Cuban Surfers Face Challenges + Surf Spies Reply

(Source: The Inertia) The New York Times published an interesting story today about some of the challenges that surfers face in Cuba, namely negotiating governmental regulations that seem to discourage participation in the sport – as well as a lack of technology and commerce to support a surf community.

But behind the tale of struggling surfers in Cuba was an intriguing nugget: at one point, surfers were clearly linked to international espionage, as a C.I.A.-backed NGO that staged a fake surf contest to smuggle banned satellite equipment into the country. Writes Nick Corasaniti:

A Cuban report linking surfers to the international spy game. In 2011, the state-run newspaper Granma reported (Operation Surf) that members of a C.I.A.-backed nongovernmental organization tried to smuggle banned satellite equipment into Cuba. Dishes were festooned with fake fins and broad stripes to replicate bodyboards and skimboards. The group tried to use the surfers as middlemen, even going so far as to stage a fake surf event in Baracoa, on the eastern end of the island, to create an air of legitimacy. The mission was eventually “uncovered” by a Cuban double agent. International surf spies. That’s pretty badass. The rest of the article is too, but that’s the type of made-for-tv grandeur that’s too interesting to be untrue.

Read the full New York Times story here. Before the Waves, the Hurdles

Editor’s Note: Jean Guy Allard, one of the three “journalists” who authored the Granma article, was identified as an agent of Cuban Intelligence in 2008 by a former member of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), Havana’s foreign intelligence service.

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