The mystery man, who was freed after being traded for three Cuban intelligence agents jailed in the United States, was identified as Rolando Sarraff Trujillo by a former U.S. intelligence official on Thursday, according to media reports. President Barack Obama described him as "one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba."
The 50-year-old was convicted of espionage in Cuba in 1995 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Officials reportedly said that Sarraff, who was a cryptographer in Cuba’s Directorate of Intelligence on “agent communications,” provided information that constantly helped the U.S. intelligence network to crack encoded messages. His information also reportedly contributed in dismantling three major spy networks in the U.S and ultimately led to “successful federal espionage prosecutions.” However, U.S. officials refused to release the spy’s name, CNN reported.
The spy "provided the information that led to the identification and conviction of Defense Intelligence Agency senior analyst Ana Belen Montes; former Department of State official Walter Kendall Myers and his spouse Gwendolyn Myers; and members of the Red Avispa network, or ‘Wasp Network,’ in Florida, which included members of the so-called Cuban Five,” Brian Hale, spokesperson for the director of national intelligence, said in a statement Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Sarraff’s parents were reportedly concerned about the whereabouts of their son after they did not hear from him. The family reportedly said that they had not been informed about his release.
“We don’t know where he is,” Sarraff’s sister, Vilma Sarraff, reportedly said. “We don’t know if he’s in Cuba, if he’s in the United States. Our parents are looking everywhere.”
Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced Wednesday that the two countries will be restoring diplomatic relations after more than 50 years, a decision that meant improved relations between the U.S. and other Latin American countries was not far off.
Chilean Minister of Foreign Relations Heraldo Muñoz said that the U.S.-Cuba decision indicated an imminent end to the Americas' persistent cold war. "This is a step to make that definitively the past," he said.