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Cuban jailed for breaking US embargo

Published:Sunday | October 6, 2013 | 5:50 PM

MIAMI, Oct.6, CMC – A United States federal district court has sentenced a Cuban national to 12 months for selling goods to Cuba in violation of the US trade and economic embargo on the island.

Pedro Adriano Borges, 68, will spend six months in prison, six in home detention and pay a US$1,000 fine. He will also serve four months for parole violation.

Borges and four other men were indicted in 1997 on charges of sending 18 shipping containers from Miami to Cuba from 1993 to 1996, via third countries.

They carried US$93,000 worth of foodstuffs, light bulbs, diapers and other goods, according to the Miami Herald.

Three of the defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 18 months each, including Javier Ferreiro Parga, a Spanish businessman living in Havana, who was the importer of the goods. A fourth elected to go to trial and was acquitted.

The Miami Herald reoports that Borges could have been sent to jail for 35 years — 10 for violating the Trading With the Enemy Act and other embargo laws, 20 for helping to launder the money that Cuba paid for the goods and five for conspiracy to launder money.

He had just finished serving a 39-month prison sentence in New Jersey on a separate money-laundering charge — but still had three years of parole to serve .

According to court documents, Borges received permission on July 31, 1995 for a 21-day business trip to Costa Rica but never returned to the United States.

“Instead, he faxed his Cuban-American parole officer a string of excuses for his absence,” the Herald reports.

One fax claimed he was helping Cubans “to win their liberty,” hinting that he was somehow involved in anti-Castro activities.

Court officials say Borges is expected to return to Costa Rica after completing his home detention. He has a wife and property worth US$1.2 million in the Central American nation, as well as Costa Rican citizenship.