By Andrea Rodriguez, AP
HAVANA, Cuba–The parents of convicted spy Rolando Sarraff Trujillo feared the worst when their son failed to call home from prison and they were told he had been taken away at dawn. But officials assured the couple that their son was now better off.
Sarraff was publicly identified by a former intelligence official in the United States on Thursday as the unnamed spy traded for three Cuban intelligence agents jailed in the United States, one who U.S. President Barack Obama hailed as one of Washington’s most valuable assets.
But neither Cuban nor American officials have confirmed that Sarraff was spirited off the island and his parents have not heard from their son since he supposedly was freed.
Chris Simmons, the former chief of a Cuban counterintelligence unit for the U.S Defense Intelligence Agency, identified Sarraff as a cryptologist in Cuba’s Directorate of Intelligence working on ��agent communications,�� the codes used by Cuban spies abroad to communicate with their handlers in Havana.
Before his downfall, Sarraff helped the U.S. crack the ��Wasp Network,�� in Florida, a Cuban spy ring that included members of the Cuban Five, the last three of whom were released in exchange for the Cuban spy. Cuba also released 53 other prisoners as well as American Alan Gross.
The Cuban Five were convicted in 2001 of being unregistered foreign agents, and three also were found guilty of espionage conspiracy for failed efforts to obtain military secrets from the U.S. Southern Command headquarters.
Sarraff’s parents say they know nothing about that.
The father and mother, who live in the upscale Havana neighborhood of Playa, would visit their son in prison every week. For the past years, he has been held at Villa Marista, a maximum security facility at the edge of Havana. Sarraff would also call his parents in the afternoons, but failed to do so on Tuesday.
When they hadn’t heard from him by Wednesday, they went to see officials at Villa Marista.
��We were desperate when they told us at Villa Marista that they took him out at dawn,�� the mother said.
But then officials gave them reason for hope. The father says they told him not to worry, that it was ��for the better.��
Since then, they’ve been trying to find out where he is.