Pro-Castro Group From New York Awards “Nelson Mandela Prize” to Convicted Cuban Spies 1

Sandra Levinson, Executive Director of the Center for Cuban Studies

Sandra Levinson, Executive Director of the Center for Cuban Studies

By Chris Simmons

Philadelphia’s Geller Foundation granted its newly established Nelson Mandela prize to the Cuban Five – the former leaders of Cuba’s failed Wasp spy network.

In reality, the Geller Foundation is actually led by members of the New York City entity – the Center for Cuban Studies. Sandra Levinson, the Center’s Executive Director, presented the prize to released spies Rene and Fernando Gonzalez and the relatives of the still-incarcerated members of the Cuban Five. The ceremony was held last week at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship With The Peoples (ICAP).

Former Directorate of Intelligence Officer Juan Reyes Alonso said ICAP is not a DI entity per se, but that it is overwhelmingly influenced by the intelligence service. Reyes Alonso claimed ICAP is penetrated by a small cadre of bona fide DI officers who are aided by a large staff of agents (i.e., collaborators). As a result, roughly 90% of ICAP is thought to be DI-affiliated. Similarly, the New York Times has reported on ICAP’s intelligence ties as far back as 1983.

As background, the Center for Cuban Studies hosted the first National Conference on Cuba from November 2-4, 1979. US participants included Congressman Ron Dellums, the Puerto Rican socialist party, union representatives, legal scholars, and innumerable academics. Havana sent 15 participants, to include intelligence officers Alfredo García Almeida and Ramón Sánchez-Parodi Montoto.

Two years earlier, columnist Jack Anderson had identified Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN) “diplomat” Julian Enrique Torres Rizo as the chief of Havana’s US-based intelligence operations. The Center for Cuban Studies allowed Torres Rizo, a senior America Department (DA) officer, to have an office in its facility.

The America Department 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).

One comment

  1. Sandra Levinson is a pro-Castro activist since the late 1960s, when she went to Cuba as a member of the Venceremos Brigade. The fact that she has been an unwavering supporter of the Castro dynasty for so long, arose suspicion in the DGI that she is a CIA operative, according to the debriefing of Jesus Perez Mendez in 1983, who identified her as being “controlled by ICAP.”

    Click to access Perez-Mendez-debriefing.pdf

    More information on the National Conference on Cuba here
    which had the participation of accused DGI spy Marifeli Perez-Stable.
    Julian Torres Rizo, who handled the Venceremos Brigade for the DGI as First Secretary of the Cuban Mission to the U.N., in 1978 married Gail Reed, of the Center for Cuban Studies, He was the Cuban Ambassador in Granada when Chris Simmons and U.S. troops landed on the island in 1983 and surrounded the Cuban embassy.

    Click to access reed.pdf

    Torres Rizo was expelled from Castro’s Foreign Ministry for cowardice and Gail Reed quickly divorce him.

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