One of the Cuban spies released by Washington last week is due to be a father in two weeks, thanks to what the New York Times calls "one of the strangest subplots in the annals of secret negotiations between Washington and Havana." Gerardo Hernandez, one of the "Cuban Five," didn't get conjugal visits during his 16 years in prison, Reuters reports. But as the US and Cuba secretly worked on repairing relations, US officials helped him artificially inseminate his wife in Cuba, the Justice Department says. "We can confirm the United States facilitated Mrs. Hernandez's request to have a baby with her husband. The request was passed along by Senator (Patrick) Leahy, who was seeking to improve the conditions for (Alan) Gross while he was imprisoned in Cuba," the department says in a statement.
Indeed, it was one of Leahy's staffers, Tim Rieser, who played the lead role in the process, the Times reports. Cuba had sought to help Hernandez's wife, Adriana Perez, get pregnant since 2010, and Leahy, his wife, and Rieser met with her in Cuba. "It was an emotional meeting," Leahy says. "She wanted to have a baby before she got too old. She was deeply in love with her husband." With Rieser's help, Cuban officials picked up a sperm sample and took it to Panama; Perez became pregnant on the second try. At a ceremony celebrating the spies, Perez, 44, was clearly pregnant as Hernandez patted her belly. He told Cuban media she'd gotten pregnant through "remote control." The two are expecting a girl, Reuters notes.