A high-ranking Cuban intelligence agent with secret information on the activities of Cuban operatives around the world has defected to the United States, according to officials from U.S. Radio Marti.
They said Maj. Florentino Azpillaga, 40, crossed the border from Czechoslovakia into Austria on June 6, just nine days after the defection of Brig. Gen. Rafael del Pino Diaz, a ranking member of the Cuban Armed Forces Ministry.
Diplomats in Havana last month had alleged such a defection but had not specifically named Azpillaga. On Friday night, he was interviewed by Radio Marti, the Voice of America broadcast operation to Cuba.
Radio Marti officials said Azpillaga is prepared to identify for U.S. officials the names of 350 Cuban agents in a number of countries but would give them time for a safe return to Cuba. The State Department had no comment on the defection yesterday.
Azpillaga told Radio Marti he was part of a group of officers from "the counterintelligence service, the intelligence service and, in general, from the Interior Ministry who have been conspiring for the past three years" against President Fidel Castro.
The officials said Azpillaga was especially upset about this "waste of resources" on intelligence activities at a time when austerity measures were forcing ordinary Cubans to lower their living standards.