Posted on Saturday, 10.05.13
Miami man who broke Cuba embargo is sentenced to 12 months
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Pedro Adriano Borges was a no-show for a Miami trial in 1997 on charges
of selling goods to Cuba in violation of the U.S. embargo. He had fled
to Costa Rica two years earlier, ironically hinting that he was joining
the anti-Castro struggle.
The 68-year-old Borges will be leaving Miami for Costa Rica again in
coming months — this time without the feds on his tail — after
completing his sentences in U.S. federal court for conspiracy to violate
the embargo and his parole violation.
Borges, who apparently got a break because of his age, was sentenced
last week to 12 months on the embargo charge — six months in prison and
six in home detention, plus a $1,000 fine — and four months for his
parole violation. Arrested in November, he is expected to be released
from prison soon.
The Cuba-born 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 $93,000 worth of foodstuffs, light
bulbs, diapers and other goods.
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.
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 — when he moved to Miami in 1993. He went to work at Central
Trading International, the export-import company at the heart of the
Borges received permission on July 31, 1995 for a 21-day business trip
to Costa Rica but never returned to the United States, according to
documents in his court case. Instead, he faxed his Cuban-American parole
officer a string of excuses for his absence.
One fax claimed he was helping Cubans “to win their liberty,” hinting
that he was somehow involved in anti-Castro activities but giving no
details. A second message essentially told the parole officer “see ya in
Havana,” the court documents show.
Borges is expected to return to Costa Rica after completing his home
detention. He has a wife and property worth $1.2 million in the Central
American nation, as well as Costa Rican citizenship, according to court
It’s not known what he did in Costa Rica from 1995 to 2012, but he
apparently requested a U.S. passport last year at the U.S. Embassy in
Costa Rica or Panama. The passport was denied, but the request may have
triggered an alert to law enforcement.
He was arrested in Panama in November and immediately deported to South
The 1997 indictment named Borges in six of the 28 counts alleging the
five accused shipped the containers with documents showing they were
going to the Caribbean island of Curacao. They were diverted to Havana
when they reached the ports of Rio Haina in the Dominican Republic and
Progreso in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, according to the court documents.
The U.S. Congress changed the embargo regulations in 2002 to allow U.S.
exports of agricultural products to Cuba, from chicken wings to 40-foot
telephone poles. They hit a record $711 million in 2008, and dropped to
less than $200 million last year amid Cuba’s economic crisis.
Source: “Miami man who broke Cuba embargo is sentenced to 12 months –
Cuba – MiamiHerald.com” –