Today in History: Spy Ring Established to Support Che Guevara’s Bolivia Expedition 3

November 18, 1964:  Haydee Tamara Bunke Bider, an East German-woman-turned-Cuban spy, arrived in La Paz using the alias, Laura Gutierrez Bauer. Later built into the mythical figure “Tania the Guerrilla,” her mission was to lead an intelligence network to be created in La Paz.

Indicative of the priority given to Che Guevara’s Bolivia mission, Havana assigned Juan Carretero Ibanez as her case officer. At the time, Carretero led the Latin America Department of the MININT’s Technical Vice Ministry. In Bolivia, “Tania” successfully entered into the political, cultural, and media circles of Bolivian society during the dictatorship of General Rene Barrientos.

From Spy to Ambassador: The Evolution of Juan Carretero Ibanez 2

  • Director of the Cuban Communist Party’s Center for Asia-Pacific Studies since 2008.
  • Ambassador to India from 2003-2008.
  • Prior to his ambassadorial posting, served as Secretary-General of the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL).
  • In the early 1970s, Carretero led insurgent support from the huge Cuban Embassy established in Santiago during Salvador Allende’s administration.
  • Chief of the Latin America Departments of the Interior Ministry’s Technical Vice Ministry during the early 1960s and subsequently for the America Department during the mid-1960s-1970s.
  • Case Officer for Haydée Tamara Bunke Bider (more commonly known simply as “Tania”), who supported Che Guevara’s mission in Bolivia (mid-1960s).

Note:  The America Department (DA) is 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).