after he’d landed in the United States.
He’d gone to Miami for a weekend visit. His grandmother telephoned from Sarasota. “You have a letter,” she said. “From Olga.” René had rushed back, excited, eager, torn open the letter and… found himself “torn apart.” “I wish you luck in your new future,” Olga had written, “but it will not be with me.”