U.S. Denies Contractor Held in Cuba Worked as American Spy

The United States rejected claims today that an American held in Cuba for over a month was working as a secret intelligence agent. The American, who remains unidentified, was arrested December 5, reportedly while distributing cell phones, laptops and other communications equipment. He was held at Havana airport on Dec. 5 but was not seen by U.S. consular officials until Dec. 28. Cuban President Raul Castro said in an earlier speech that the man had been illegally supplying opposition groups with advanced communications equipment. He also accused the US of continuing its attempts to subvert and destroy the revolution, BBC News reports. Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon told reporters in Havana, "This is a gentleman hired by a company that hires for the American secret services and is now the subject of an investigation.” The U.S. State Department, however, insists the man in question did not work for American intelligence. "Those comments are false. Cuba has a history of mischaracterising what Americans and NGOs in Cuba are doing," said state department spokesman PJ Crowley. “This person is not associated with our intelligence services." Washington said the detained man worked for an American company called Development Alternatives, part of a U.S. government program aimed at promoting civil society and democracy in Cuba. BBC News suggests that because of this incident, US-Cuba ties have again taken a turn for the worse.