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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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December 17th, 2014
06:07 PM ET

Family members of Americans shot down by Cuba in '96 react to freeing of 'Cuban Five'

(CNN) - The Cuban-U.S. spy swap comes with significant and some would even say detestable strings attached.

Members of the so-called 'Cuban Five' were not just secret agents for the Cuban government. One of them was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, linked to the 1996 plot to shoot down two planes carrying Cuban-American activists who worked for the group "Brothers to the Rescue."

Mario de la Pena and Armando Alejandre were two men killed in that attack. Mario's mother, Miriam de la Pena, and Armando's daughter, Marlene Alejandre Triana, joined "The Lead" to react to the U.S.-Cuba prisoner swap.

"This is a slap in our faces. It is very sad that an innocent man like Alan Gross is going to be exchanged for a criminal, somebody that wanted to do so much harm to the United States of America like Gerardo Hernandez, because he is not only tied to the shoot down and the murder of my son, Marlene's dad and two other Americans. He's tied to espionage, and wanting to do harm to the United States of America," Miriam de la Pena told CNN's Jake Tapper.

And when asked what she would say to President Obama about the prisoner swap, Marlene Alejandre Triana offered a powerful response.

"I just would like [Obama] to know that I feel that he has completely disrespected and dishonored my father who was a Vietnam veteran - a voluntary Vietnam veteran of this country - and when he was 18 years old he went to fight for this country against communism and the only thing that we had in the form of justice for her son, my father and the two other men was this one man that he just gave up," Marlene Alejandre Triana said.

For more of our interview, watch the video above.

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