Pro-Castro Group From New York Awards “Nelson Mandela Prize” to Convicted Cuban Spies 1

Sandra Levinson, Executive Director of the Center for Cuban Studies

Sandra Levinson, Executive Director of the Center for Cuban Studies

By Chris Simmons

Philadelphia’s Geller Foundation granted its newly established Nelson Mandela prize to the Cuban Five – the former leaders of Cuba’s failed Wasp spy network.

In reality, the Geller Foundation is actually led by members of the New York City entity – the Center for Cuban Studies. Sandra Levinson, the Center’s Executive Director, presented the prize to released spies Rene and Fernando Gonzalez and the relatives of the still-incarcerated members of the Cuban Five. The ceremony was held last week at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship With The Peoples (ICAP).

Former Directorate of Intelligence Officer Juan Reyes Alonso said ICAP is not a DI entity per se, but that it is overwhelmingly influenced by the intelligence service. Reyes Alonso claimed ICAP is penetrated by a small cadre of bona fide DI officers who are aided by a large staff of agents (i.e., collaborators). As a result, roughly 90% of ICAP is thought to be DI-affiliated. Similarly, the New York Times has reported on ICAP’s intelligence ties as far back as 1983.

As background, the Center for Cuban Studies hosted the first National Conference on Cuba from November 2-4, 1979. US participants included Congressman Ron Dellums, the Puerto Rican socialist party, union representatives, legal scholars, and innumerable academics. Havana sent 15 participants, to include intelligence officers Alfredo García Almeida and Ramón Sánchez-Parodi Montoto.

Two years earlier, columnist Jack Anderson had identified Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN) “diplomat” Julian Enrique Torres Rizo as the chief of Havana’s US-based intelligence operations. The Center for Cuban Studies allowed Torres Rizo, a senior America Department (DA) officer, to have an office in its facility.

The America Department was the name used by the intelligence wing of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party from 1974 to the late 1980s or early 1990s. The DA was heavily involved in supporting revolutionaries and terrorists, but has since become more focused on political intelligence operations. This service is now called the America Area of the International Department of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC/ID/AA).

US Sent Latin Youth Undercover in Anti-Cuba Ploy Reply

In this July 9, 2014, photo, Fernando Murillo, a founder of the human rights group Fundacion Operacion Gaya Internacional, talks with The Associated Press in San Jose, Costa Rica. Murillo had been contracted by Creative Associates to turn Cuba’s politically apathetic young people into "change agents." Six days after Cuban police arrested American contractor Alan Gross, the U.S. government agency that had paid for his trip signed up Murillo for another secret U.S. mission to the island. When he first arrived in Cuba, however, Murillo advocated a seemingly non-political agenda, which included collaborating with Cuban organizations on youth volunteerism and the cultivation of coconut paper, bananas and Cuba’s national flower, the mariposa blanca. Esteban Felix / AP Photo

In this July 9, 2014, photo, Fernando Murillo, a founder of the human rights group Fundacion Operacion Gaya Internacional, talks with The Associated Press in San Jose, Costa Rica. Murillo had been contracted by Creative Associates to turn Cuba’s politically apathetic young people into “change agents.” Six days after Cuban police arrested American contractor Alan Gross, the U.S. government agency that had paid for his trip signed up Murillo for another secret U.S. mission to the island. When he first arrived in Cuba, however, Murillo advocated a seemingly non-political agenda, which included collaborating with Cuban organizations on youth volunteerism and the cultivation of coconut paper, bananas and Cuba’s national flower, the mariposa blanca. Esteban Felix / AP Photo

By Desmond Butler, Jack Gillum, Alberto Arce, and Andrea Rodriquez (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — An Obama administration program secretly dispatched young Latin Americans to Cuba using the cover of health and civic programs to provoke political change, a clandestine operation that put those foreigners in danger even after a U.S. contractor was hauled away to a Cuban jail.

Beginning as early as October 2009, a project overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development sent Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of ginning up rebellion. The travelers worked undercover, often posing as tourists, and traveled around the island scouting for people they could turn into political activists.

In one case, the workers formed an HIV-prevention workshop that memos called “the perfect excuse” for the program’s political goals — a gambit that could undermine America’s efforts to improve health globally.

But their efforts were fraught with incompetence and risk, an Associated Press investigation found: Cuban authorities questioned who was bankrolling the travelers. The young workers nearly blew their mission to “identify potential social-change actors.” One said he got a paltry, 30-minute seminar on how to evade Cuban intelligence, and there appeared to be no safety net for the inexperienced workers if they were caught.

“Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you,” read a memo obtained by the AP. “Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.”

In all, nearly a dozen Latin Americans served in the program in Cuba, for pay as low as $5.41 an hour.

The AP found USAID and its contractor, Creative Associates International, continued the program even as U.S. officials privately told their government contractors to consider suspending travel to Cuba after the arrest of contractor Alan Gross, who remains imprisoned after smuggling in sensitive technology.

“We value your safety,” one senior USAID official said in an email. “The guidance applies to ALL travelers to the island, not just American citizens,” another official said.

The revelations of the USAID program come as the White House faces questions about the once-secret “Cuban Twitter” project, known as ZunZuneo. That program, launched by USAID in 2009 and uncovered by the AP in April, established a primitive social media network under the noses of Cuban officials. USAID’s inspector general is investigating that program, which ended in September, 2012.

Officials said USAID launched “discreet” programs like ZunZuneo to increase the flow of information in a country that heavily restricts it. But the AP’s earlier investigation found ZunZuneo was political in nature and drew in subscribers unaware that the service was paid for by the U.S. government.

“USAID and the Obama administration are committed to supporting the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their own future,” the agency said in response to written questions from the AP. “USAID works with independent youth groups in Cuba on community service projects, public health, the arts and other opportunities to engage publicly, consistent with democracy programs worldwide.”

In a statement late Sunday, USAID said the HIV workshop had a dual purpose: It “enabled support for Cuban civil society while providing a secondary benefit of addressing the desire Cubans expressed for information and training about HIV prevention.”

Creative Associates declined to comment, referring questions to USAID.

In response to the AP’s report, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said USAID’s programs were important for human rights in Cuba. “We must continue to pressure the Castro regime and support the Cuban people, who are oppressed on a daily basis,” said Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban native and vocal supporter of pro-democracy programs there.

Both ZunZuneo and the travelers program were part of a larger, multimillion-dollar effort by USAID to effect change in politically volatile countries, government data show. But the programs reviewed by the AP didn’t appear to achieve their goals and operated under an agency known more for its international-aid work than stealthy operations. The CIA recently pledged to stop using vaccine programs to gather intelligence, such as one in Pakistan that targeted Osama bin Laden.

Read more here: Undercover Youth

 

The Latell Report – More About Cuban Spy Ana Montes 9

Ana Belen Montes

Ana Belen Montes

By Brian Latell, Cuba Transition Project

For sixteen years Ana Belen Montes spied for Cuba from increasingly responsible positions at the Defense Intelligence Agency. If Havana has ever run a higher level or more valuable agent inside the American defense establishment that has never been revealed.

When she was arrested in late September 2001, Montes was about the equivalent in rank to a colonel. She had access to sensitive compartmented intelligence. Strangely, for one so openly enamored of Fidel Castro, her superiors considered her one of the best Cuba analysts anywhere in government.

Despite the importance of her case, some of the most tantalizing questions about her spying have never been publicly answered. Could the calamity of her treason have been avoided? What was learned about Cuban intelligence tradecraft? How was she discovered? And, of enduring concern, did she work with other American spies thus far undetected or not prosecuted?

Thanks to researcher Jeffrey Richelson and the National Security Archive new light has finally been shed on the Montes case. Because of their efforts, a 180 page study completed by the Department of Defense Inspector General in 2005 has recently been declassified. It is heavily redacted; many pages–including the CIA’s extensive comments—blacked out. Yet, a quantity of surprising new details are now on the public record.

Montes’s decision to spy for Cuba was “coolly deliberate.” Enticed by a Cuban access agent in Washington, they traveled together to New York in December 1984. Montes met with intelligence officers posted under cover at the Cuban mission to the United Nations.

She “unhesitatingly agreed” to work with them and to travel to Cuba clandestinely as soon as possible. The following March she went there via Spain and Czechoslovakia. The Pentagon report does not state the obvious: while there she must have received specialized training in intelligence tradecraft.

Then, with Cuban encouragement, she applied for a job at DIA. A standard background investigation was conducted, but we now know that serious concerns about her suitability were raised. Without elaboration, the Pentagon report indicates that they included “falsification of her Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins (University) and her trustworthiness.” DIA did not require applicants to submit to a pre-employment polygraph exam. So, a trained Cuban espionage agent with a problematic past was cleared and hired. She began work in September 1985.

After her arrest Montes insisted that she did not work for Cuba, but with Cuban officials she enormously respected. They felt “mutual respect and understanding;” they “were comrades in the struggle.” She believed that the Castro government “does not hurt people” and that she had the “moral right” to provide information to Cuba.

Her handlers apparently were skilled in manipulating and controlling her. She said they were “thoughtful, sensitive to her needs, very good to me.” They went to “special lengths to assure her they had complete confidence in her.” They allowed her a long, loose leash, easier because they were not paying for her extraordinary services.

Initially in New York, and later at her request in the Washington area, she met with her handlers as often as once every two or three weeks, usually on weekends. Everything about her second covert trip to Cuba is redacted in the Pentagon report. Perhaps it was for training in polygraph countermeasures, because, according to the report, she later “encounters and beats the polygraph.”

In 1991 Montes underwent a seemingly routine security reinvestigation. She was asked about foreign travel, and lied. Questioned about inaccuracies in her original application for employment, she confessed that she had misrepresented an incident in her past. Feigning innocence, Montes claimed that she “did not understand the seriousness of being truthful and honest at the time.”

Her questionable case was then reviewed at a higher level. The adjudicator reported that “while Montes seemed to have a tendency ‘to twist the truth’ to her own needs and her honesty was still a cause of concern, adverse security action was unlikely.” Again, she had slipped through. Her high level clearances were recertified.

Brazenly, she submitted a freedom of information request for her own government records. She must have been concerned that something adverse had been discovered. Investigative material was released, going back to her previous employment at the Department of Justice. She gave the surprised Cubans copies of the released documents.

None of this seems to have contributed to her eventual unmasking. But how was she discovered? Surprisingly revealing information seeps through the Pentagon’s report. “We got lucky,” a counterintelligence official observed. An entirely blacked-out section entitled “Serendipity” suggests the same.

By April 1998 a coordinated search for a Cuban spy was underway, according to the report. At first it was thought most likely the quarry was a CIA employee. But soon investigators were following a crucial clue: the unknown spy had apparently traveled to the Guantanamo naval base.

The breakthrough had seemingly come earlier, however. According to the Pentagon report, Montes was informed shortly after her arrest that investigators “had information from a senior official in the Cuban intelligence service concerning a Cuban penetration agent that implicated Montes.” It seems that this information propelled the investigation that resulted in Montes’s arrest and incarceration.

Did she work with other American spies? The report is ambiguous; it states that after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 pressure rose to arrest Montes. The FBI preferred to wait, however, in order “to monitor Montes’s activities with the prospect that she may have eventually led the FBI to others in the Cuban spy network.”

Was this judgment the result of careless drafting and editing? Or did government censors let a critical bit of information slip through? If there was evidence of a larger Cuban spy apparatus operating at that time it may be a long time before more is known.

It is clear now, however, that Montes’s apprehension was not just the result of excellent intelligence work. American prosecutors were lucky. She told investigators after her arrest that a week earlier she had learned that she was under surveillance. She could have decided then to flee to Cuba, but said delphically that “she couldn’t give up on the people (she) was helping.” She is serving a 25 year prison sentence.

Cuba-Russia Propaganda Returns to Cold War Roots 2

Cuban agent José Manuel Collera

Cuban agent José Manuel Collera

By Chris Simmons

Last week, the blog “Cuba Inside the World” posted a feature titled “Ex CIA double agent to RT: US AID is a front for U.S. intelligence.”  However, upon reading the story, one learns that the “ex CIA agent” is none other than admitted Cuban state security agent, José Manuel Collera. So, what we actually have is a Cuban spy making false accusations against the US and using Moscow’s propagandists to spread the story. How very ……unimaginative.

It reminds me of a Cold War joke a good friend once told me.  It goes something like this:

A race was scheduled in Moscow between a U.S.-built Ford and a Russian-built Lada. Predictably, the Ford won. The next day, “Pravda” – the official newspaper of the (then) Soviet Communist Party – proudly reported that the Lada came in second place and the Ford finished next-to-last.

 

 

Dutch Release Former Venezuelan Spy Chief Arrested For Drug Trafficking Reply

Hugo Carvajal

Hugo Carvajal

Aruba Says Venezuela Raised Military Pressure on It

By Kejal Vyas and José de Córdoba  July 28, 2014   WALL STREET JOURNAL

CARACAS—The Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, a top Aruban official said Monday.

Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela’s former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.

“The threat was there,” Mr. Blanken said. “We don’t know what their intentions were, but I think a lot of people in Aruba were scared that something would happen.”

Mr. Blanken said Venezuela’s government also had threatened to sever Venezuela’s vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela’s state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.

Aruban officials on Wednesday detained Mr. Carvajal, known as “el Pollo,” or “the Chicken,” but then released him on Sunday night after the Dutch government ruled that he was protected by diplomatic immunity. The decision overruled Aruban officials who had decided that the Venezuelan had no immunity because he hadn’t been confirmed as consul by the Dutch government.

Much to the dismay of U.S. officials, Mr. Carvajal flew to Caracas on Sunday night to a hero’s welcome from President Nicolás Maduro.

Annemijn van den Broek, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Foreign Ministry, said the decision to release Mr. Carvajal was made solely on legal grounds. She confirmed Venezuelan ships had come close to the islands, but said the Dutch Ministry of Defense had been told by the Venezuelans that the ships were returning from a naval exercise.

“I understand that the people on the island had a sense of urgency, but we have confirmation that this had nothing to do with the case,” she said.

Ms. Van den Broek declined to comment on any threats of economic sanctions by Venezuela, but said the Venezuelan government made it clear they “were not amused by the situation.”

A Venezuelan Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment. Mr. Maduro on Sunday night said that his government was “ready to do whatever it took” to get Mr. Carvajal freed.

Feature continues here:  Dutch Release VE Spy Chief   

Everything We Know About The Huge Spy Base In Cuba That Russia Is Reopening 4

New LourdesBy Corey Adwar & Michael B. Kelley, Business Insider

Moscow and Havana have agreed to reopen a Cold War-era signals intelligence (SIGINT) base in Lourdes, Cuba.

An agreement was reached during Putin’s visit to Cuba last week to reopen the base, Russia business daily Kommersant reported last week. That was confirmed by a Russian security source who told Reuters: ”A framework agreement has been agreed.”

The base was set up in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis had brought the U.S. and Soviet Union close to confrontation over Moscow’s proposal to place nuclear weapons on Cuban soil.

Havana shut it down in 2001 because of financial issues and American pressure. (Editor’s Note: This statement is incorrect. Russia’s shut down of Lourdes infuriated Fidel Castro).

Located south of Cuba’s capital Havana and just 150 miles from the U.S. coast, the base left many parts of the U.S. vulnerable to Soviet communication intercepts, including exchanges between Florida space centers and U.S. spacecraft. (Editor’s Note: The first statement is partially incorrect — Lourdes is roughly 100 miles from the U.S. coast).

Here’s what a Congressional report from 2000 said about the facility:

• The Secretary of Defense formally expressed concerns to Congress regarding the espionage complex at Lourdes, Cuba, and its use as a base for intelligence directed against the United States.

• The Secretary of Defense, referring to a 1998 Defense Intelligence Agency assessment, reported that the Russian Federation leased the Lourdes facility for an estimated $100 million to $300 million a year.

• It has been reported that the Lourdes facility was the largest such complex operated by the Russian Federation and its intelligence service outside the region of the former Soviet Union.

• The Lourdes facility was reported to cover a 28 square-mile area with over 1,500 Russian engineers, technicians, and military personnel working at the base.

• Experts familiar with the Lourdes facility have reportedly confirmed that the base had multiple groups of tracking dishes and its own satellite system, with some groups used to intercept telephone calls, faxes, and computer communications, in general, and with other groups used to cover targeted telephones and devices.

• News sources have reported that the Lourdes facility obtained sensitive information about United States military operations during Operation Desert Storm.

• Academic studies cite official U.S. sources affirming that the Lourdes facility was used to collect personal information about United States citizens in the private and government sectors, and offered the means to engage in cyberwarfare against the U.S.

• The operational significance of the Lourdes facility reportedly grew dramatically after Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued a 1996 order demanding the Russian intelligence community increase its gathering of U.S. and other Western economic and trade secrets.

Read more here:  The Lourdes SIGINT Base  

Editor’s Note:  The caption under the lead photo in the Business Insider posting of this article is highly misleading. During the Cold War, Moscow provided Havana with subsidies exceeding three billion dollars annually. Given this massive foreign aid influx, it is grossly disingenuous to claim that Cuba allowed the Russians to stay there “rent-free” through 1992.

Russia Rejoins Cuba’s Espionage Apparatchik in the Americas 1

The former Russian listening station at Lourdes some 20 miles south of Havana is seen in this December 2000. It was mothballed a year later but could reopen, it is reported. [Courtesy:  The (London) Daily Mail]

The former Russian listening station at Lourdes some 20 miles south of Havana is seen in this December 2000. It was mothballed a year later but could reopen, it is reported. [Courtesy: The (London) Daily Mail]

By Jerry Brewer, in Mexidata-Info

In order to effectively monitor aggression, hostile intelligence acts, interference, and other forms of insurgency within their homelands, democracies throughout the Americas must immediately address their governments’ counterintelligence missions against those rogue and dictatorial style regimes that pose obvious threats.

Russia’s recent decision to reopen its electronic spying center in Cuba is once again an obvious act that aggressively demonstrates support for the Cuban Castro regime, and a shared dispute versus the United States.

The Lourdes base closed 13 years ago, having been built in 1962. The closing was reportedly due to the economic crisis in Russia, along with repeated requests from the United States.

Lourdes served as a signals’ intelligence (SIGINT) facility, among other applications, located just 100 miles from the United States at Key West, Florida. During what has been described as the Cold War, the Lourdes facility was believed to be staffed “by over 1,500 KGB, GRU, Cuban DGI, and Eastern Bloc technicians, engineers and intelligence operatives.”

In 2000, it was reported that China signed an agreement with the Cuban government to share use of the facility for its own intelligence agency.

Despite pro-Cuba chants for economic aid and the lifting of the 50 year old Cuban Embargo, placed via President John F. Kennedy’s Proclamation 3447, there appears to be no shortage of funding by Cuba for that nation’s energetic spy apparatchik.

The original U.S. manifesto regarding Cuba, in 1962, expressed the necessity for the embargo until such time that Cuba would demonstrate respect for human rights and liberty.  And today, there certainly cannot be much of an argument that the continuing Castro regime has ever complied with any aspect of that mandate.  In fact, Castro’s revolution has arrogantly continued to force horrific sacrifices on Cubans in their homeland, as well as suffering by those that fled the murderous regime over the decades and left families behind.

Neither of the Castro brothers has ever, even remotely, disguised their venomous hatred for the U.S., democracy, or the U.S. way of life – even prior to the embargo.  Their anti-U.S. rhetoric continues, along with Russia and Venezuela, and they continue to extol radical leftist and communist governments throughout the world.

The Russian parliament recently pardoned 90% of Cuba’s US$38.5 billion debt dating back to the now defunct Soviet Union.

Feature continues here:  Russia Rejoins Cuba 

Russia Plans to Reopen Post in Cuba for Spying Reply

Lourdes Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) base in Cuba (Courtesy - Federation of American Scientists)

Lourdes Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) base in Cuba (Courtesy – Federation of American Scientists)

By ANDREW E. KRAMER, New York Times

MOSCOW — Russia has decided to reopen an electronic eavesdropping post in Cuba that it closed more than a decade ago, reaching out for a onetime symbol of its global superpower status, Russian officials and newspaper reports said on Wednesday.

President Vladimir V. Putin agreed with Cuba’s leader, Raúl Castro, during a visit to Cuba last week to reopen the post. In exchange, Mr. Putin agreed to forgive about 90 percent of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt to Russia, or about $32 billion. News of the debt relief emerged last week, but the agreement to reopen the listening post was first reported Wednesday by the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

Members of the Russian Parliament appeared to confirm the report in public statements praising what seemed to be a step by Russia toward re-establishing a military presence in Cuba, at a time when the conflict in Ukraine has sent Russian-American relations spiraling to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

Russia vacated the listening post site at Lourdes, outside Havana, in 2001. At the time, Mr. Putin cited the strapped finances of the post-Soviet Russian government and said the war in Chechnya was a higher priority than maintaining a Cold War relic half a world away.

The United States Congress had also pressed Russia to move out of Lourdes, linking the abandonment of the site with deals to restructure Russia’s heavy foreign debt.

Russia closed a listening post at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, at that time as well. There were no indications on Wednesday that the Kremlin intended to revive that post.

In its heyday, the Soviet signals intelligence base at Lourdes enabled Moscow to listen in on microwave transmissions of telephone conversations in the southeastern United States, keep an eye on the United States Navy in the Atlantic, monitor the space program at Cape Canaveral and communicate with its spies on American soil. In 1993, when Mr. Castro was chief of the Cuban armed forces, he boasted that Russia obtained 75 percent of its strategic intelligence on the United States through Lourdes.

Article continues here: Russia to Reopen Spy Base 

Man Accuses Cuban Agents of Insidious, ‘Psychological’ Intimidation 1

Porno para Ricardo

Porno para Ricardo

A man who threw a party for a friend in a punk-rock band that has been critical of Fidel Castro says that he has been the target of a ‘psychological’ campaign of intimidation.

By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com

Oscar Casanella, a 35-year old cancer researcher in Havana, says he just wanted to have a party for Ciro Díaz, a close friend who plays in a punk-rock band.

Problem is, Díaz is lead guitarist for Porno Para Ricardo, a band whose expletive-filled lyrics include attacks on Cuba’s former ruler, Fidel Castro: “The Comandante wants me to applaud after he’s spoken his delirious s—.”

So Casanella’s party turned into an example of how Cuba’s communist system tries to grind down the citizens it finds objectionable, starting out with low-level threats and ratcheting up the pressure if the targets refuse to change their behavior.

Cuban police and State Security agents can beat dissidents, arrest them for brief periods to harass or intimidate them, search their homes, seize their phones and computers, listen in on their conversations, and throw them out of school.

“But they also have psychological pressures, like anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night, a car that comes too close, an agent who stands there just to make sure you know he’s watching you,” dissident Guillermo Fariñas told a Miami audience last year.

Casanella said Díaz, a friend since high school, called him at the end of a trip to Europe to say that he was returning to Havana on Dec. 6, 2013, a Friday. Casanella promised him a welcome-back party at his own home that Saturday.

“That’s where the Kafka-esque machinery started,” wrote Lilian Ruiz, who first reported the case July 4 on Cubanet, a Miami-based portal for news on Cuba.

On the Thursday before the party, four elderly men and women he did not know approached him as he left his home in the Plaza neighborhood of Havana and threatened him, Casanella told el Nuevo Herald on Thursday.

“They said, ‘You cannot have any activities or parties these days,’ that other people could harm me, and they also could harm me,” he said. He asked what right they had to threaten him, but they refused to identify themselves and walked away.

Casanella said he presumed the four knew about the party from State Security monitors of Diaz’s telephone calls or perhaps his own. He has attended meetings of the dissident group Estado de SATS but said he does not consider himself to be a dissident.

Read more here:  State Security tactics

 

Porno para Ricardo

Cuban ‘Dissident’ Says He Was Really an Infiltrator 3

State Security collaborator Ernesto Vera

State Security collaborator Ernesto Vera

Lawyer Ernesto Vera said his main task was to attack and sow discord within two key Cuban opposition groups on the island.

By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com

A Cuban lawyer has confessed that he was a State Security collaborator for the four years he spent portraying himself as a dissident and harshly attacking two of the country’s most active opposition groups.

Ernesto Vera, 34, had been accused of being a collaborator last year, but his confession cast a rare spotlight on how State Security agents recruit informants and pay them thousands of dollars to discredit dissidents and generate rivalries among them.

Vera also pointed a finger at five other Cubans who in his view have been suspiciously critical of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) and the Ladies in White, the largest and most aggressive dissident groups on the communist-ruled island.

“My mission within State Security was to disparage and discredit UNPACU, especially its leader, José Daniel Ferrer, and the Ladies in White,” Vera told el Nuevo Herald by phone Wednesday from his home in the eastern city of Santiago De Cuba.

But he said he sat for a 44-minute video taped confession to Ferrer earlier this month because he was “disgusted with so many lies, the double life and faking a friendly relationship with people I hated so much.”

The two men shook hands at the end of the video.

State Security began the slow work of recruiting him as “Agent Jorge” after he was fired as a law professor at a medical school in Santiago, he said. Until then, he had been only on the periphery of dissident groups.

People who identified themselves as dissidents arranged to meet him in public places. But they were State Security agents and their meetings were videotaped — recordings then used to blackmail him into becoming an informant in 2010, Vera said. They also threatened to kill his mother and make it look like an accident unless he cooperated.

“I am ashamed to say I was a coward,” he told el Nuevo Herald, confirming that he had recorded the talk with Ferrer and written a three-page confession dated July 5 and published Tuesday by UNPACU.

“All of my attacks on José Daniel Ferrer and the Ladies in White were ordered by State Security,” he said. They were part of a one-two punch, “to discredit the dissidents and lessen the impact of the repression when it came.”

The lawyer said he falsely accused Ferrer of stealing money sent by supporters abroad and abusing his wife. He and another infiltrator also sparked the biggest schism within the Ladies in White, causing about 30 members in Santiago to break with the main group.

Vera said he wrote the attacks with information and photos provided by State Security Col. Ernesto Samper. He was paid several thousand dollars over four years so he could send his columns abroad via the Internet, which costs $6 to $10 per hour in Cuba.

Read more here: State Security agent Ernesto Vera

Editor’s Note:  For additional background, also see Cuban Dissidents Plant a Hoax to Trap Government Spies and Ladies in White Resign Over Alleged State Security Infiltrator