Obama Just Opened the Door for Castro’s Spies 1

President ObamaCuban intelligence will have a field day in the United States thanks to Obama’s latest outreach to Havana

By John R. Schindler • 10/14/16, Observer.com

Normalization of relations with Fidel Castro’s Cuba has been one of the big foreign policy initiatives of Barack Obama’s presidency. During his two terms in the White House, Washington has overturned more than a half-century’s worth of American policies toward the Communist regime in Havana.

Calling that legacy a “failed approach,” Obama’s outreach to Havana, particularly in his second term, has been pronounced, including a visit by the president and the first lady to Cuba. By the time he leaves office in three months, Obama will have substantially re-normalized relations with the Castro regime.

Obama has pressed forward over the opposition of many Cuban-Americans and human rights groups, who note that Washington’s gifts to Havana have not been reciprocated with greater respect for democracy and the rule of law in Cuba, as many had anticipated. In the words of Amnesty International, “Despite increasingly open diplomatic relations, severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and movement continued. Thousands of cases of harassment of government critics and arbitrary arrests and detentions were reported.”

Obama seems unperturbed by all this, and today he issued revised guidance for the U.S. Government in its re-normalized dealings with Havana. Presidential Policy Directive 43 is likely to be this president’s last push on Cuban matters, and its call to Congress to drop the Cold War-legacy embargo on the Castro regime seems like to fall on deaf ears.

Most of PDD-43’s guidance won’t impact average Americans, unless they happen to travel to Cuba. Obama has now permitted them to bring back as much Cuban rum and cigars as they like—something Americans were last able to do when Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House.

There’s the usual Obama boilerplate about promoting democracy and human rights in Cuba, though there’s nothing in PDD-43 that seems likely to make any impression on Havana. The document omits the word “Communist” entirely. Cubans expecting this president to demand concessions from the Castro regime in exchange for trade favors and diplomatic recognition have been let down yet again by Barack Obama.

Some of PDD-43’s guidance will have important national security implications. It directs the Defense Department to expand its relationship with Havana, especially in “humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and counternarcotics in the Caribbean.” It further orders the Pentagon to “support Cuba’s inclusion in the inter-American defense system…which will give Cuba a stake in hemispheric stability.”

It’s far from clear that Havana’s Communist rulers—whose entire worldview for more than a half-century has been based on resistance to Yankee hegemony—actually want to be part of any American-led defense apparatus in our hemisphere, but the Pentagon follows orders, so we can expect the U.S. military to have more meetings and conferences with Cuban counterparts at the table.

Perhaps the most curious aspect of PDD-43 is what it tells our Intelligence Community to do. Obama has ordered American spies “to find opportunities for engagement on areas of common interest through which we could exchange information on mutual threats with Cuban counterparts.”

Feature continues here:  Castro’s Spies 

Editor’s Note:  While much of the author’s assessment is correct, he errs on several significant facts. First of all, a spy war has not “raged between Washington and Havana since the early 1960s.”  It actually began before the Castro Revolution when Raul Castro met and partnered with the Russian KGB’s Latin America department. Subsequently, Castro and the other anti-Batista allies came to power in January 1959. By that May, roughly four dozen Cuban spies were reportedly active in South Florida according to the CIA.

Secondly, the Wasp Network did NOT consist “of five Cuban intelligence officers and their many agents.” The five Schindler is referring too are the small group of senior officers and agents who did not make a deal with the US government in exchange for a lighter sentence. In reality, most of the personnel in the 40-plus member network escaped to spy again.

Expelled Spy Josefina Vidal To Wait Longer For Ambassadorship; Castro Makes Pragmatic Move And Appoints Incumbent Diplomat As US Ambassador 1

A man waves the US and Cuban flags as he walks in front of the new Cuban Embassy shortly before it's official ceremonial opening July 20, 2015, in Washington, DC. Getty Images/PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP

A man waves the US and Cuban flags as he walks in front of the new Cuban Embassy shortly before it’s official ceremonial opening July 20, 2015, in Washington, DC. Getty Images/PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP

Who Is Jose Ramon Cabanas? Veteran Diplomat Is Cuba’s First Ambassador To US In Over 50 Years

By Avaneesh Pandey, International Business Times

Jose Ramon Cabanas Rodriguez — a veteran diplomat who ran Cuba’s de facto embassy or “Interests Section” in Washington since 2012 — has become the first Cuban ambassador to the United States in over 50 years. The move came just two months after the two countries ended half a century of mutual hostility, and agreed to formally restore diplomatic ties.

Cabanas, who became the charge d’affaires when relations were formally restored on July 20, presented his credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House Thursday, where the latter also received new diplomats from 15 other nations.

“The Cuban ambassador’s accreditation to the United States is a further step within the process to normalize relations between both countries,” the Cuban embassy reportedly said, in a statement released Thursday.

Washington is yet to name its ambassador to Cuba.

Cabanas, an alumnus of Havana’s Institute of International Relations Raul Roa García, has served as Cuba’s vice minister of foreign relations and the country’s envoy to Austria.

In 2013, during his stint as the chief of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, the career diplomat said — in an interview with the Chicago Policy Review — that as a result of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, American companies were losing opportunities to invest in the Latin American nation.

Feature continues here: Ambassador

Editor’s Note: Career Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal, expelled from the US in 2003, continues to serve under shallow cover as head of the North America portfolio in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX). One of Havana’s premier experts in US affairs, she was seen as the likely pick for Cuba’s first ambassador. Raul Castro made a pragmatic and safe move in going with the incumbent. That said, Cabanas is three years into his assignment, so Vidal may get another chance in two years (shortly after the US presidential elections).

 

 

 

Obama Gave Cuba “License To Spy” In U.S. [Belated Posting] 2

Posted by: Javier Manjarres, HSPA Hispolitica, on July 20, 2015

The Cuban-American congressional delegation from Miami, Florida, held a press conference denouncing the opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba,  as well as calling the new Cuban embassy in the United States as a ” base” for the Cuban Intelligence Service.

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carlos Curbelo, and Mario Diaz-Balart, all Republicans, each took turns of expressing their anger and disappointment over President Obama’s apparent acceptance of the 56-years of human rights violations and acts of terrorism committed by the Castro regime.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) spoke out against Obama’s normalization of diplomatic relations with communist Cuba, saying that the president has given the regime a “license to spy” on the U.S.

Diaz-Balart stated that Obama’s “failed policy of appeasement, appeasing brutal dictators” has threaten U.S. interests, adding that the “Cuban people have not chosen the Castro brothers” as their legitimate representatives.

The Cuban embassy will represent the Cuban Intelligence Service-Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R)

Corbel didn’t mince his words either, saying that the Obama administration has legitimized Cuba, an “enemy of the United States.”

One of the most reckless foreign policy decisions that we have seen in decades in this decision by the Obama administration to legitimize and embrace a government that has been an enemy of the United States. A government that has abused and repressed its own people every single day of its existence. A government that continues sponsoring terrorism around the world, especially here in our hemisphere.-Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R)

Curbelo also stated that the existing and “robust” Cuban spy network in the U.S. now has a base in which to spy from.

 

Freed Spy Rene Gonzalez in Paris to Thank Supporters 1

Convicted Spy Rene Gonzalez Thanking Supporters in France (Courtesy:  PRELA)

Convicted Spy Rene Gonzalez Thanking Supporters in France (Courtesy: PRELA)

Earlier today, Prensa Latina announced that convicted spy Rene Gonzalez was in France, where he thanked supporters of the “Cuban Five.” In a gathering held at the Cuban Embassy in Paris – the historical hub for Cuban spy operations in France, Gonzalez lamented the media’s disinterest in the “Cuban Five” story, but told those gathered “this silence could not prevent you (sic) declare your solidarity with us.” According to PRELA, attendees included “France Cuba, Cuba Si France, activists for the release of The Five, associations of Cuban residents, political leaders, intellectuals, and diplomats.”

In response to a question from PRELA, a media outlet long-known for its collaboration with Cuban Intelligence, Gonzalez recalled that “some of the first letters of support…” came from French citizens “Annie Arroyo and Jacqueline Roussie…” who wrote letters to President Obama every month demanding the release of Cuba’s spies.

Oblivious to his own hypocrisy, Gonzalez also recycled Havana’s time-worn criticism of the US for once paying journalists to write news stories against the Castro regime. Will someone please tell him who pays the staff at PRELA, ACN, Granma, etc?????

Dr. Latell’s Monstrosity 3

By Miguel Fernandez

The paperback edition of Castro’s Secrets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 304 pages) has encouraged its author, former CIA desk analyst Dr. Brian Latell, to lash out against Castro again through the July 31st issue of the electronic flyer The Latell Report, published by the Institute of Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami.

Under the title “Fidel Castro’s Monstrous Lies,” Dr. Latell´s latest flyer insists in Castro’s foreknowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald’s intention to kill President Kennedy. Castro would have lied on November 23, 1963, by stating “we never in our life heard of him [Oswald]” before the radio and TV audiences. Taking into account that Castro dittoed the statement in his November 27 speech at the University of Havana, Dr. Latell asserts:

• “Contrary to another of his earlier claims, Castro volunteered to Jack Childs that ‘our people in Mexico gave us the details in a full report.’ He meant that his intelligence officers there had kept him fully informed of Oswald’s visits [to Mexico City].”

• “Yet, most remarkably, Castro revealed to Childs that as Oswald was leaving the Cuban consulate in Mexico, he shouted ‘I am going to kill that bastard. I am going to kill Kennedy’.”

Since Dr. Latell uses Childs as the “more compelling” quantum of proof against Castro denial of foreknowledge of Oswald, let’s go into the facts.

Jack Childs was a trusted FBI agent who engaged with his brother Morris in the Operation SOLO (1958-77) to infiltrate the Communist Party of the United States. On May 20, 1964, Jack flew from Moscow to “the beach” [Cuba] in the SOLO Mission 15. He spent ten days there, managed to meet Castro, and reported to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover:

“Castro said ‘I was told this by my people in the Embassy exactly how he (Oswald) stalked in and walked in and ran out. That in itself was a suspicious movement, because nobody comes to an Embassy for a visa (they go to a Consulate). [Castro] stated that when Oswald was refused his visa at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, he acted like a madman and started yelling and shouting on his way out, ‘I’m going to kill this bastard. I’m going to kill Kennedy’ [Castro]was speaking on the basis of facts given to him by his embassy personnel, who dealt with Oswald, and apparently had made a full, detailed report to Castro after President Kennedy was assassinated.” (FBI Records: The Vault – SOLO [http://vault.fbi.gov/solo], Part 63, page 59).

In order to make his point, Dr. Latell simply trimmed “after President Kennedy was assassinated” from the Jack Childs report. Thus, Dr. Latell has applied a counter-productive method: fabricating a lie for accusing Castro of being a liar.

Note: On June 17, 1964, the old sleuth Hoover summed up to Warren Commission General Counsel, James Lee Rankin, that “the information furnished by our source [Jack Childs] at this time as having come from Castro is consistent with and substantially the same as that which appears in Castro’s speech of November 27, 1963 (…) No further action is contemplated by this Bureau” (See Warren Commission Document 1359).