Today in History: Grenada Destroyed Cuba’s On-Island Spy Operations 2

Following the October 1983 US invasion, Paul Scoon, Grenada’s Governor General expelled Havana’s Ambassador, the Embassy’s communications officer, and most of its diplomatic staff.  Scoon directed that Havana keep no more than one diplomat on the island. The Cuban Embassy originally rejected the expulsion order and said its staff would remain until all Cuban prisoners were return to Cuba.

Shortly afterwards, Cuba relented and chose America Department (DA) officer Gaston Diaz to remain as its Charge d’Affaires.  However, the Scoon government and its US allies made it politically and operationally difficult for Havana to host a viable Embassy. On November 23, 1983, Diaz received orders from Grenadian/US authorities that directed the immediate departure of the Cuban Embassy’s communications technician and all communications equipment. This order eviscerated Diaz’ ability to conduct intelligence operations. Thereafter, his job was reduced to recovering Cuban equipment seized by US forces and selling off Embassy property prior to closing the Embassy.

Editor’s Note:  The America Department (DA) 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).



  1. The fact that Cuba had an embassy with a diplomatic staff on such a small island, only 344 square km. and less than 100 000 inhabitants at that time clearly indicates that Castro had a big design in mind.

    There were also 700 Cuban construction workers, teachers, doctors, agricultural experts and military advisers on the island, in short the usual personnel needed for controlling the country and its policy. Prime minister Maurice Bishop may had been the nominal leader of Grenada but the Cubans were calling the shots. The same is true today in respect to Venezuela where Cuban MININT and MINFAR personnel are working out of the Miraflores Presidential Palace despite the fact that Hugo Chávez seems to be in full control of his country.

    In 1983, at the time of the US invasion of Grenada, which was also supported by a number of Caribbean states, the Cubans were building an airport with a capacity which exceeded by far the needs of a tiny island. It was feared that the airport would serve as a refueling point for Cuban transport planes delivering weapons to Central American guerrilla groups. Even the largest Soviet military transport planes could have used the runway of the airport being built by the Cubans. Actually, many of them belonged to the special forces and military engineers and this explains why they were able to put up such a stiff resistance to the US forces which eventually resulted in at least 25 of them being killed and twice as many wounded.

    The “communications technician” of the Cuban embassy, expelled after the 1983 invasion, was actually the code clerk, the second most important person in a communist embassy after the “resident”, or chief of station of the espionage agency. Given the fact that the communications technician was working closely with DA officer Gastón Díaz , leaves no doubt about the true nature of his “communications”. And when the staff of the Cuban embassy in Grenada was at full strength, over 50% of it must have been undercover MININT or DA agents as prescribed by the KGB. Has this balance changed today? No way, as the Cuban communist regime feels more insecure and thinks that espionage and repression are the universal cure to all its ills.

    Sergio Klein
    November 24, 2012

  2. Grenada was a total defeat for the Castro communists,this invasion marked the end of Cuban/Soviet expansionism in the Caribbean region.In Grenada those 700 construction workers were part of a Cuban Army Combat Engineer Unit,The Cubans also had MININT Personnel and DI personnel as well,there were Soviet KGB,Bulgarian,East German,North Korean and Libyan
    agents as well.The airport the Cubans were building was for military purpose due to the fact that Grenada was lacking an Air force.

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