By Nora Gámez Torres, firstname.lastname@example.org
The parents of Alina López Miyares left Cuba in 1969 to escape Fidel Castro’s revolution. But that did not keep her from falling in love and marrying a former Cuban diplomat years later, and then traveling frequently to the island to be with him.
Now López Miyares seems likely to stay on the island for a while, serving a 13-year prison sentence allegedly on charges of spying after an Oct. 2 trial. Her husband, the ex Cuban diplomat Félix Martín Milanés Fajardo, was reportedly sentenced to 17 years in prison.
López Miyares, a 58-year-old former Miami teacher, was arrested in January in Havana after she traveled there to be with Milanés Fajardo, said her mother, Alina López, 89. She added that for months she did not know what had happened to her daughter, and learned about her arrest only after she went to Havana to ask.
The mother told el Nuevo Herald that she was allowed to see her daughter before and after the trial and was allowed to visit her in a Havana prison, but she declined to confirm reports by a son, Eugenio López, and Martinoticias that she was charged with spying. It’s not clear for which country Cuban authorities allege López and her husband were spying for.
El Nuevo Herald has not seen the court documents in her case, but Eugenio López has said that his sister was accused of spying and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
“My sister is the furthest thing from a spy. They made a fool out of her,” he told el Nuevo Herald. He told Telemundo 51, which first reported the case, that she was also accused of trying to help her husband escape the island.
“That man was evil-minded. He did his dirty business and involved her,” the mother said. She described the husband as a “degenerate” and supporter of the Castro government. But she added that neither she nor her husband had never met him. The couple wed in Cuba.
Her daughter “has lost weight (under arrest), been sick four or five times,” the mother said. “She suffers from high blood pressure, and has never experienced anything like this. She can’t eat that food. I have to go and buy whatever there is.”
According to information posted online, López Miyares worked as an “itinerant teacher” at the Merrick Educational Center and Bruce Ball Educational Center, which are part of the Miami-Dade public school system, teaching special needs students at their homes or in hospitals. The school system did not answer questions about her employement.
López Miyares’ brother said she met Milanés Fajardo in 2007 or 2008 in New York, where he worked as a Cuban diplomat. The details of the relationship are not clear, and it’s not known if López Miyares has established legal residency on the island.
Read more here: American Jailed for Espionage
El Comité Cubano Pro Libertad de Ana Belén Montes, la espía del régimen que fue detenida en 2001, ha sido creado recientemente en La Habana, según informó el portal procastrista Cubainformación.
El grupo, que anuncia la creación de comités similares en todo el mundo, reclama el “indulto presidencial” para la agente, que fue funcionaria de la Agencia de Inteligencia para la Defensa (DIA) de Estados Unidos.
Montes fue arrestada el 20 de septiembre de 2001, en Washington, por agentes del FBI, acusada de conspiración para cometer espionaje a favor del régimen castrista
Actualmente se encuentra encarcelada en el Federal Medical Center (FMC) en Carswell, dentro de las instalaciones militares de la Estación Aérea de la Marina estadounidense en Fort Worth, en Texas.
Los promotores del indulto afirman que Montes no recibió dinero del Gobierno cubano y que no fue reclutada “por medio de sórdidos chantajes”.
Aseguran que Montes afrontó los riesgos de su acción “por amor a la justicia, y por honrada solidaridad” con la dictadura castrista.
“Ella merece ahora más que nunca el indulto presidencial ya que hoy Estados Unidos habla de una relación ‘normal’ respecto a Cuba”, dicen los organizadores del nuevo comité.
Granted, Obama administration spokespersons and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) describe this week’s event differently than does this column title. Something about a “Cuban embassy” formally “opening?” in “Washington, D.C. ?” If I read these things correctly?
Nonetheless, the people actually in-the-know about these matters are cutting to the heart of the issue:
“All Cuban personnel now working in the [U.S] Interests Section [in Havana] work for Cuban State Security,” said high-ranking Cuban intelligence defector Pedro Riera Escalante. “All housing for [U.S.] officials may have microphones and other devices installed.”
“Virtually every member of Cuba’s U.N mission is an intelligence agent,” revealed Alcibiades Hidalgo, who defected to the U.S. in 2002 after serving as Raul Castro’s Chief of Staff and himself as Cuba’s ambassador to the U.N.
So you can just imagine what’s going on in Cuban Intelligence’s plush new Washington D.C. station, speaking of which:
“It (the Cuban embassy opening) is going to be a celebration on our part,” gushed Gustavo Machin, deputy director for U.S. affairs at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry. “Many Americans who have supported the Cuban Revolution will be among the 500 celebrants at the new Embassy.”
Despite the innocuous professional title the mainstream media insists on using for Gustavo Machin, he’s actually a KGB-trained Cuban spy who was burnt and booted from the U.S. back in 2003 shortly before the invasion of Iraq. He was among 14 other Cuban spies suspected of trafficking in U.S. military secrets (more on this shortly.)
The currently elated Machin was an accomplice of Castro’s master-spy Ana Belen Montes, who today serves a 25 year prison sentence after conviction in 2002 for the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department in modern history. Machin was neck deep in the same spying as his accomplice Montes, but enjoyed “diplomatic immunity,” which saved him from prison or the electric chair.
Now he’ll probably be visiting Washington D.C. often “on business.” In fact it was Machin who conducted the recent “negotiations” with Obama’s team of crackerjack “negotiators” which led to this “diplomatic breakthrough” with Cuba. So who can blame him for celebrating?
Feature continues here: Cuban Embassy Spy Base
By Chris Simmons
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and executives from Jetblue, Chobani Greek Yogurt, Pfizer and other New York-based companies spent today meeting with Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers Josefina de la C. Vidal Ferreiro and Gustavo Machin Gomez. Both officers serve under the shallowest of covers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), since they were thrown out of the US for espionage in 2003 and 2002, respectively
Unknown to the governor and executives, they fall into a category of politically-important visitors known as “useful idiots.”
More narrowly, for Vidal, Machin, and the rest of their DI brethren, the New Yorkers are simply known as “targets.” Ever the opportunists, the DI seized upon Cuomo’s outreach to conduct an Influence Operation. This type of intelligence mission subtly and skillfully uses agents, collaborators, sympathizers, and the media to promote a nation’s objectives in ways either un-attributable or marginally attributable to that power.
Thus, Vidal and Machin get to cultivate a relationship with Cuomo, the governor of the state that hosts the largest Cuban spy base in the United States: the Cuban Mission to the United Nations. Concurrently, the executives will also be the focus of traditional espionage targeting as – according to US government records – Havana is second only to Beijing in the conduct of economic espionage against the United States.
It’s truly frightening how easy we make it for the Cubans to spy against us.
Editor’s Note: According to knowledgeable defectors and émigrés, the Hotel Nacional – where important foreign visitors stay — is wired for video and audio surveillance on the 7th floor and above.
@PatriciaMazzei, Miami Herald
Miami’s three Cuban-American Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives say they don’t want to see a Cuban embassy opened in Washington D.C. — or a Cuban consulate anywhere else in the country — because it would risk allowing Cuba to spy on the U.S.
There is already a Cuban interests section in D.C., and a Cuban mission to the United Nations.
“We are all too familiar with the Castro regime’s efforts to utilize their diplomats as intelligence agents tasked with the goal of committing espionage against their host countries,” the members of Congress and several colleagues wrote in a letter Thursday to the U.S. State Department. “We believe that allowing Cuba to open an embassy in Washington, D.C. or consulates will further open the door for their espionage activities.”
They also asked to be briefed in detail about the status of the negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba to normalize diplomatic relations.
Signing the letter were Miami Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo, as well as Rep. Albio Sires, a New Jersey Democrat and fellow Cuban American, and Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican whose father was born in Cuba. Cruz is considering a 2016 presidential candidacy.
By Wilfredo Cancio Isla (Cafe Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES – Cuban journalist and diplomat Sonia Franco Cervera has abandoned her post as consul at the Cuban Embassy in Germany and is currently in Miami, after having requested political asylum from US authorities.
Sources told CafeFuerte that the 31-year-old Franco arrived in the United States in July this year, accompanied by her 3-year-old son Franco, after travelling from Berlin to Mexico and crossing the US border to invoke the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA).
Apparently, Franco’s decision was prompted by the unexpected trip and subsequent arrest in Havana of her husband Daciel Alfonso Guzman, who was the deputy chief of Cuba’s diplomatic mission in Germany.
“We don’t know much about what happened, but it is confirmed that Daciel [Alfonso] was called to a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) in Havana and that he suspected something was wrong,” a source involved in the case stated in Berlin. “They made the decision that she go to the United States with the kid.”
Erased from the Official Site
According to another testimony, Franco’s first move was to request aid from the US Embassy in Berlin. Her request didn’t yield any results and she decided to use her diplomatic passport to travel to Mexico. She is currently staying in the home of some friends in Miami.
CafeFuerte tried to contact Franco in Miami, but desisted after several unsuccessful attempts. A person involved in this situation said that the former diplomat is going through a very tense moment and does not wish to make any declarations about what happened.
For the time being, Alfonso’s name has been removed from the webpage of the Cuban Embassy in Germany and a blank space has been left under the heading of Deputy Chief, with an email left as reference. Belkis Rodriguez Hidalgo appears as the First Secretary in the Consular Section page.
“We’ve heard versions of the story here that Daciel was called to give a full accounting following complaints about the performance of his duties, but nothing concrete has been leaked and people suspect there is something more serious behind this,” a source linked to MINREX said in Havana.
Feature continues here: Diplomat Defects
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).
The recent article by Albor Ruiz “Obama-Castro Handshake More Than Just a Gesture” used former Cuban Intelligence Officers Jesús Arboleya and Arturo López-Levy as central sources in the feature. However, Ruiz failed to identify either man as a former spy, instead referencing Arboleya as a “Cuban writer and political analyst” and López-Levy as a “Cuba expert and Political Science professor at the University of Denver.”
Editor’s Note: Colonel Jesus Arboleya Cervera was identified by intelligence service defector Jesus Perez Mendez in 1983. Years later, Arboleya’s intelligence service was further corroborated by convicted spy Carlos Alvarez.
Arboleya served as a Second Secretary at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in New York City before transferring to the Washington-based Cuban Interests Section. During his US tour, Arboleya was the architect of the 1970’s US-Cuba normalization drive, which almost succeeded in 1977 following the formation of a group of prominent Cuban-Americans who called themselves the Committee of 75. Although headed by respectable Cuban-Americans, including two clerics and several businessmen, the Committee was inspired by the DGI, (then) Cuba’s primary foreign intelligence service. According to Senate testimony of March 12, 1982, at the time, Arboleya may have been the longest serving DGI officer in the United States.
Arturo Lopez-Levy is a self-professed “former” Intelligence Officer in Havana’s dreaded Ministry of the Interior (MININT). He is also a relative of MININT Col. Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, Raul Castro’s son-in-law and head of GAESA, the regime’s business monopoly.
Indictment Details Spy Accusations
By Tracey Eaton, Along the Malecon
Friday, April 26, 2013
The U.S. government’s case against Marta Rita Velázquez is a tale of intrigue and clandestine travel, false passports and secret meetings.
Prosecutors say Velázquez introduced Ana Belén Montes to Cuban agents in 1984 and later helped Montes land a job with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Montes went on to become one of the most damaging spies in U.S. history, authorities say. She was arrested in 2001, convicted in 2002 and sent to prison.
In 2003, a grand jury charged Velázquez with one count of conspiracy to commit espionage. The indictment was filed on Feb. 5, 2004, but remained under court seal until Thursday. It’s unclear why U.S. authorities unsealed it now, more than nine years after the indictment. Velázquez is thought to be living in Stockholm, Sweden. I called what I believe to be her mobile phone number. I heard a message in a language I do not understand, and left a message.
A Swedish reporter also called Velázquez‘s number and said that a woman answered, irritated, and said, “What? Who is it? Oh, OK,” and then hung up. The Swedish TT news agency reported that Velázquez is now a Swedish citizen.
The Washington Post reported that U.S. authorities in December 2011 told Velázquez “she was under suspicion.” The U.S. extradition treaty with Sweden does not include espionage in crimes requiring extradition.
The Local, an English-language newspaper in Sweden, reported Friday that Velázquez‘s husband was an official in Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The paper did not name the husband, but said: The acts of espionage were carried out while the two were married.
Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Charlotta Ozaki Macías confirmed that the ministry had been aware of the case for years. “The Foreign Ministry official with a connection to the case is not guilty of criminal activity,” she told the TT news agency. The Swedish man remains in service at the ministry. Sweden has not received any requests to extradite the woman to the US, according to Per Claréus, press secretary to Justice Minister Beatrice Ask. He told TT that if the US was to send an extradition request, it would be refused.
The indictment alleges that Velázquez carried out the following overt acts:
• September 1983: Traveled secretly to Mexico City, intending to meet Cuban agents, but they evidently did not show up.
• Spring of 1984: Took Montes to dinner and told her she “had friends who could help Montes in Montes‘ expressed wish to assist the people of Nicaragua.”
• July 31, 1984: Wrote Montes a letter stating, “It has been a great satisfaction for me to have had you as a friend and comrade (compañera) during this time we’ve spent as students. I hope our relationship continues outside the academic sphere.”
• Fall of 1984: Invited Montes to travel with her from Washington, D.C., to New York “ostensibly to meet a friend who could provide Montes with an opportunity to assist the Nicaraguan people.”
• Dec. 16, 1984: Went with Montes by train to New York and met with a Cuban intelligence official who worked at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations and was identified in the indictment only as “M.” Velázquez later told Montes that “M” told Velázquez that Montes “would be one of the best.”
• Early 1985: Gave Montes and (sic) typewriter and instructed her to write a detailed biography, including a description of the Justice Department job she had at the time. The two again traveled to New York to meet with “M.”
Story continues here: Indictment Details Spy Accusations