Cuban Officials Touring St. Petersburg This Weekend as They Eye Consulate Location
By Paul Guzzo, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer
Tampa has the historic and cultural link to Cuba, but it might be St. Petersburg that lands the first Cuban Consulate in the United States in more than five decades.
Alejandro Padrón, Cuba’s consular general from its embassy in Washington, D.C., and his second in command, Armando Bencomo, were in St. Petersburg on Saturday and took a tour of its real estate assets that was led by Dave Goodwin, the city’s director of planning and economic development.
Such a tour did not take place in Tampa.
“They have some interest in our city and they want to get to know more about it,” said Joni James, CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, which along with the University of South Florida’s Patel College of Global Sustainability sponsored the delegation’s trip.
“We are happy to help them learn what a great place it would be to have a consulate.”
Kanika Tomalin, the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, described the tour as “pretty comprehensive” but did not provide specifics on where they visited.
“They will understand what the city can offer their goals,” she said.
There is competition between Tampa and St. Petersburg to host the Cuban Consulate.
The Tampa City Council, Hills- borough County Commission and Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce have voted in favor of bringing the consulate to their community.
The chamber also sent a delegation to Cuba in May 2015.
Each has heavily promoted that Tampa and Cuba share a connection dating to the founding of Ybor City in the late 1800s by immigrants from the island nation.
Later, Tampa was a staging ground for Cuba’s War of Independence against colonialist Spain. And with Cuban tobacco, Tampa would go on to become Cigar City.
But the St. Petersburg City Council voted for a consulate to open in that city as well.
The St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership also sent two delegations to Cuba in the past year and welcomed one from the island nation to its city in December.
Feature continues here: Will St Pete Become Havana’s Newest Spy Base?
Editor’s Note: When the United States ended diplomatic relations with Cuba in the early 1960s, the Castro regime had been conducting its espionage operations from a network of over two dozen consulates and Prensa Latina (news agency) sites from coast to coast. Since the theft of US economic, political and military secrets provides one of the largest revenue streams flowing the regime, Havana dearly wants its “diplomatic” spy network back to further increase its espionage effectiveness and drive down costs.
Fernando Núñez — CUBANET
PARÍS, Francia.- La libertad de Ana Belén Montes se anuncia como el próximo combate del aparato ideológico del castrismo y de sus adláteres a nivel mundial.
El portal de la Asociación France-Cuba hacía recientemente la publicidad para el documental ‘Revolucionarios’, una serie iniciada por el activista comunista Viktor Dedaj. A la derecha del portal aparece un widget donde se reclama la liberación de la espía que purga una condena de 25 años de privación de libertad “en condiciones inhumanas”.
El documental del señor Dedaj pretende contar la historia de la Revolución cubana, por aquellos anónimos que la llevaron a cabo. Fabricado con testimonios diversos, los autores esperan que las vivencias de unos y otros consigan hacer llegar al público lo que era la realidad cubana antes de la insurrección castrista y las razones por las cuales decidieron participar y comprometerse en la lucha contra la dictadura de Batista.
El señor Dedaj anima un portal llamado La gran noche, de gran audiencia, en referencia a esa noción comunista y teleologista que anuncia el final inminente del sistema capitalista. Por su parte, la asociación Francia-Cuba trabaja desde 1961 para estrechar los lazos de amistad entre los pueblos cubano y francés e intenta por su acción, ampliar los intercambios económicos, científicos y técnicos entre las dos naciones. De más está decir, que el pueblo cubano al que hace referencia es el que sufre “el bloqueo económico más largo del mundo”, una situación a la que el señor Dedaj, equiparó al genocidio nazi en un reciente artículo.
Numerosos indicios apuntan a que la campaña a favor de Montes está por comenzar, sino lo ha hecho ya. En un reciente viaje a España, Silvio Rodríguez, el cantautor contestatario, cantor oficial de la dictadura, se expresó en este sentido el mes pasado durante un concierto ante unas 4.000 personas en el Coliseum de la ciudad gallega de A Coruña cuando dedicó una de sus icónicas canciones, “La Maza”, a Montes.
Artículo continúa aquí: Ana Belén Montes
By Humberto Fontova, TownHall.com
This very week General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, testified that Castro’s spies remain a serious security threat to the U.S.:
“The threat from foreign intelligence entities…is persistent, complex, and evolving. Targeting and collection of US political, military, economic, and technical information by foreign intelligence services continues unabated. Russia and China pose the greatest threat, followed by Iran and Cuba…” (General James Clapper, Washington D.C. .Feb 9, 2016.)
But two weeks ago (Jan. 26-29th) when the U.S. military’s Southern Command held its annual “Caribbean regional security conference” senior members of Castro’s KGB-trained spy agency were kindly invited to participate.
“Aw come on, Humberto,” you say! “All nations embed spies in their diplomatic corps, for crying out loud. Let’s give Obama’s people a break on this one. How are they supposed to know which Cubans are the spies? It’s a jungle out there, amigo!”
Good point. Very true. In fact, U.S. intelligence services, regardless of the president they served, do not have an exactly stellar record with regards to Castro. To wit:
“We’ve infiltrated Castro’s guerrilla group in the Sierra Mountains. The Castro brothers and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara have no affiliations with any Communists whatsoever.” (In Nov. 1958 Havana CIA station Chief Jim Noel, was reacting to warnings from “tacky right-wing Mc Carthyite!” Cubans.)
“Nothing but refugee rumors. Nothing in Cuba presents a threat to the United States. There’s no likelihood that the Soviets or Cubans would try and install an offensive capability (nuclear missile) in Cuba.” (JFK’s National Security Advisor Mc George Bundy on ABC’s Issues and Answers, October 14, 1962. The sneering former Harvard Dean was reacting to warnings from “tacky right-wing McCarthyite!” Cuban-exiles.)
In fact, in 1987 Cuban Intelligence Officer Florentino Aspillaga defected in Prague and revealed that every single Cuban agent (4 dozen of them) the CIA had recruited to spy on the Castro regime since 1962 was in fact double-agent controlled personally by Fidel Castro.
While not renowned for its sense of humor, the Castro regime had fun with this one. In the Havana museum known as “ Hall of Glory to Cuba’s Security Services” sits a Rolex pulsar watch personally dedicated by U.S. Sec. of State (of the time) Henry Kissinger to CIA “Agent Zafiro.” With his dedication the U.S. Sec. of State, (Harvard A.B., summa cum laude 1950, M.A. 1952, PhD 1954) was thanking KGB-trained Cuban Nicolas Sirgado (“Agent Zafiro”) for his ten years of loyal and invaluable services to the U.S.!
Feature continues here: Spies Invited
Juan Juan Almeida, 19 October 2015 — The G2, Cuba’s domestic spy agency, is nothing more than a fun-loving caricature of the former KGB. What is difficult to believe is that the special services headquarters which direct espionage operations against Cuba have shown themselves to be even more inept.
The Cuban government neither has nor could maintain an army of spies. We have bought into this myth. Espionage is an expensive proposition and recruiting spies is not like planting rice. Though difficult for us to accept, Cuban authorities are talented and treacherous enough to know how to stoke paranoia, distrust and confusion by creating a constant and frantic struggle for reaffirmation against “a person unknown.” This has made us prone to isolation, some degree of lunacy and a few too many hallucinations.
Albert Einstein, that most international of physicists, said, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.”
Now is the time to find common ground in order to face the obstacles that divide us. There is no point in inventing yet more informants, those agents created for a specific task and trained for a specific mission. We routinely label people as “agents” with dangerous and contagious certainty. We should realize that no single nation can simply go around recruiting and sending infiltrators out into the world like spores in search of information.
From the enigmatic Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to a young physicist named Klaus Fuchs, from former CIA officer Aldrich Ames to Soviet military intelligence colonel Oleg Penkovsky, and to the legendary James Bond, history and literature are replete with spies who have captured our imagination. Adventurers or idealists, altruistic or greedy, heroes or informers, the world certainly knows of spies who succeeded in altering the course of history. But such cases are a far removed from our all too mundane reality. The fact is there are fewer Cuban spies in Miami than bullfighters with mustaches in Madrid.
Feature continues here: Agent Friar
Editor’s Note: Another rambling piece of fantasy promoting the “Cuba is not a threat” propaganda espoused for decades by other Castro spies, including Ana Montes, Kendall & Gwen Myers, etc. Cuba remains a long-time intelligence trafficker, stealing US secrets and selling or bartering them to any country with something to offer. Countless defectors and émigrés report the trafficking of US secrets is now one of the major revenue streams sustaining the regime. As such, the Obama administration’s misguided outreach to Cuba will intensify Havana’s self-serving and dishonest claims of espionage innocence as improved relations drive down the cost of Cuba’s spying.
Editor’s Note (Addendum): The pseudonym Juan Juan Almeida is used by Cuban agent Percy Alvarado, a Guatemalan asset.
By Dareh Gregorian, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A Miami woman who was married to a Cuban double agent wants JPMorgan Chase to pay through the nose for allegedly hiding Cuban cash.
Ana Margarita Martinez won a $7.1 million judgment against the Cuban government for “emotional distress” in 2001, after she found out her husband, Juan Pablo Roque, wasn’t the man she thought he was.
She’d met Roque in 1992, after the former Cuban Air Force major made headlines for allegedly braving shark infested waters to swim to Gitmo seeking political asylum in the U.S.
They dated for three years before getting hitched.
Unbeknownst to Martinez, Roque was an FBI snitch – and an undercover Cuban agent who’d been sent to gather intel on the Cuban exile community in Miami. She found out both after he snuck out of their home one night in 1996, and then appeared on CNN in Cuba a few days later crowing about his accomplishments.
Adding insult to injury, when asked what he missed about Miami, he said just one thing: “My Jeep.”
Martinez, who’d been born in Cuba, said she’d been completely duped. “She believed that Roque shared her anti-communist ideals,” court papers say.
A federal judge in Florida found Cuba liable for Roque’s actions, saying he was “especially offended that Cuba – a country that disregards human rights – has callously trampled the rights of one of our own citizens on our own soil in furtherance of a vile criminal conspiracy.”
Feature continues here: JPMorgan Hides Cuban Assets
By Chris Simmons
The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) awarded its Bronze Medal to Master Sergeant Tessa M. Fontaine for helping lead a counterespionage investigation that resulted in a 13-year sentence for an unidentified Cuban spy. Then assigned as the chief of NRO’s Counterintelligence and Cyber-Counterintelligence Inquiries, her spy case protected a five-billion dollar intelligence system. As part of this investigation, Fontaine also orchestrated 148 hours of spy debriefings and documented 16 hours of Cuban espionage operations. The Air Force subsequently named her Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. She now serves at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
No further information is available at this time.
(Corrected) Editor’s Note: The NRO designs, builds, launches, and maintains all US spy satellites. Cuba has no space program and its military infrastructure is grossly outdated, rendering it of little interest to NRO. As NRO poses no threat to the Castro regime, it would seem that Havana would have NO interest in NRO. Very curious….