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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The U.S. government helped the wife of Cuban spy Gerardo Hernandez get pregnant while he was being held in a California facility.

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U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office confirmed Monday that the lawmaker helped arrange for Adriana Perez’s artificial insemination, according to CBS News.

The news however rubbed Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen the wrong way.

Ros-Lehtinen said the artificial insemination provided for the convicted spy and his wife was unprecedented in the history of federal prisons.

Click here to watch Gary Nelson’s report. 

“What criminal in the U.S. justice system gets this kind of treatment,” an incredulous Ros-Lehtinen said at a Tuesday news conference.  “Who is allowed to have his sperm shipped somewhere so his wife can get pregnant.”

“This is just absurd,” Ros-Lehtinen said.  “It’s like a terrible, terrible spy movie.  You couldn’t make this stuff up in a Telenovela!”

Miriam de la Pena, whose son Mario was among the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down victims, said she was “heartbroken,” and felt “betrayed” by President Obama for returning the master mind behind her son’s murder to “his master” in Cuba where he can kill some more.

A weeping de la Pena said, “I hope that no more mothers have to go through this.”

Ros-Lehtinen vowed there would be congressional hearings into President Obama’s unilateral decisions to alter U.S./Cuba relations.  She said Congress may choose to challenge the legality of the president’s actions, saying he may have over-stepped his authority.

Ros-Lehtinen made no effort to hide her disgust over the secret arrangement that allowed the imprisoned, convicted murder conspirator’s wife to be artificially inseminated.

“It sickens me. It absolutely turns my stomach,” said Ros-Lehtinen.  “This man conspired to kill four innocent people.”

The arrangement was one of the more unique chapters during a year a half of secret negotiations which resulted in last week’s announcement that the U.S. and Cuba would resume diplomatic ties after more than 50 years of hostility.

Leahy’s office confirmed to CBS News that the baby is a girl.

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It all began when Leahy and his wife, Marcelle Pomerleau, a registered nurse, met with Perez in Cuba in February 2013.

At the time, her husband was serving two life sentences in federal prison in Victorville, California.

Hernandez was one of the so-called “Cuban Five” who were arrested in 1998. He was convicted of murder conspiracy related to the Cuban air force’s 1996 shoot-down of two planes flown by Brothers to the Rescue, an exile organization that sought to aid migrants at sea and also dropped propaganda leaflets. Four men died in that shoot down.

A Look At The Cuban Five

Cuba had complained repeatedly that the U.S. had denied Perez a visa to visit her husband, according to CBS News.

“She made a personal appeal to Marcelle. She was afraid that she would never have the chance to have a child,” Leahy said in a statement. “As parents and grandparents we both wanted to try to help her.”

So Leahy’s office began working with U.S. government officials to see what they could do.

Under the law, conjugal visits are not allowed in the federal prison system, but there is precedent to use artificial insemination for an inmate, according to CBS News.

A first attempt at artificial insemination failed. A second attempt, however, worked. The procedure itself was carried out in Panama and paid for by the Cuban government, according to CBS News.

Leahy’s top foreign policy aide, Tim Rieser, successfully lobbied for a U.S. visa for Perez who was able to visit her husband twice in the last year and a half.

The U.S. assistance in Perez’s pregnancy made a big impression on Cuban officials.  The return of Hernandez and two other convicted Cuban spies was one of their country’s most important international policy goals.

Actions taken by Leahy, his staff and those in the government helped set the tone for the secret negotiations that led to the release of the last three of the “Cuban Five.” In return, Cuba freed a U.S. intelligence asset jailed for nearly 20 years on the island. Alan Gross was also released as a humanitarian gesture.

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