Mexico Deports Diplomat Back To Cuba

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:08 PM EDT

( - The Mexican government has deported a former Cuban diplomat who had applied for political asylum. Pedro Riera claimed his real job for 20 years was spying on the Central Intelligence Agency while working for the Castro government.

Riera was Cuba's second-ranking diplomat in Mexico from 1988 to 1994. He apparently snuck back into Mexico from Cuba about a month ago, according to reports from Mexican authorities. Those reports also say it's unclear whether Riera's deportation was a government policy decision or done to appease the Castro government.

The Mexican interior ministry said in a statement that Riera was being deported because he entered Mexico without "proper documents."

Riera was arrested by six armed Mexican immigration officers at a Mexico City coffee shop as he emerged from a meeting with Mexican officials about his asylum request.

Some human rights groups have expressed anger at Riera's deportation, believing he will have to fear for his life once he returns to Cuba.

"We are worried for his life. He knew the rules of the game, and that they will probably kill him," Mexican Human Rights activist Rafael Alvarez told reporters in Mexico City.

Alvarez had been helping Riera seek asylum in Mexico.

Alvarez also said Riera told him that he (Riera) was aware of Mexican government officials who had been working with the CIA. Riera had overseen Cubans spying on the CIA in countries such as Spain, Chile, Mozambique and Angola.

Riera also had met with US embassy officials in Mexico City about seeking asylum in the United States.

The US embassy in Mexico City had no comment for the media about Riera's deportation.

Mexico has traditionally had warm relations with Cuba, mostly remaining silent on the Castro government's human rights record, much to the consternation of Washington.

During a Washington news conference last July after his election, Mexican President-elect Vincente Fox pledged to intensify his country's relations with Cuba, "if possible."

Fox will assume the Mexican presidency in December.