Updated 07/09/2010 08:53 PM
NY1 Exclusive: Deported Spies' Sons Will "Do Fine" In New York
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Hours after the largest spy swap between the United States and Russia since the Cold War occurred on Friday, both sons of confessed spy and former city journalist Vicky Pelaez exclusively told NY1 that they will remain in New York for now.
"I'm doing perfectly fine," said Juan Lazaro Jr., the 17-year-old younger son of Pelaez, in an exclusive interview with NY1. "We have each other, we have a lot of people and we're going to do fine."
Lazaro's parents -- Pelaez, a 55-year-old former El Diario La Prensa columnist, and her husband, 66-year-old photographer Juan Lazaro -- were among the 10 admitted Russian agents who arrived in Moscow at around 10 a.m. Friday, after switching places earlier that morning in Vienna, Austria.
In exchange, Russia released a plane carrying four people accused of spying for the West, which landed at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. on Friday afternoon.
Back at the Lazaro family home in Yonkers, N.Y., family members told NY1 that as of Friday afternoon they had not heard from the deported couple and were not even sure they made it to Russia safely.
"We saw them on television that they were going up in a plane, and our first reaction was to scream at the television and say, 'Hello, here we are,'" said Waldo Mariscal, the 38-year-old son of Pelaez and stepson of Lazaro.
Pelaez, the only non-Russian among the 10 confessed spies, was a Peruvian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen, who met her husband in Peru back in the 1980s.
The elder Juan Lazaro admitted in court on Thursday that he was not from Uruguay, as he told his family for almost 30 years, but was born in Russia and named Mikhail Vasenkov.
Mariscal was dumbfounded that his mother and stepfather were arrested, confessed to spying and deported to Russia within the last two weeks, saying it seemed like something out of a movie or one of his mother's articles.
"What I have in here [my mind], and what I have in here [my heart] is that Juan Lazaro is Juan Lazaro, and he is a loving father, very nice father of high integrity," he said.
Mariscal also said his mother knew little about Russia.
"The only thing Russian she likes is vodka with passion fruit, and that's the only thing she knows about Russia," said Mariscal.
The Lazaro family has to move out of the Yonkers home, as it has to be turned over to the government.
"Packing many, many things, memories and objects. There's a lot of Peruvian stuff in there," said Mariscal. "And Juan [Lazaro Jr.] may visit his parents, maybe in Peru. We don't know exactly yet."
While the younger son also has the option of visiting his parents in Russia before they move on to Peru, it appeared on Friday that he will remain living in New York, at least to finish high school.
Also among the 10 spies who were deported to Russia on Friday were former Manhattan resident Anna Chapman, Richard Murphy of Montclair, N.J. and his wife Cynthia, who worked at a Manhattan-based accounting firm.
The defendants were arrested last month across the Northeast.
According to the U.S. attorney's office, all remaining charges against the 10 spies will be dropped.
An 11th suspect, Christopher Metsos, was still at large on Friday. He disappeared after being released on bail in Cyprus.