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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Families of the victims killed in the infamous Brothers to the Rescue shoot down are outraged Wednesday following the release of three Cuban spies convicted of their deaths.

The five spies that have been jailed in Florida, including the three men released Wednesday in the deal with Cuba, were convicted of planning the deaths of the Brothers to the Rescue victims and for spying in the United States.

The humanitarian group flew over the waters between Florida and Cuba, on humanitarian missions to aid Cubans trying to escape Fidel Castro’s government.

Miriam de la Pena, whose son died in 1996 when his plane was shot down, was outraged by the release.

“I’d like to say that not only do I feel that I’ve been slapped in the face by the President, I feel that the justice system of the United States of America today has suffered a big blow,” said Miriam de la Pena.

Pena called the men that were released “villains” and believes they should remain in jail.

“This was the only modicum of justice that we had, criminal justice, in our case, and we simply have been ignored,” said Maggie Alejandre Khauley, sister of Armando Alejandre. “The government, our government, has not even had the decency to warn us that this was going to happen.”

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was with the families Wednesday to show her support. Ros-Lehtinen said she’s not sure if the deal is even legal.

“Did he pardon them; what are the mechanics that he used,” said the congresswoman. “There are a lot of questions and that’s why I believe that he has violated three laws.”


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