Two days ago, the State Department proudly announced its hosting of an “inaugural Law Enforcement Dialogue” with the Castro regime.
While this idea may seem new to the White House, Washington and Havana actually have a long history of failed cooperation in the law enforcement and security arenas. For example, following Cuba’s November 1995 arrest of Directorate of Intelligence (DI) communications specialist Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, regime authorities rightfully assumed it was only a matter of time before the US began finding and arresting many of its US-based spies. In anticipation, several months later, Havana took the self-serving step of providing “intelligence reporting” to the FBI on alleged anti-Castro activities by Cuban exiles in Florida. Most of the “intelligence” was little more than newspaper clippings and summaries of TV and radio commentaries.
Viewed as a waste of time by Washington authorities, the meetings actually accomplished an important hidden agenda. In 1998, 10 members of the Wasp Network were arrested in South Florida. Almost immediately, Cuba revealed its previously secret 1996 meetings with the FBI and claimed it told the Bureau it had agents in Florida for “defensive purposes” to protect it from Cuban-Americans. During the Wasp’s subsequent trial, Havana incessantly highlighted its alleged cooperation with US law enforcement and was even allowed to send Roberto Hernandez Caballero, a career Directorate of Counterintelligence (DCI) officer, to testify on its spies’ behalf.
In 2011, Havana mocked the US legal system by again sending Colonel Hernandez Caballero to testify in a US court – this time against anti-Castro militant, Luis Posada Carriles.
Similarly, decades earlier, when several senior Cuban officials were indicted for their participation in regime-sanctioned drug trafficking, Havana quickly attempted to showcase past efforts at counterdrug cooperation with the US Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Given the institutionalized consistency of the Castro regime’s senior leaders, this latest initiative is doomed to failure — just like every one of its predecessors.