In Havana in the early 1990s, pilot René González leaves his wife Olga and daughter Irma in Cuba to start a new life in the United States. He secretly flies to Miami on a stolen plane (Antonov An-2). González soon joins a group of Cuban exiles and Castro opponents, Brothers to the Rescue, who operate from Florida and act against the Cuban government through military operations and also aim to disintegrate the Cuban tourism industry. They even fly over Cuban airspace. A Cuban secret organization named la Red Avispa, or the “Wasp Network,” is directed by Gerardo Hernández, also known as Manuel Viramontez.
The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) and Brothers to the Rescue not only launch propaganda brochures about Havana, and lead balseros from Cuba to the Florida shores, but also smuggle drugs and weapons. They also conduct terrorist activities in Cuba organised by Luis Posada Carriles. In 1996, two Cessna Skymaster from Brothers to the Rescue are shot down by Cuban MiGs over the Caribbean Sea, killing four aviators.
Juan Pablo Roque is another Cuban pilot who defects by swimming to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and asking for political asylum. He arrives in Miami, settles down and marries Ana Margarita Martínez, but after few years flies back to Havana making it very clear that he was a mole who had infiltrated anti-Castro associations.
After months and many bureaucratic procedures, Olga and her daughter are allowed to leave Cuba and rejoin René in Miami. But before their travel, Viramontez informs Olga that her husband is not a gusano (Spanish for worm) or a traitor to the Castro regime but indeed is a hero and a Cuban intelligence agent who infiltrated the CANF, which she must keep secret for the security of all of them and the Wasp Network.
In El Salvador in 1997, Raúl Cruz León is recruited by anti-Castroists to place C-4 bombs in Havana hotels. An Italian tourist dies and the same day he is caught by the Cuban police. After being caught the organization abandons him to his fate.
Finally, René González, Manuel Viramontez and the entire Wasp Network are captured by the FBI, all face charges of conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, acting as an agent of a foreign government, and other illegal activities in the United States and face long prison terms if found guilty in the Federal Court of judge Joan A. Lenard. In an interview Fidel Castro defends the actions of the agents and their program.
Despite the fact that the FBI offers to reduce his sentence in exchange for information, René refuses to cooperate.