Today’s Wall Street Journal’s editorial on Vicky Peláez (emphasis added):
The recent swap of 10 Russian spies for four men held by the Kremlin on spying charges sounds like a fair deal, given that the Russians seem to have gathered no important secrets. But there’s one footnote that doesn’t sit right.
That’s the case of Vicky Peláez, a naturalized American from Peru who was busted for allegedly delivering information to Russian agents in South America in exchange for cash. She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government and was allowed to leave the country. Peláez’s husband was one of the 10 but he is Russian—though he masqueraded as Uruguayan—and his motives could be chalked up to patriotism.
But how to explain Peláez? And how to explain that she got off so easily? Until her arrest two weeks ago Peláez was a columnist for El Diario-La Prensa, the largest and oldest Spanish-language daily in New York. We still don’t know the nature of the information she transported for Russia, but she certainly seemed to hate the America that took her in and let her make a good living attacking its interests.
Even by the standards of much of the Latin press, Peláez was hard left. Two of her former colleagues at the paper say she had photos of Shining Path terrorist Abimael Guzman and Che Guevara hanging in her cubicle. They also say she referred to the Cuban-Americans who worked in her office as “gusanos” (maggots), the term Fidel Castro uses for Cuban exiles.
Peláez published regular anti-U.S. diatribes and routinely praised Castro, and the paper adopted her politics in its news coverage. Sometime in the late 1990s Peláez was made Latin American desk editor. Her work, as well as that of former El Diario editor-in-chief Gerson Borrero, was reprinted in Granma, Cuba’s state newspaper. Justo Sánchez, who was once the paper’s editor for arts and culture, described her articles as “poorly disguised agit-prop.” Mr. Sánchez adds that it was common knowledge around the newsroom that the Cuban government paid for Peláez’s trip to the island in 2006.
El Diario has been very influential in the Latino communities in the Northeast US. The WSJ wants El Diario to apologize to its readers – which will probably never happen.
Scott Johnson posts on the Russian spy swap:
Ishmael Jones: On the Russian swap. Jones is the deep cover name of a former CIA agent, who focuses on the politicians the spies targeted, and how fast the spies were deported, and concludes,
Espionage was the only area of achievement in which the Soviet Union thrashed us. Russia remains very good at it. I believe that it is plausible that the speed with which the Obama administration exchanged the Russian spy ring was a way to stifle any embarrassment resulting from the ring’s involvement with current or former members of the administration and its allies in Congress.
Including Peláez, too, who was an advocate of ending the “embargo”.
Meanwhile, in Cuba, Babalu has breaking news on the political prisoners who were supposed to be released and expelled from the country – the deportations are apparently suspended:
BREAKING NEWS: Cuban prisoner deportations suspended. At the same time, Ricardo Alarcón, the president of the Cuban parliament, claims that the released prisoners may stay in Cuba, and that more than 52 may be released (article in Spanish).
At least El Diaro had the class to hire an actual spy.