BREAKING NEWS: Cuba Spied on Terry McAuliffe 9

Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Likely Received Special Attention

By Chris Simmons

The Directorate of Intelligence, Cuba’s primary foreign intelligence service, spied on Terry McAuliffe before and during a four-day trade mission to Havana. The experienced politico undertook the trip in April 2010 as a personal quest to increase Cuban purchases of Virginia agricultural products.

Given the Directorate’s intimate understanding of the American political arena, it undoubtedly awarded McAuliffe a level of attention fair beyond normal business travelers since his return to politics was virtually assured. At the time of the Cuba visit, McAuliffe had recently failed in his 2009 gubernatorial bid. His earlier political efforts included running Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, service as DNC Chair (2001-2005) and co-chairing Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.

Cuban targeting was likely triggered by McAuliffe’s trip preparation. More specifically, his meetings with Jorge Bolaños, the “retired” spy who headed the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC from 2008-2012. The CIA identified Bolaños as a suspected intelligence officer in the early 1970s. More recently, former Directorate of Intelligence (DI) Lieutenant Juan Manuel Reyes Alonso confirmed Bolaños’ intelligence service. He also opined that Bolaños’ multiple ambassadorial tours suggest that at some point he began working his cover identity more than his intelligence mission.

However, Reyes Alonso also noted that Bolaños maintained close ties with staff members of two of Cuba’s five spy services as well as the Superior Institute of Intelligence (ISI), where the regime’s civilian intelligence officers are trained. The de facto ambassador was also a close friend of (then) ISI Director, Nestor Garcia Iturbe, one of the regime’s top experts in targeting Americans. Normally, Cuban diplomats distance themselves from intelligence services because such ties can cripple their careers when counterintelligence services suspect them of being intelligence collaborators or undercover officers.

Upon arrival in Cuba, McAuliffe met with the leadership of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade’s Empresa Comercializadora de Alimentos. Known as “ALIMPORT,” this government agency coordinates all overseas purchases and its director authorizes the import of products to Cuba. Significantly, the DI provides the ALIMPORT head and his staff with detailed biographical reporting on every member of a trade delegation, with emphasis on their personal strengths and weaknesses.

This sharing of biographic data with ALIMPORT “is a normal procedure of the Cuban Intelligence” according to Juan Antonio Rodriguez Menier, a former DI Major. Rodriguez Menier said the spy agency’s information is focused on any detail that can provide Havana an edge during negotiations with a foreign delegation.
His assessment is echoed by Reyes Alonso, who declared “Cuban Intelligence always does that with high government officials that will meet with foreigners, especially those coming from the US.” Having previously worked in the spy service’s “Science & Technology” department, Reyes Alonso told the Miami Herald earlier this year that the DI also recruited collaborators within ALIMPORT to “identify possible targets to do industrial and corporate espionage.”

McAuliffe and his entourage subsequently remained under Cuban Intelligence control when they stayed at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Featuring a staff rife with DI informants, the Hotel Nacional is known to be wired for video and audio surveillance of foreign guests.

Cuban Intelligence tradecraft also calls for recruitment efforts targeted against the close associates of important visitors. In this “one-off” technique, the DI or the Directorate of Counterintelligence seek individuals who – according to Reyes Alonso – “are usually more vulnerable, less visible and easier to follow up with at later times.” When successful, this approach provides indirect access to the targeted principal and opens the door for the new spy to follow their American mentor to higher positions in the future.

Agricultural Leaders Also Targeted

The Commonwealth’s food sales to Cuba have skyrocketed from $838,000 in 2003 to a record-setting $66 million in 2012. Virginia is now the second largest US exporter of agricultural products to the Caribbean island. As such, Cuba has also spied on Agriculture Secretary Todd Haymore and key members of the Farm Bureau, the USA Rice Federation, Purdue AgriBusiness, Smithfield Foods and Crown Orchards. Haymore – who, like McAuliffe, maintained a close working relationship with retired spy Jorge Bolaños — led his sixth annual trade mission to Cuba last November.

Editor’s Note: The author is internationally renowned as one of America’s foremost experts on Cuba’s intelligence services.

The republishing of this article is permissible if the author is acknowledged as the originator.

Cuban Comrade Now a House-Flipping Capitalist Savant 1

High-level defector Pedro Alvarez Borrego has become a house flipper extraordinaire. Some question the source of his stake money.

By Juan O. Tamayo,

TAMPA — Pedro Alvarez Borrego, a top Cuban government official who oversaw the nation’s $1.5 billion-a-year food-importing enterprise, is living the American Dream in Tampa a mere two years after he defected. Alvarez has bought and sold at least eight homes worth a total value of nearly $600,000 and opened a management company, official records show. He has also reportedly become a consultant on how U.S. businesses can enter the Cuba markets. Yet mystery lingers over exactly how the 70-year-old could buy so much real estate so soon after his arrival from Cuba, where he was under criminal investigation in a kickback-for-imports scandal at Alimport, the state monopoly for food imports.

Before his hasty defection, his job at Alimport made him the powerful main negotiator of contracts with chomping-at-the-bit U.S. exporters that hit a record of $711 million in 2008 and turned the United States into Cuba’s fifth-largest trade partner. Today, Alvarez, one of the top Cuban defectors in recent memory, is trying to keep out of the public eye and enjoy the good life — a neighbor said he drives a red H3 Humvee — even as some anti-Castro activists in Tampa complain that he may be living off corrupt money. The man who answered an El Nuevo Herald call to the telephone number Alvarez has given in official U.S. documents said he was a different Pedro Alvarez. “I am just a simple carpenter. Do you have any jobs for me?” he said before he laughed and hung up.

An economist, Alvarez was named to head Alimport in 1998 and was perfectly positioned in 2000 when the U.S. Congress authorized the cash-only sale of agricultural products to Cuba under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act. Cuba was suddenly awash in U.S. visitors looking for sales contracts — including several dozen Congress members, six governors and a who’s who of the leading agriculture companies known as Big Ag. “He single-handedly said yes and no to billions in sales,” said John Park Wright IV, a Naples, Fla., businessman who signed several cattle deals with Alimport. Cuba’s global food imports hit $1.6 billion in 2011, according to official Havana figures. And in 2003, Alvarez masterminded the controversial scheme under which Alimport pressured U.S. politicians and exporters to sign written pledges that they would lobby the Congress to ease economic sanctions on the island. The pledge might have technically made them agents of the Cuban government, though no one was prosecuted.

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