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The BBC's Lee Carter reports
"The Canadian authorities expect the Cuban diplomat to leave the country soon"
 real 28k

The BBC's Tom Gibb reports
"Cuba says their former vice-consul is a victim of a plot between the FBI and Cuban exiles"
 real 28k

Monday, 28 February, 2000, 03:21 GMT
Cuban fury at diplomat expulsion
Demo outside Imperatori's home
Cubans demonstrate outside Imperatori's home in Havana
The Cuban Government has reacted angrily to the expulsion by Washington of one of its diplomats for spying.

The diplomat, Jose Imperatori, was deported to Canada on Saturday by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.


Cuba feels bitterness and indignation at this crude manoeuvre by Washington

The Cuban Government
Havana accused the United States of throwing its problem to the Canadians like a hot potato.

A government statement issued on Cuban television said: "What the imperialists have done is to throw the hot potato to their neighbour Canada. Cuba feels bitterness and indignation at this crude manoeuvre by Washington."

Crowds shouting "Down with the lie!" gathered outside the family home of the diplomat in Havana.

Cuban diplomat in car
Mr Imperatori (rear) was ejected by the FBI
Mr Imperatori's wife, Raquel Fundora, said: "It is incredible that a person who wants to demonstrate his innocence is not allowed to do so."

Hunger strike goes on

Mr Imperatori has denied spying and says he will continue with a hunger strike he began in Washington on Saturday to protest at his treatment by the US.

He says he will ask the Canadian authorities for permission to remain in the country until he can prove his innocence. He is currently in the Cuban embassy in the Ottawa.

Canadian officials have said they expect Mr Imperatori to leave the country within a short time, and denied any knowledge of his hunger strike. On arrival in Canada, he was issued with a 48-hour visa.

Castro
Fidel Castro's government denies that Mr Faget spied for Cuba
Mr Imperatori was declared persona non grata after being linked to Mariano Faget, a Cuban-born US immigration officer recently arrested for allegedly spying for Havana.

Elian dispute

The State Department says the expulsion order is based on evidence presented by the FBI after agents arrested Mr Faget for allegedly passing information on defectors to Cuba.

The FBI said it had watched Faget meet the Washington-based Cuban diplomat at a Miami airport bar.


Cuba says the spying allegation is linked to the Elian dispute
Cuba says that the latest dispute between Havana and Washington, which do not maintain formal diplomatic ties, is a plot between the FBI and anti-Castro Cuban exiles designed to block the return of shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez.

The Cuban boy, rescued off Florida in November after a boat capsize in which his mother and 10 other illegal Cuban migrants drowned, is at the centre of a highly politicised custody battle between his father in Cuba and relatives in Miami.

The Clinton administration has denied any connection between Elian and Mr Imperatori.

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See also:

20 Feb 00 |  Americas
Cuba defies US expulsion order
19 Feb 00 |  Americas
US expels Cuban diplomat
18 Feb 00 |  Americas
Cuba spy charge for US official
20 Oct 98 |  Americas
Castro admits US espionage
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