Yesterday’s feature by Amy Sherman in the Tampa Bay Times contained the following major lie: “There have been allegations that Cuban Intelligence was connected to the [Venceremos] Brigade and that the Cuban military gave weapons training to the group.” [emphasis added].
Let us quickly examine several key facts Ms. Sherman overlooked due to sloppy and irresponsible research, simple political bias or a lack of ethics.
The main goal of Cuban Intelligence in supporting the Venceremos Brigade (VB) is to find politically motivated individuals who might someday work for the U.S. government. Such employment provides Havana with access to much-needed classified information. Americans with political contacts or relatives in the U.S. government are prized by Cuba’s primary spy service, known as the DGI (Horrock, p. 1).
The VB was created in 1969. The DGI quickly began tasking VB members to collect publicly available information. This was done to conserve Cuban resources, maximize Havana’s collection of open-source material and to test a VB member’s degree of support. The DGI found telephone books to be an especially useful item, as the books could identify and verify the identity of high-interest personnel. VB members also provided considerable details on U.S. Congressional members, staff and their relatives (US Senate, 26 Feb 82).
Militant members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) split off to form the Weather Underground [terrorist group] in 1969. It was the mission of spy-diplomats at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN) to cultivate this revolutionary fervor and carefully screen those selected for weapons training under the guise of VB service. According to the FBI, “A very limited number of VB members have been trained in guerrilla warfare techniques, including the use of arms and explosives” (Horrock, p. 1). Additional corroboration was provided by Julie Nichamin, a principal organizer for Americans headed to Cuba for VB service. She helped identify CMUN Counselor Jesus Jimenez Escobar’s role in targeting U.S. interests using VB members (US Senate, 30 Jul 75; Castro Hidalgo, p. 109).
Castro Hidalgo, Orlando. Spy For Fidel. Miami: E.A. Seeman Publishers, 1971.
Horrock, Nicholas M. “F.B.I. Asserts Cuba Aided Weathermen,” New York Times, 9 October 1977, p. 1.
United States Senate – Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee of the Judiciary. “Terroristic Activity: The Cuban Connection and Puerto Rico,” 30 July 1975.
_________. Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism — Committee on the Judiciary, “The Role of Cuba in International Terrorism and Subversion: Intelligence Activities of the DGI,” 26 February 1982.