How Cuba’s Spies Keep Winning 1

Headquarters of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), Cuba’s primary foreign spy service.

They’ve infiltrated another attempt to unseat Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady, Wall Street Journal

The failed landing on a rugged stretch of Venezuelan coastline last week by a band of mercenaries hoping to unseat Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro is another tragedy for the beleaguered nation.

The predawn mission was meant to capitalize on the element of surprise. But the irregular soldiers were immediately confronted by Venezuelan troops because their operation had been thoroughly penetrated by Cuban-backed Venezuelan intelligence. Some were killed in the fighting and more may have been executed. Among the captured are two Americans.

The debacle is demoralizing for an enslaved nation suffering dire privation and brutal repression. It is also an opportunity to reflect on Cuba’s asymmetric-warfare capabilities and the sophistication of its intelligence apparatus, which over more than a half-century has run circles around the U.S. Beyond the killing, the fiasco will deepen suspicion and distrust among the members of the opposition—particularly of “friends” who claim to have broken with the dictatorship.

The U.S. government has said it had no “direct involvement” in the seaborne operation. Jordan Goudreau, a former Green Beret who was the ring leader of the plot, did receive some interest in his services from advisers to U.S.-backed interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó. But Mr. Guaidó’s communications team has put out a statement insisting that the interim president never agreed to launching the operation.

Mr. Goudreau, who heads the U.S.-based security firm Silvercorp, apparently planned to provoke a military uprising, detain Mr. Maduro, and put him on a plane to the U.S.

There is near universal agreement that it was a reckless endeavor. Yet it is only the latest in a string of desperate attempts to try to bring down the dictatorship. And while the methods have varied, the common denominator in all the quashed uprisings has been how effectively Cuban-led intelligence has disrupted the plans. In some cases the plots may even have originated with state-security agents, who recruited eager patriots and mercenaries and set them up to be killed. This also reinforces a sense of futility among would-be rebels.

Whether it’s inside the military or among the ranks of the opposition, many Venezuelans now conclude that Cuban moles are everywhere and it’s too risky to put confidence in anyone. This is key to Havana’s control strategy in Venezuela. It is also standard practice on the island.

The struggle to liberate Venezuela is a proxy war between the U.S. and Cuba, which is backed by its allies Russia, Iran and China. The conflict drags on because Cuba has the edge where it matters.

When it comes to traditional military capabilities, the U.S. soars above its adversaries. But Havana dominates in deception, human intelligence and propaganda. It’s been that way from the early days of the Cuban dictatorship. “The Cubans were underestimated for more than a quarter of a century,” former CIA Cuba analyst Brian Latell wrote in his 2012 book, “Castro’s Secrets.” The U.S. thought it was dealing with “bush-league amateurs” until Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, a highly decorated Cuban agent, defected in 1987. That’s when the U.S. began to understand that Castro’s Cuba had “developed a foreign intelligence service that quickly rose into the ranks of the half dozen best in the world.” Moreover, “in some covert specialties, particularly in running double agents and counterintelligence,” over decades, Mr. Latell wrote, “Cuba’s achievements have been unparalleled.”

It’s a mistake to think this is only about people like high-ranking Pentagon intelligence analyst Ana Belén Montes, who was exposed as a Cuban spy in 2001 after some 16 years working for the enemy. Cuba has myriad ways of spreading disinformation, combating critics, and widening its influence. Return access to the island for journalists and academics, for example, is denied when there is unfavorable coverage, which is presumably why yours truly cannot get a visa.

Blackmail is another method of manipulation. I have twice interviewed a Cuban defector who told me it was his job in Cuba to retrieve videocassettes from hidden cameras in hotel rooms and official residences where visiting dignitaries were staying. The goal was to capture on film compromising behavior that could be used to extort political favors or, for example, force a resignation. With heavy political and diplomatic traffic to the island from Europe and Washington, it’s a safe bet that at least a few have been compromised in this way.

The Guaidó team now says it balked at the Goudreau plan in part because it did not trust former Venezuelan General Cliver Alcalá, whose brother is Mr. Maduro’s ambassador to Tehran but who claimed to have switched sides. Mr. Alcalá was taken into custody in the U.S. on drug-trafficking charges in March. But that he got close to the Guaidó team in the first place is another credit to Cuba’s intel network—most likely in this case with a lot of help from Iran.

Intelligence Officers in Cuba Ratchet Up Harassment of Christian Journalist 1

Officials increase threats in interrogations of Yoe Suárez

Independent Cuban journalist Yoe Suárez. (Courtesy of Yoe Suárez)

Independent Cuban journalist Yoe Suárez. (Courtesy of Yoe Suárez)

MIAMI (Morning Star News) – Intelligence officials in Cuba have increased harassment of an independent journalist, summoning the Christian and his mother twice in the past two weeks to threaten harsh consequences if he continues reporting on human rights issues, sources said.

As part of his Christian calling, Yoe Suárez has reported for non-state media outlets in Cuba since 2014 about human rights and freedom of religion issues, including the imprisonment of husband-and-wife pastoral team Ramón Rigal and Adya Expósito. They were imprisoned in April 2019 for homeschooling their children.

Following a series of interrogations and threats by Cuba’s Department of State Security (DSE, the island domestic intelligence branch) over the past year, an intelligence official identifying himself as a second-in-command-for-the-press summoned Suárez and his mother on April 3 to the Siboney Police Station, Playa municipality in Havana, according to Suárez.

The official, who identified himself as “Captain Jorge,” issued a series of implied threats to Suárez’s mother about consequences her 29-year-old son would suffer if he continued working as a reporter outside of Cuban intelligence controls, Suárez said.

“He told us, ‘You don´t know what a dungeon is, or what it is to have a patrol in front of your house,’” Suárez told Morning Star News.

Suárez added that the official said, “The Office of the Prosecutor and Minors can intervene,” suggesting they could take him into custody and also take custody of Suárez’s less than 2-year-old son. Cuban civil law’s Family Code states that “both parents, or one of them, will lose custody over their children when they are convicted as a sanction for a final sentence issued in criminal proceedings.”

“This time they were much less kind than the last,” Suárez told Morning Star News. “He mentioned to me an article of the penal code under which I qualified for the crime of mercenarism.”

Article continues here: Cuban Intelligence Targets Journalist 

 

Failed Cuban Spy Promoted to Deputy Director of Nationwide Snitch Program 1

Wife and husband (as well as former spies) Adriana Perez and Gerardo Hernandez

From Radio Havana Cuba:

Gerardo Hernandez Promoted to Deputy National Coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution

Havana, April 8 (RHC)– Gerardo Hernández, Hero of the Republic of Cuba and one of the Five Cuban anti-terrorists who were imprisoned in the United States, was promoted to Deputy National Coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), a mass organization that brings together an enormous percentage of the island’s population.

The announcement was made on the CDR’s Facebook page, where they wished success to the Cuban hero and deputy to the National Assembly of the People’s Power.

Hernandez was until now the vice-rector of the Raúl Roa García Institute of International Relations. The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution were founded by the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, on September 28, 1960. [edited for RHC by Jorge Ruiz Miyares].

Editor’s Note: Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, alias “Manuel Viramontes,” was arrested for espionage as a leader in the 40+ member spy ring known as the Wasp Network. Publically, he was lauded by the Cuban government for going to jail rather than accepting a plea agreement. In reality, however, Havana has always treated its jailed spies as “tainted” and therefore untrustworthy upon release. We hope he enjoys his irrelevant job overseeing his nation’s neighborhood snitch program. Community-based CDRs are low-level surveillance forces subordinate to the National CDR, which is a component of the National Revolutionary Police.

AMLO Plays With Fire – Jorge Castañeda, Former Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2

Jorge G. Castaneda (Photo by Bel Pedrosa)

By Yucatan Times

MEXICO (Agencies) – The former head of Mexico’s Foreign Affairs, Jorge Castañeda, questioned the presidential consideration of bringing in medical personnel from Cuba, the Caribbean nation presided over by Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Derived from the world crisis of coronavirus, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he is considering bringing Cuban doctors specialized in intensive care to Mexico. This statement, which opens the door for foreign medical personnel to cover faculties of the Mexican State, has been severely criticized by many in Mexico, amongst those: Jorge Castañeda Gutman, former head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), during Vicente Fox presidency.

“In honor of the truth, (López Obrador) did not say that he would do it, but he did say that he would consider it, (which) is very questionable from various points of view,” the Princeton University graduate began his analysis for the Latinus media.

Latinus is a new media outlet founded in the United States whose purpose is to reach Latin American audiences in that country. The recent creation of this platform is due to the broad demographic that Latinos represent in the 52 states of the United States. Currently, Latinos are the first minority in the United States, and Spanish is the second most spoken language in that country.

The first observation Castañeda makes is that in Mexico, what is lacking are job openings for doctors, not physicians. In other words, the service that Cuba could offer is unnecessary for the country, since the lack of health personnel is not necessarily a conflict for Mexico; “perhaps there is a problem with some young doctors who do not necessarily want to go to the areas of the country where they are most needed, but in their social service they do so a lot and have been doing so for many years.”

A second reflection is regarding the conditions in which Cuban doctors work abroad. “From Angola in the 1970s to Italy in 2020, the Cuban government charges a fortune in salary -to the government of each country- for each doctor that goes, but the doctor only receives a tiny fraction of that amount. Most of the money is kept in Cuba so that the health professional does not abandon the task and go to the United States.”

Feature continues here: Cuba’s Spy-Doctors

América Noticias obtuvo en exclusiva la sentencia contra una pareja de espías cubanos que operaba en España 3

 

América Noticias obtuvo la sentencia contra el matrimonio de espías cubanos que operaban en territorio español.

En este documento de cinco páginas la audiencia nacional de España se identificó a este matrimonio de espías cubanos que operaba en ese país desde hace una década.

Como Doña Barbara, nacida en Cuba en 1972 y como Don Rafael, ambos residentes legales en España desde el 23 de marzo de 2012 fueron identificados los dos espías cubanos a quienes se les negó la ciudadanía de ese país en un nuevo escándalo sobre el largo y oscuro brazo de la inteligencia castrista.

Como nuevo elemento esta noche conocemos que este matrimonio, y en especial Doña Barbara era espía del castrismo desde 2010 y operaba desde hace una década en Madrid.

El matrimonio tiene una hija nombrada Maite que es ciudadana española. En el documento oficial se explica que dona barbara realizo distintas actividades en favor de oficiales de inteligencia cubanos de alto nivel, incluso asistió a reuniones de diferentes índoles del interés de la inteligencia cubana, las cuales posteriormente negó.

Este nuevo incidente de espías cubanos sale a la luz en momentos en los cuales el embajador de cuba en España es Gustavo Machin, quien fue expulsado de estados unidos en noviembre de 2002, precisamente por espionaje.

Fuente: Daniel Benítez / Americateve.com

Ex-espía Juan Pablo Roque Crítica Película y Libro Sobre Red Avispa 1

Ex-espia Juan Pablo Roque

Por Carlos Cabrera Perez, CiberCuba

El exespía Juan Pablo Roque afirmó que se siente excluido en la película Wasp Network y calificó de “mierda” el libro Los últimos soldados de la Guerra Fría, que recoge la versión oficial del gobierno castrista sobre los hechos en los que participó durante su misión en Miami.

Roque, de 64 años, quien trabajó como agente doble para la Inteligencia cubana y el FBI, ofreció una entrevista exclusiva a CiberCuba tras ver esta semana en La Habana la película del realizador francés Olivier Assayas, basada en el libro del escritor brasileño Fernando Morais.

“Varios compañeros recomendaron al escritor y el cineasta que hablaran conmigo, pero a mí nadie me vino a ver y, aunque la película es más fiel a la verdad que ‘ese libro de mierda’, no deja de ser un filme comercial que se aleja bastante de la realidad porque cuenta las cosas como no fueron”, sostiene Roque.

El exagente aventura que las omisiones que contiene el filme podrían ser objeto de una demanda judicial, aunque no concretó si la emprenderá o es solo un deseo en voz alta.

“En la ficción aparezco nadando hasta la Base Naval de Guantánamo como si fuera un SEAL americano, con traje de neopreno, y la verdad es que yo nadé durante horas con una trusa remendada que había comprado cuando estudié en la Unión Soviética, unas patas de rana cosidas con alambre y una careta y snorkel inservibles”, aseguró Roque, que critica la omisión de los interrogatorios con detectores de mentira a los que fue sometido en la instalación norteamericana.

Antes de nadar, estuve escondido en el maletero de un jeep soviético GAZ-69 que estaba lleno de tornillos, tuercas y arandelas, que se me incrustaron en el cuerpo, y ya en el mar, un pez me hirió en un costado y tuve que estar hospitalizado en la base, recuerda el expiloto que fingió su deserción en 1992.

Morais, autor del libro que sirvió de base al guión de la película, “ofreció confianza a Cuba” para hacer un volumen que contribuyera a la causa de los 5 espías cubanos presos en Estados Unidos, pero encargaron de ese trabajo a Miguel Álvarez Sánchez, que “está preso aquí por ser agente de la CIA” y fue ese señor quien facilitó copia de fragmentos de expedientes al escritor brasileño.

El artículo continúa aquí: Avispa

Cuba Lays Out Rules Governing Surveillance, Informants 1

FILE – In this Nov. 14, 2019 file photo, Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel, center, visits with residents after arriving in Caimanera, Cuba. A new decree approved by Diaz-Canel Oct. 8 and made public Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, says prosecutors can approve eavesdropping and surveillance of any form of communication, without consulting a judge as required in many other Latin American countries. ISMAEL FRANCISCO, FILE AP PHOTO

By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press

Cuba has publicly laid out the rules governing the extensive, longstanding surveillance and undercover investigation of the island’s 11 million people.

A new decree approved by President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Oct. 8 and made public this week says prosecutors can approve eavesdropping and surveillance of any form of communication, without consulting a judge as required in many other Latin American countries. The law also creates official legal roles for informants, undercover investigators and sting operations.

The decree is intended to “raise the effectiveness of the prevention of and fight against crime,” according to the declaration in Cuba’s register of new laws and regulations.

The country’s powerful intelligence and security agencies have for decades maintained widespread surveillance of Cuban society through eavesdropping of all types and networks of informants and undercover agents, but their role has never been so publicly codified.

The decree describes a variety of roles: agents of the Interior Ministry authorized to carry out undercover investigations, cooperating witnesses who provide information in exchange for lenient treatment and sting operations in which illegal goods are allowed to move under police surveillance.

The law allows interception of telephone calls, direct recording of voices, shadowing and video recording of suspects and covert access to computer systems.

Unlike Cuba, many countries including Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, Chile and Bolivia require a judge to approve surveillance operations.

Labour Election Candidate Mark McDonald Helped Cuban Spy Overturn a Visa Ban And Come to the UK to Visit Parliament 1

A hard-Left Labour candidate helped a Cuban spy overturn a visa ban and visit Parliament after he was invited by Jeremy Corbyn (pictured)

• Barrister Mark McDonald won court battle to get intelligence officer Rene Gonzalez into Britain
• Mr McDonald is now standing in Stoke-on-Trent South after winning backing
• While a backbench MP, Mr Corbyn attended vigils in support of the jailed Cubans

By Martin Beckford For The Daily Mail

A hard-Left Labour candidate helped a Cuban spy overturn a visa ban and visit Parliament after he was invited by Jeremy Corbyn.

Barrister Mark McDonald won a court battle to get intelligence officer Rene Gonzalez into Britain on human rights grounds after Theresa May blocked him because of his conviction in the US for espionage.

He then attended the Westminster reception for Mr Gonzalez and his spy cell leader along with Mr Corbyn, who had campaigned for their release from prison in America and joined in their legal battle.

Mr McDonald is now standing in Stoke-on-Trent South after winning the backing of the Corbynite campaign group Momentum, ahead of two prominent local hopefuls.

In an article in 2016, he also dismissed widespread claims of anti-Semitism in Labour as ‘wholly without foundation’, although he admitted last night that it had since ‘become clear to me there are significant problems of anti-Semitism within the party’.

While still a backbench MP, Mr Corbyn regularly attended vigils in support of the jailed Cubans, who he finally met with the help of Mr McDonald.

The spies were part of a cell known as the ‘Wasp Network‘ who were caught by the FBI in Florida while trying to infiltrate Cuban exile groups hostile to Fidel Castro.

They were jailed in 2001 for espionage and their leader was also convicted of conspiracy to murder over the shooting down by the Cuban military of two planes belonging to an anti-Castro group, in which four pilots died.

Feature continues here: Cuban Spy’s UK Friend

DGI Defector: Cuban Intelligence Behind Chile Protests 1

Written by Christian Gomez, New American

A former Cuban intelligence officer affirms that Cuba’s intelligence service is carrying out destabilization efforts in Chile and that they are being directed out of the Cuban embassy in Santiago.

For 11 years, Enrique García Diaz served as an officer in the General Intelligence Directorate (DGI) — Cuba’s primary intelligence agency under the supervision of Cuba’s Ministry of Interior. During his years of active duty, García Diaz served as a vice consul in Bolivia and as a foreign trade representative in Ecuador. At the same time, however, he was actually an undercover agent for the DGI, in charge of surveillance operations in seven Latin American countries, including Chile.

García Diaz defected to Ecuador in 1989 and now lives in the United States. In an interview with the Chile-based, Spanish-language, online news publication El Líbero, he claims that the DGI (since renamed the Directorate of Intelligence, DI) retains much of the experience and training that it received from two KGB-run institutes located in the outskirts of Moscow. According to García Diaz, these KGB-run academies conducting training for Cuban intelligence in 1981-82 and another one for the chiefs of Cuban intelligence in 1985-86.

Throughout the Cold War, the leadership of the Soviet Union steadfastly encouraged and supported Marxist revolutions in non-communist countries. By the mid-1960s, the Soviet Union, through its espionage and intelligence service the KGB (now renamed FSB), had established special training centers for fomenting revolution at the Lenin Institute and Patrice Lumumba University, both in Moscow. The KGB also set up additional centers throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic, North Korea, and in Cuba.

At these centers, recruits from all over the world received special training in how to disseminate propaganda, handle small arms, make improvised explosives, and carry out asymmetrical warfare. Historically, under the direction of the Soviet Union, Cuba has played an instrumental role in inciting communist revolutions throughout Latin America.

Article continues here: Cuban Manipulation

 

The Cuban Empire 2

Ana Belen Montes

The threat few see

By Toby Westerman, Renew America

October 30, 2019

In America there is some awareness of the military threat posed by Russia and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). There have been warnings from the U.S. military concerning the PRC’s growing challenge to the U.S. in the Pacific. Russian ballistic missile and land forces are a reality to most Americans, a legacy from the Cold War, but all perspective relating to Moscow’s strategies and tactics are lost to millions in the U.S. on account of unsubstantiated charges of some effective interference in U.S. elections and the presence of Russian “agents.” While these assertions have been made loudly and received much media attention, solid proof has been lacking.

Not only has the Russian threat become a punch line in some political and media circles, but the very real danger coming from Russia and one of its most active client states seems to be ignored. The Communist gulag state of Cuba, an ally of Moscow for more than 60 years, poses an immediate threat to the United States both as a base for spying against the U.S. as well as a military danger to nations in the Western Hemisphere friendly to the U.S.

Within the U.S., Cuban espionage has been working to guide U.S. foreign policy, gather information on the readiness of the American military, and disrupt – even to the point of murdering – Cubans opposed to the Communist regime in Cuba. The arrest in 2001 of Ana Belen Montes, a former senior analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, provided a shocking example as to how effective Cuban intelligence could be.

Montes was the “go to” person on all things relating to Cuba, and her opinions helped mold U.S. policy toward Havana. While performing her top secret duties, she also informed her Cuban handlers of all the restricted information to which she was privy as a high ranking DIA advisor. (Montes is due to be released in 2027).

Earlier, in 1998, the FBI broke a spy ring referred to as the Wasp Network (La Red Avispa). Five of the ring were tried and convicted of charges ranging from being agents of a foreign power to conspiracy to commit murder. Sentences ranged from 15 years to two life terms for one individual. The U.S. Southern Command, which had recently moved from Panama to Florida, was a major target. [It should be noted that two served their sentences and three were released as part of a de facto prisoner swap.]

The reader should also be aware that the newly released spy-thriller, “Wasp Network,” by Oliver Assayas, has little in common with the actual activities of “La Red Avispa.” An editorial note on Cuba Confidential, which carries a September 2, 2019 review of the film, states “Any similarities between this movie and the real Wasp Network are purely coincidental…the real Wasp Network played a central role in the premeditated murder of four Americans, influenced the U.S. political system at the local, state and Federal levels; spied on numerous military targets including SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM, SOCOM, NAS Key West and Barksdale Air Force Base; intimidated American media outlets, manipulated the Cuban American community, etc.”

Article continues here: The Cuban Empire