Lawyer Ernesto Vera said his main task was to attack and sow discord within two key Cuban opposition groups on the island.
By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com
A Cuban lawyer has confessed that he was a State Security collaborator for the four years he spent portraying himself as a dissident and harshly attacking two of the country’s most active opposition groups.
Ernesto Vera, 34, had been accused of being a collaborator last year, but his confession cast a rare spotlight on how State Security agents recruit informants and pay them thousands of dollars to discredit dissidents and generate rivalries among them.
Vera also pointed a finger at five other Cubans who in his view have been suspiciously critical of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) and the Ladies in White, the largest and most aggressive dissident groups on the communist-ruled island.
“My mission within State Security was to disparage and discredit UNPACU, especially its leader, José Daniel Ferrer, and the Ladies in White,” Vera told el Nuevo Herald by phone Wednesday from his home in the eastern city of Santiago De Cuba.
But he said he sat for a 44-minute video taped confession to Ferrer earlier this month because he was “disgusted with so many lies, the double life and faking a friendly relationship with people I hated so much.”
The two men shook hands at the end of the video.
State Security began the slow work of recruiting him as “Agent Jorge” after he was fired as a law professor at a medical school in Santiago, he said. Until then, he had been only on the periphery of dissident groups.
People who identified themselves as dissidents arranged to meet him in public places. But they were State Security agents and their meetings were videotaped — recordings then used to blackmail him into becoming an informant in 2010, Vera said. They also threatened to kill his mother and make it look like an accident unless he cooperated.
“I am ashamed to say I was a coward,” he told el Nuevo Herald, confirming that he had recorded the talk with Ferrer and written a three-page confession dated July 5 and published Tuesday by UNPACU.
“All of my attacks on José Daniel Ferrer and the Ladies in White were ordered by State Security,” he said. They were part of a one-two punch, “to discredit the dissidents and lessen the impact of the repression when it came.”
The lawyer said he falsely accused Ferrer of stealing money sent by supporters abroad and abusing his wife. He and another infiltrator also sparked the biggest schism within the Ladies in White, causing about 30 members in Santiago to break with the main group.
Vera said he wrote the attacks with information and photos provided by State Security Col. Ernesto Samper. He was paid several thousand dollars over four years so he could send his columns abroad via the Internet, which costs $6 to $10 per hour in Cuba.
Read more here: State Security agent Ernesto Vera
Editor’s Note: For additional background, also see Cuban Dissidents Plant a Hoax to Trap Government Spies and Ladies in White Resign Over Alleged State Security Infiltrator