EXCLUSIVE: Senior Cuban Spies Leading “Normalization” Talks With US 12

Josefina Vidal

Josefina Vidal

Gustavo Machin

Gustavo Machin

Josefina Vidal Expected Choice as Cuban Ambassador to US

By Chris Simmons

Two career Cuban spies, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro and Gustavo Machin Gomez, will lead this week’s migration and normalization discussions with the United States. The pair are members of Cuba’s primary foreign intelligence service – the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), and serve as Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of the North American Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX).  This is Machin’s second time in the Division, having served as Deputy Chief in 2003 and Division Chief from 2004-2005.

As Havana’s lead “diplomats” on U.S.-Cuban relations, they handled the Alan Gross negations, the return of three of Havana’s jailed spies, and the artificial insemination of DI officer Adriana Perez O’Connor (wife of freed spy Gerardo Hernandez). Perez herself was a member of the Wasp Network – the largest Cuban spy ring ever known to operate in the US. Incidentally, when details are eventually released regarding the Obama administration’s secret talks to restore US-Cuba relations, Vidal and Machin will undoubtedly be at the center of events.

From the DI’s perspective, MINREX’s North America Division is now seen as a de facto wing of the spy service. This assignment is so important that three former members were appointed to ambassadorships. Now we are witnessing the unprecedented return of Ambassador Gustavo Machin to serve as Josefina Vidal’s deputy. Given this pattern of events, I think it’s fairly safe to say Vidal is Raul Castro’s choice to be the first Cuban Ambassador to the United States.

Espionage Backgrounds

Little is publicly known about Vidal’s espionage career.  In May 2003, the US expelled 14 Cuban diplomats for espionage. Seven diplomats were based at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations and seven at the Interests Section. Among the seven Washington-based spies declared Persona Non Grata was First Secretary Jose Anselmo Lopez PereraHis wife, First Secretary Josefina Vidal, also known to the US as a Cuban Intelligence Officer, voluntarily accompanied her expelled spouse back to Cuba.

Previously, Vidal’s lone known success was her support to the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); in particular, Julia E. Sweig, a CFR Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Latin America Program. In her book, Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground, Sweig profusely thanked six Cuban spies for assisting her with her research. The six intelligence officers were Jose Antonio Arbesu, Ramon Sanchez Parodi, Fernando Garcia Bielsa, Hugo Yedra, Jose Gomez Abad and Josefina Vidal.

The son of a revolutionary hero, Gustavo Machin Gomez, was expelled in November 2002 in retaliation for the Ana Belen Montes case. In 2003, he was Deputy Director of MINREX’s North America Division and Chief the following year. In 2006, he was appointed Cuba’s first ambassador to Pakistan, where he is believed to have targeted US counterterrorism operations in the region. He then returned home to head the International Press Center before his current assignment.

DI officer Johanna Tablada preceded Machin in his second tour as Deputy Division Chief before her appointment as ambassador to Portugal.  She was suspected of being assigned to Department M-I, the elite element focused on targeting the US intelligence community, universities, and Congress.

Eduardo Martinez Borbonet previously assisted Vidal as a Counselor in the North America Division.  In November 2011, two weeks after a landslide victory propelled longtime Havana-ally Daniel Ortega into a controversial third term, he became Havana’s ambassador to Nicaragua.

In late December 1998, First Secretary Martinez Borbonet was expelled for his involvement in the South Florida based Wasp Network.  The diplomat-spy served at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN), the traditional hub for Havana’s US-based espionage operations. He had arrived approximately eight years earlier as a lowly Third Secretary.

 

 

 

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12 comments

  1. Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Senior Cuban Spies Leading “Normalization” Talks With US | Cuba al Descubierto

  2. Always in Cuba the Chain of Command  comes from the Party. It uses the Intelligence only for what they want to hear ad the Foreign Services is used by the Intelligence.”Just do and tell the King what he wants to hear or what he wants  you to do”.. For that reason it does not matter who are the persons that USA is going to talk. If you say or do something different you are “a dissident”. That’s was my case…. Dr Acosta Ex-DGI Chief Officer

  3. Gustavo Machin Gomez is the son of internationalist brigand Ricardo Gustavo Machin Hoed de Bache, born 1936 in Havana, and Chief of Operations of Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s guerrilla command in Bolivia, where he died on August 31, 1967, at Vado del Yeso. Machin Sr. was a founder of the student Revolutionary Student Directorate of Cuba and fought in the Sierra del Escambray under the command of Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo. Later was Under-secretary of the Treasury. Joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces as a member of the General Staff of the Western Army and military chief of Matanzas city. Completed technical-military studies in Russia. Entered Bolivia on December 9, 1966, via Chile, on an Ecuadorian passport, Number 49836, under the name of Alejandro Estrada Puig.

  4. The normalization talks means that the Cuban DI is already planning future operation inside the US.If the Obama administration open Cuban embassies in the US,this event will open doors for the Castro regime to plan operations from their own embassies.The Cuban DI has been conducting such operations for decades.They change the way of approaching the enemy.Decades ago when they were helped by the Soviet Union,castro’s guerrillas practically roamed Central and South America.After the fall of the Soviet Empire,the Cuban government was forced to change its approach in order to survive and to continue fighting the US.The Di adopted the agenda of penetrating the countries they want to influence from the inside which is cheaper to accomplished and with this subversive operations they can not be “directly” involved. The Cuban DI is laying the basis of Future operation such as penetrating the American society from inside to subvert society,first they will try to influence our Universities,then other branches such as the Government and any institution they consider beneficial to their cause.Their next agenda is to lift the embargo,next will be the return of the Guantanamo Naval base to them,why?to lease the base to the Russians or Chinese.Once they conclude this operation they will focus their attention in influencing our politics.All we need is vision!!!! vision and common sense!!!

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