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

 

 

 

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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

 

Canada Confirms 14th Case of Diplomat Falling Mysteriously Ill in Cuba 1

Canadian Embassy in Cuba (Courtesy BBC.com)

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN

(CNN) Canada has confirmed a 14th case of unusual health symptoms experienced by diplomatic staff in Havana, Cuba.

In a statement, the Canadian government acknowledged the case, and announced that diplomatic staff in Cuba would be halved. The number of diplomats at the Canadian embassy in Cuba will now be reduced from 16 to eight, according to a Canadian government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

“The health, safety and security of our diplomatic staff and their families remain our priority,” the statement said. “The Canadian government continues to investigate the potential causes of the unusual health symptoms experienced by some Canadian diplomatic staff and their family members posted in Havana, Cuba. To date, no cause has been identified.”

Cuban ambassador to Canada Josefina Vidal criticized the decision to cut staff as an “incomprehensible” move that “fuels speculation.” “This behavior favors those who in the United States use this issue to attack and denigrate Cuba,” she said. She emphasized Cuba’s cooperation in investigating the symptoms and affirmed the country’s commitment to good relations.

The Canadian statement said that after the last confirmed case of unusual health symptoms in November 2018, a number of Canadian diplomatic staff in Cuba underwent additional medical testing.

“These tests confirm that an additional employee has symptoms consistent with those of previously affected employees. This brings the total number of affected Canadian employees, spouses and dependents to 14.”

In April, Canada pulled all nonessential staff and diplomats’ family members, after testing concluded that their diplomats also suffered from mystery symptoms that included dizziness, ringing in the ears and memory loss.

The Canadian government said Wednesday there is no evidence that Canadian travelers to Cuba are at risk.

Feature continues here:  Sonic Attacks

 

U.S. Magazine Uses Retired Cuban Spy As “Source” For Story On Internet Freedom In Cuba – They Believe Him! Reply

Dr. Néstor García Iturbe

Editor’s Note:  The Progressive, a monthly magazine/website that touts itself as “A voice for peace, social justice, and the common good” announced last week that internet censorship no longer exists in Cuba. Writer Reese Erlich came to this stunning conclusion because, in part, because that’s what alleged academic Néstor García Iturbe told him. What Erlich failed to tell his readers is this “former Cuban diplomat” is actually a retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer. In fact, Colonel Néstor García Iturbe is one of the regime’s top experts in the targeting of Americans. Well known within U.S. intelligence circle, he is believed to be the longest serving Castro spy to have ever operated in the United States. He culminated his official espionage career as the Director of the Superior Institute of Intelligence (ISI), where Havana’s civilian intelligence officers are trained. He continues to publish pro-regime propaganda on a regular basis.

Foreign Correspondent: Does Cuba Censor the Internet? Think Again.

So far, U.S. government attempts to kickstart a Twitter revolution have failed.

by Reese Erlich, The Progressive

A group of Cubans stare intently at their smart phones here in Old Havana, checking emails and Googling news stories. They, and the millions of other Cubans who got access to Internet upgrades last month, defy the image of Cuba as a totalitarian state where citizens face Internet censorship.

Cubans can now subscribe to monthly plans providing roaming Internet connections for $7 per month. Others access the Internet from wifi hotspots for even less.

The Cuban government blocks access to the U.S. propaganda station TV Marti, as well as to some pro-U.S. blogs, but citizens have easy access to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and even the ultra-conservative Spanish edition of the Miami Herald. Twitter, Facebook, and cell phone apps such as IMO are also easily accessible.

“There’s virtually no Internet censorship in Cuba,” a U.S. journalist based in Havana told me during a recent trip.

Cuba has vastly improved Internet connectivity over the past fifteen years, but only about 40 percent of Cubans have Internet access, compared to a projected 61 percent for the rest of Latin America. This is largely because all smart phones must be imported and remain expensive for the average Cuban, who earns about $30 per month. I saw older model Samsung phones priced at $60 at one Havana store. A monthly plan providing 1 gigabyte of broadband with roaming costs $10.

Conservatives in the U.S. have argued that the Cuban government deliberately uses the high cost of connectivity to keep Cubans unaware of the benefits of U.S.-style democracy. When I first began reporting on the issue in the early 1990s, connecting to the Internet meant paying $12 an hour at a tourist hotel. In the ensuing years, Cubans could use a computer at a local post office at the rate of $5 an hour for an extremely slow connection.

But Internet access improved after 2012, when Venezuela laid a new optic cable to Cuba. More Cubans became able to use home dial-up connections along with wifi hotspots in parks, cyber cafes, and other public spaces. Students at University of Havana and other colleges now have free, but slow, wifi access.

Cuban government officials told me that the U.S. embargo on business dealings with Cuba serves to keep connectivity costs high for some users. The U.S. government stopped U.S. phone companies from laying new cables from Florida to Cuba, forcing the island to rely on far more expensive satellite connections.

Juan Fernández, a professor at the University of Information Sciences and advisor to the Communications Ministry on Internet issues, told me during a previous trip that U.S. companies control a lot of the computer hardware used for modern Internet connections.

“The U.S. is very close and could sell everything very cheap,” he said. “Yes, we can buy it in Asia, but it’s more expensive.”

Article continues here:  Cuban Censorship

Neighbors: The Family Secret That Grandmother Was A Spy Reply

Sara McCall left Cuba just after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Beyond that, her family had little idea of how she got to the U.S.
(Courtesy of Sara McCall)

By Jakob Lewis, Nashville Public Radio

After spending lots of time with family this week, maybe you found out something about a parent or grandparent that surprised you.

That’s what happened to relatives of Sara McCall, an 80-year-old woman who started opening up about her Cuban heritage after her son died unexpectedly.

The surprise? McCall worked for the U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base before the Cuban Missile Crisis. For a short period, she would ferry letters between U.S. officials and their contacts in Cuba.

“If they catch me, that’s it,” she remembers thinking. “I [can’t] go to the base anymore, or they go and kill me, or they put me in jail.”

Editor’s Note:  This story is an excerpt of NPR’s full-length Neighbors episode, “My Grandma’s A Spy.” Listen to the excerpt above, or hear the full version on their website or on any podcasting app.