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Saturday, 10 March, 2001, 06:02 GMT
US court exposes Cuban 'honey trap'
Anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami
The alleged spy joined Miami's Cuban exile community
A court in the United States has ordered the Cuban Government to pay $7m in damages to a Miami woman who said she unknowingly married a Cuban intelligence agent.

The court held that the woman, Ana Margarita Martinez, had been used as an unwilling pawn by her ex-husband, Juan Pablo Roque, and that as a consequence, their sexual relations constituted rape.

I feel ... it has been confirmed that what the Cuban Government did and what Juan Pablo Roque did was a crime

Ana Margarita Martinez

The couple met at a church in 1995, shortly after Mr Roque arrived in Miami from Cuba claiming political asylum. He had swum to the US Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and said he was a disillusioned air force major.

Mrs Martinez's lawyers argued that he used the marriage as a cover to pursue his spying activities for the Cuban Government.

Return to Cuba

Several months after their wedding, he abruptly returned to Havana and appeared on national television, denouncing what he said were the "terrorist activities" of Cuban exiles in south Florida.

Guantanamo Bay
Guantanamo Bay: The US base was established by treaty in 1903

The Cuban Government did not send representatives to the trial, nor has it confirmed that Mr Roque was a spy.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Alan Postman accepted Mrs Martinez's argument that Mr Roque's sexual relations with her were part of the deception, and that every time they had sex it therefore constituted rape.

He ordered the Cuban Government to pay her $175,000 a year for 41 years in compensation for pain and suffering.

Mrs Martinez said the betrayal had caused her severe emotional and physical trauma.

"I feel much better," Reuters news agency quoted her as saying after the award was announced. "I feel that in a court of law it has been confirmed that what the Cuban Government did and what Juan Pablo Roque did was a crime."

Mrs Martinez's lawyers said they would try to collect the money from Cuban Government assets frozen by the US authorities.

Spy ring

Mr Roque was among 14 people accused in a US indictment of operating a Cuban spy ring that sought to destabilise Miami's Cuban exile community.

Five defendants are currently on trial in Miami on the charges. They were arrested in 1998 in Florida, and are alleged to have belonged to the biggest ever Cuban spy ring in the United States.

In February, the US Government authorised the transfer of $90m in frozen Cuban assets to compensate the families of three volunteer pilots from the Cuban exile community.

The slain pilots were members of Brothers to the Rescue, a group that searches for Cuban refugees at sea.

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