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Love or spy: what landed an American teacher in a Cuban prison?

Her family believe Ms. López fell in love with an old love and was taken in by him.

James Cason, a former senior US official in Cuba, said most Cuban diplomats are known to be spies for their government, especially those stationed in the United States.

“She had to know what she was getting herself into by marrying a Cuban diplomat,” Cason said. “Here in Miami, if you marry a Cuban diplomat, you are considered a traitor, deep down.

Cuban court documents are unequivocal: Mr. Milanés was a Cuban intelligence agent. And, according to court records, he confessed this to her after their wedding on Christmas Eve 2007.

At that time, Mr. Milanés was living in Cuba. He was not allowed to leave the island, so his wife spent the next decade visiting him on long weekends and during school vacations. According to Cuban court records, Mr. Milanés was an alcoholic who was financially dependent on her.

In January 2017, Ms López received a cryptic call from her husband, asking him to come to Cuba, her lawyer, Mr Poblete, said.

Mr Milanés had been caught on a boat in Baracoa on the east coast trying to flee Cuba, according to a person familiar with the case who was not authorized to speak publicly. He had called his guard wife, dragging her to the island.

Ms. López flew to Havana and was arrested at the airport on the way home.

“I don’t care if he had a gun on his head,” Peralta said of her husband. “She’s your wife. What kind of man are you to throw your wife under the bus?

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