Failed Spy Turns Politician Reply

Editor’s Note: In 2014, Fernando González-Llort became Vice President of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, better known by its Spanish acronym ICAP. While not technically a component of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), ICAP is an intelligence front with a long history since its creation in 1960. It consists of a large cadre of collaborators who are overseen by a small team of embedded DI officers. González-Llort is now the ICAP President and a member of Cuba’s one-party Parliament.

During his years as a spy in America, he served in the Wasp Network – the largest espionage ring ever known to have operated against the United States. This network targeted the U.S. military; U.S. politicians at the local, state and Federal level, Cuban-American exiles and played a central role in the 1996 shootdown of two Brothers to the Rescue aircraft flying a humanitarian mission in international airspace.

Below readers will find an alternative version of this failed spy’s life from India’s “The Telegraph:

 

Fernando González Llort outside the CPM central committe office in New Delhi Picture by Pheroze L Vincent

One of Cuban Five: Soldier, Spy and now a Politician

‘If big business funds you, who are you going to serve after getting elected?’

By Pheroze L. Vincent in New Delhi

From 1998 to 2014, Left groups across the world usually greeted visiting American delegations with slogans demanding the release of the Cuban Five.

The five spies had infiltrated anti-communist militias of Cuban exiles in Florida and were arrested for espionage by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1998.

The last of the five was released in December 2014 in exchange for a Cuban national in jail for spying for the US. One of them, Fernando González Llort, released in February 2014, went on to become a member of Cuba’s parliament last year. He is also president of the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (abbreviated in Spanish as ICAP) — the island nation’s international solidarity front.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, González Llort, on a solidarity tour with Che Guevara’s daughter Aleida to mark 60 years of the Cuban revolution, said US President Donald Trump’s activation of Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, 1996, in addition to the existing economic blockade, was “asphyxiating the Cuban economy”, especially its famed health sector.

Article continues here: Failed Spy Turns Politician

 

 

 

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Cuba’s Intelligence Masterstroke in Venezuela Reply

Poster of deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

By Jose Miguel Alonso-Trabanco, GeoPoliticalMonitor.com

Much has been said about the behavior of Venezuela’s Bolivarian regime, its evolving character, its dramatic economic mismanagement, and the impact it has projected throughout the American hemisphere, including its bilateral ties to Cuba.

At a first glance, it would seem that – based on classical international relations scholarship referents when it comes to assessing national power such as population, territory, natural resources, and sheer economic size – Venezuela is the senior partner. Yet a crucial factor is missing to examine how the balance of power truly works in the dynamic framework of said bilateral relation.

Beyond the evident ideological, political, and diplomatic affinities between the rulers of both countries, the crucial factor that has been overlooked even by most experts is the strong presence and operational intensity of Cuban intelligence agencies in Venezuela. A different picture – one that challenges conventional wisdom – might emerge when one considers this angle.

Such a topic is important considering its deep geopolitical implications. It also raises pertinent questions: What if Venezuela is not necessarily the senior partner after all? The fact that it has not been addressed is perhaps a result of the intrinsically covert nature of intelligence activities. Moreover, both regimes are not precisely known for their compliance with basic transparency standards. In practice, that means relevant and reliable information about it is notoriously scarce. Nevertheless, the analysis of what open sources provide is useful to elaborate a more or less accurate – yet broad – situational assessment.

Profile of Cuban Intelligence Services

According to conventional wisdom, effective foreign intelligence capabilities are usually associated with great powers. The American CIA, the British MI6, the Israeli Mossad, the Russian SVR and the like often come to mind whenever the term is mentioned. Of course, such perception is hardly unjustified. In contrast, Cuba is certainly far from being a great power, yet the reach of its intelligence services must not be underestimated.

The Cuban Intelligence Directorate – known as G2 – was initially trained by the Soviet KGB and the Stasi, the East German Ministry of State Security, the strongest intelligence agencies of the Socialist bloc during the Cold War. Moreover, the resilience that has played a key role in the survival of the Cuban communist regime for six decades can be at least partially attributed to its intelligence services’ abilities to monitor internal dissent, consolidate political rule, and keep at bay external rivals. It is even said that Fidel Castro himself was the target of hundreds of unsuccessful assassination attempts.

It is known that the Cuban intelligence community recruits promising college students, especially from social science programs. Its training and methods are based on the development of professionalism rather than improvisation, unlike other Latin American intelligence agencies. Furthermore, a heavy ideological ingredient promotes a strong morale.

Another aspect worth emphasizing is that Cuban intelligence has not just assumed a defensive position. Actually, it has been remarkably active abroad for decades. For instance, it supported several Marxist insurgencies in Central and South America during the Cold War. It has also managed to infiltrate US national security agencies and Cuban American political groups hostile to Havana’s socialist regime.

Last but not least, Cuban intelligence supported the military involvement of the country’s armed forces in extra-regional operational theatres such as Angola, Vietnam, and even the Middle East during the Yom Kippur War.

In short, despite Cuba’s structural limitations – including its precarious economy – the country’s intelligence services represent a big asset in terms of power projection. In effect, they need to be understood as a substantial force multiplier.

Article continues here: Cubans in Venezuela

 

City of Secrets: A Real Spy Is Never Who You Think They Are 1

DIA analyst Ana Belen Montes, 44, was arrested on Sept. 21, 2001 and charged with conspiracy to deliver U.S. national defense information to Cuba. (Courtesy FBI)

By J.J. Green | @JJGreenWTOP June 19, 2019 4:50 am

In WTOP’s three-part series “City of Secrets,” WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green talks to some of the best in the espionage game to find how spies have infiltrated Washington, D.C. and what can be done to catch them.

Nothing stood out about her.

She lived in a modest two-bedroom cooperative apartment on a quiet tree-lined street in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood. She drove a red 2000 Toyota Echo. She banked at Riggs Bank in the District’s Friendship Heights section. She was bright, engaging, trusted and well-adjusted at work.

But she was also something else.

Ana Belen Montes, 44, was a spy — engaged in one of the most devastating espionage operations in the history of the United States.

She was arrested on Sept. 21, 2001, and charged with conspiracy to deliver U.S. national defense information to Cuba.

Her arrest dealt a blow to the U.S. government, because she was a senior-level analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Her cover worked perfectly until, according to FBI documents, “an astute DIA colleague — acting on a gut feeling — reported to a security official that he felt Montes might be under the influence of Cuban intelligence.”

Scott Carmichael, now a former senior security and counterintelligence investigator for the Defense Intelligence Agency, was that “astute colleague.”

Another colleague who had suspicions was Chris Simmons, former chief of the Americas team with DIA’s counterintelligence research unit.

“There were gatherings in D.C. at various academic forums where Cuban intelligence officers would show up to do presentations, and she and other DIA employees went there. But they were warned by security to stop attending because ‘you’re at risk,’” Simmons said.

All the others stopped attending, he said, “but she refused.”

It wasn’t until she received an ultimatum, according to Simmons — “stop attending or get fired” — that she ceased going to the events.

Montes was so skilled at spying that during her years at DIA, even though security officials learned about her foreign policy views and were concerned about her access to sensitive information, they had no concrete reason to believe she was sharing secrets. Besides, she had passed a polygraph.

Feature continues here: Real Spies

 

 

 

Some 200 Cuban Intelligence Advisers Operate in Nicaragua Reply

Officials of the regime leaked that Cuban agents have been in charge of training police and state officials in repressive tactics, espionage and control of prisons and border posts. File photo: La Prensa

Cuban agents have been operating in Nicaragua since 2007, but in a more intense and numerous way since 2018, in the wake of the April 18 rebellion.

By Jose Adan Silva  (La Prensa)

HAVANA TIMES – Up to two hundred Cuban Intelligence advisers operate in Nicaragua on a regular basis, according to high-level sources linked to the Ortega-Murillo government.

According to the information, ratified by two sources linked to government structures, Cubans who operate as “advisers” in Nicaragua are members of the State Security Forces of that county, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior.

Cubans have been operating in Nicaragua since 2007, but in a more intense and numerous way since 2018, in the wake of the April 18 rebellion and since they have doubled their presence with training programs for Ortega’s Police, Migration and Immigration authorities, Customs and prison system officials.

According to one source, the Cubans arrive with an official and diplomatic passport.

Most are received by Protocol and attended in the special window at the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport.

On most occasions they are met by personnel and officers of the Cuban embassy, sometimes Nicaraguan officials arrive, such as from the Foreign Ministry, Interior (Ministry) and the Police; as well as retired military working as political operators of the regime.

They come directly from La Habana on flights of Conviasa, the Venezuelan Airlines, or from Venezuela making a stopover in Panama. However, most of advisers travel on Conviasa flights among ordinary Cuban migrants who come to the country as tourists [often to buy products for resale in Cuba] or to travel to the United States in search of asylum.

According to the information obtained under protective measures, some Cuban officials return to the island within two days, for which it is suspected that their mission was to follow or watch over Cuban tourists on their trip to Nicaragua, but most remain between two and four months providing training to local officials.

“The classes taught by the Cubans are about personal defense, shooting with small arms, subversive activities, operational psychology, criminalistics, document analysis, tactics and interview (read as interrogation) techniques, internal security measures (for the airports and migratory posts),” the source explained.

Some theoretical training is carried out in the offices of the Silvio Mayorga building, headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior. Other practical lessons are carried out on the grounds of the Jorge Navarro penitentiary system in Tipitapa; others in police headquarters such as Plaza El Sol, the Walter Mendoza Academy and the Institute of Criminalistics and Forensic Sciences.

In the same way, the practices are developed in the air, land and water terminals with national and Cuban instructors.

Feature continues here: Cuban Intelligence in Nicaragua

 

 

 

Report: Cuban Spy Documents Target Security at Miami’s Airport. MIA Says No Breach. Reply

A TSA checkpoint at Miami International Airport. A report says Cuban intelligence has sought information on security at MIA. Al Diaz ALDIAZ

By Douglas Hanks and Nora Gámez Torres

Miami International Airport on Monday downplayed documents reportedly leaked from Cuban intelligence services showing that informants in the county facility were passing on security codes and other confidential information.

The documents reported by the CiberCuba website depict clandestine memos of MIA’s internal passcodes and other details sent by an unnamed operative referred to as “El Gordo.” A Jan. 9, 2017, document, published by CiberCuba, has a message from an “Agent Charles” reportedly passing on airport passcodes to some restricted areas of MIA. The operation described in documents, spanning the years between 2015 and 2017, was dubbed “Programa Recolector.”

“I’m sending here two PIN from MIA security,” one of the memos reproduced on the website says. “Access to secure areas. Miami International Airport.”

Lester Sola, Miami-Dade County’s aviation director, said the information in the allegedly leaked documents was not credible. For instance, he said, the colors of the airport’s security protocols were not as described in the documents.

“We don’t believe the information in the documents is credible,” Sola told the Miami Herald. “We believe nothing in the report poses a credible security threat. But we didn’t ignore the information. Out of an abundance of caution, we have shared it with our federal partners. The FBI is looking into it.”

The documents appear to have blacked-out passcodes, and an alleged copy of a Department of Transportation ID for an aviation mechanic.

Sola’s predecessor at MIA, Emilio Gonzalez, reviewed some of the documents for CiberCuba and said they raised concerns if authentic. “These codes give direct access to any part of the airport,” Gonzalez told the website. “That the Cuban government has people inside the facility with that level of accessibility is really worrying.”

Gonzalez, a retired colonel who once worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and now serves as Miami’s city manager, declined to comment Monday afternoon. The documents published by CiberCuba were dated between 2015 and 2017, overlapping with Gonzalez’s tenure as MIA director from 2013 to late 2017.

Jose Abreu, the county’s aviation director before Gonzalez, also called the report troubling. “If the report is accurate, it’s worrisome,” said Abreu, an engineer who is now a senior vice president at the Gannett Fleming consulting firm. “Because there are security sensitive areas in the airport. There’s no question about that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Trilogy on “Cuban Zipper” Spy Saga Underway Reply

British Actress Maria Pazouros

British Actress Set to Co-Star in International Spy Thriller

(MENAFN – PRLog) Cuban Lightning Ent. Vice President Announces Maria Pazouros as Co-Star of Upcoming Film Trilogy 1 2 3 4 5 Extraordinarily Talented Actress Maria Pazouros “Cuban Lightning – The Zipper” The 1st Feature of the Trilogy The Real-Life International Spy, Dr. Julio Antonio Del Marmol Maria Pazouros Set to Star — An Amazing talent! Outstanding British Actress Maria Pazouros

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – April 8, 2019 – PRLog — Tad Atkinson, Vice President of Cuban Lightning Enterprises, was responding to media questions at Hollywood’s famous Chinese Theater. “Maria Pazouros is one of the most talented actors we’ve seen in the past quarter century,” he said beaming. “We are delighted at the prospect of Ms. Pazouros co-starring in our film trilogy.”

“Cuban Lightning: The Zipper,” the first feature film in the series, is in active development and set to go before the cameras later this year. The sequel is expected to begin production in 2020 with the third in the series shooting the following year.

“Dr Marmol is extraordinary at his job,” Atkinson asserted. “He should be – He’s been doing it successfully for over fifty years.” Looking directly into the camera, Atkinson explained, “We’re doing a trilogy, a series of three $50 million feature films that tell Dr. Marmol’s fascinating life as a master spy.

Atkinson explained one of the main characters. “We’ve been looking for an extraordinary actress to play the role of Zylina Gataki.” Atkinson paused, looked over at Dr. Marmol, smiled, and added, “Of course, the character name may change to the real name when we begin production – we have to be careful since the films are based on real people.” Dr. Marmol gave a slight nod of approval.

“When we saw Maria Pazouros’ acting work, her movies, we were amazed,” Atkinson continued. “We searched for the perfect actor to play Zylina for nearly a year. A few actors were close, but Maria Pazouros was – and is – perfect. She’s extraordinarily talented and a wonderful person with great personality. We intend to keep her working here for at least the next four years.”

“We have several major name stars set – we’ll announce them as we get closer to the production date – and we, again, are really impressed with Maria Pazouros,” Mr. Atkinson reiterated. “What an extraordinarily talented actor! Suffice it to say we are very excited!”

Press Release continues here: Cuban Zipper

A Cuban Spy in Politics, Culture And Art in Mexico 1

Teresa Proenza. Image: DCubanos

At 7:00 p.m tonight, the book “Do not Forget“: Teresa Proenza (1908-1989). A Cuban spy in politics, culture, and art in Mexico, by historian Xavier Guzmán Urbiola will be presented in the Sala Adamo Boari of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

“I wrote it from affection, I’m not interested in prosecuting anyone, I do it as a historian,” said Guzmán Urbiola, who met Proenza and struck up a friendship with her for several years.

Among anecdotes, stories, events, and information revealed so far, Xavier Guzmán Urbiola delves into the enigmatic life of Teresa Proenza.

Nobody had gathered this information, the book is made with first-hand sources, such as the Proenza file, which is housed in the National Center for Research, Documentation, and Information of Plastic Arts (Cenidiap) of the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL), as well as its file in the Federal Security Directorate (DFS).

80 percent of what is mentioned is unknown, many people who had access to the manuscripts, and now the book, is amazed at the number of episodes and events it contains. It is full of surprises, said Guzmán Urbiola.

Teresa Proenza

Teresa Proenza was born in Cuba in 1908 and died in 1989 in Mexico; her career covers almost the 20th century. “I tried to make the story of a typical Communist militant, with all its commitments, dreams, disenchantments, self-criticism and changes in approaches.”
She has to live very unique situations of the twentieth century and treats outstanding people. she leaves Cuba because of a bombing of her house, for the communist militancy of her brothers.

The year was 1932, the sons fled to Colombia, and the parents sent their sister Caridad to Guatemala, while Teresa and Juana Luisa went to Honduras.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

In 1933, Teresa arrives in exile in Mexico. It is the end of the maximato and principle of cardenismo. She is involved in various movements, is an activist and correspondent in the Spanish Civil War. During the Battle of Teruel sends collaborations to Cuban newspapers.

Later, in 1945, she met Narciso Bassols, Enrique González Martíne, and Diego Rivera, with whom she began to establish closer and closer relations of friendship; although they differ in politics, they admire the artist very much.

Xavier Guzmán comments that Teresa Proenza told him that knowing Diego was the “balm that helped her overcome her sectarianism”.

Feature continues here: Cuban Spy in Mexico

Diplomats Sue Canada Government Over Mystery Illness in Cuba 1

The diplomats say Ottawa misled staff in Havana about the seriousness of the mysterious illness (Reuters)

By the BBC

A group of Canadian diplomats is suing the country’s government for C$28m ($21.1m; £16.4m) after they succumbed to a mysterious illness in Cuba.

The group of 14, including diplomats’ family members, says Ottawa took too long to warn, evacuate and treat them.

Last year, Canadian and US officials were recalled from Havana after complaining of dizziness and migraines.

The cause of the illness is unknown, but Canada has discounted the idea of a “sonic attack” on its embassy.

In a statement, the diplomats said: “Throughout the crisis, Canada downplayed the seriousness of the situation, hoarded and concealed critical health and safety information, and gave false, misleading and incomplete information to diplomatic staff.”

“My wife, she isn’t the same anymore,” one unnamed diplomat told Canadian broadcaster CBC.

“She has gaps in her memory, headaches, problems hearing. She picks up the telephone to make a call but forgets why, enters rooms without reason.”

According to CBC, staff at the Canadian embassy began experiencing symptoms of the so-called “Havana syndrome” in spring 2017.

Several families were subsequently moved from Havana, but until April 2018 Canada continued to post new staff to Cuba despite warnings from US counterparts who had received similar complaints.

The US withdrew most of its non-essential personnel from the country in September 2017 and said 21 embassy employees had been affected.

Last month, Canada said it would be cutting its embassy staff by up to half.

At a news conference in Washington, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was aware of the lawsuit.

“I am not going to comment on the specifics, but I do want to reiterate that I have met with some of these diplomats and, as I said to them, their health and safety needs to be our priority.”

Cuba has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident.

The country’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, said US claims were a “political manipulation” aimed at damaging bilateral relations.

 

 

 

 

The Irish Times Highlights Key Role of Cuban Spies in Keeping Venezuelan Regime in Power Reply

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó waves to supporters at a rally against President Nicolás Maduro’s government in Caracas. Photograph: Carlos Barria

Maduro Holds on to Power Despite Domestic and Global Pressure

Rallies support incumbent and rival Guaidó, as Venezuela’s army backing may be on wane

Tom Hennigan, The Irish Times

Rival presidents led rival mass rallies in Venezuela this weekend as the country’s political stand-off intensified with embattled President Nicolás Maduro backing a plan to move against the last bastion of the opposition after its leader, Juan Guaidó, declared himself interim president on January 23rd.

Speaking at a rally to commemorate 20 years in power for his populist Chavismo movement, Maduro once again ruled out stepping aside and holding new presidential elections as demanded by most countries in the Americas and the European Union.

But he backed a proposal by his own United Socialist Party of Venezuela to bring forward to this year elections for the national assembly, the country’s only institution controlled by the opposition.

“They want to bring forward elections? Let’s have elections!” said a defiant Maduro, whose government has been widely denounced for blatant poll-rigging in recent years.

Meanwhile at a rival rally in Caracas, Guaidó renewed his calls for the military to abandon the regime on the same day that an air force general became the most senior serving officer to recognise him as president. In a video posted on Saturday on social media, Francisco Yánez said a democratic transition was imminent. “People of Venezuela, 90 per cent of the armed forces are not with the dictator,” he added.

Cuban intelligence

Venezuela’s high command has declared its loyalty to Maduro but there are increasing signs of splits within the military, with the regime believed to be ever more reliant on a spy network run by Cuban intelligence officers to identify and neuter attempted insurrections against the regime by lower-ranking officers.

Guaidó called on supporters to keep up the pressure on Maduro to quit what he classified as his “usurpation” of the presidency by holding more rallies this month. He also announced humanitarian aid from the United States would soon be arriving via Colombia, Brazil and an unnamed Caribbean island and called on soldiers manning the frontier to let it enter the country. Maduro denounced the aid operation as a pretext for a military intervention by the US.

Article continues here:  Cuban Spies Prop Up Venezuela Government