US-Cuban Cooperation in Law Enforcement: Past Failures Reborn 3

FBI Wanted PosterBy Chris Simmons

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.

Cuba Intensifying Campaign To Free Jailed Spy Ana Belen Montes 7

Convicted spy Ana Belén Montes -- formerly the Defense Intelligence Agency's lead analyst on Cuban affairs.

Convicted spy Ana Belén Montes — formerly the Defense Intelligence Agency’s lead analyst on Cuban affairs.

14 years of complete isolation in a US prison. Why did Ana Belén Montes cooperate with Cuba?

Solidarity with Cuba and Cuban solidarity with the peoples of the world is one of the core values ​​against which the enemies of the Cuban Revolution are shattered. It is one of our main strengths.

By Néstor García Iturbe

Many people living in countries with vast wealth and high technological advancement, would want their government to lead their nation’s foreign policy differently, not as an instrument of the wealthy to increase their own profits, but to use all those resources for the benefit and improvement of the living conditions of those who have less money, both in their own country and in the world.

They want their country, rather than being feared, to be loved. That war is not the main feature of its foreign policy, it is the peaceful resolution of differences. That the billions intended to cause death, are instead intended to avoid it and improve living conditions. That instead of organizing actions to wipe out the industry and agriculture of other nations, they were dedicated to promote industry and increase agricultural production as a way of fighting hunger suffered by many countries.

They want to feel proud to be citizens of that country, instead of feeling embarrassed. That their flags will be respected, not burned. And instead of listening “go home” they hear “you are home.”

These surely are the reflections of millions of Americans. That fifty percent of the population who do not attend the polls to vote, not to give legitimacy to a system on which they do not have confidence or hope. Among this mass of people, we can include comrade Ana Belén Montes.

Ana Belen’s attitude in the trial to which she was subjected can be described as honest. She expressed her criteria for how the government should conduct US foreign policy.

Ana Belen said: “There is an Italian proverb which is perhaps the best way to describe what I think: ‘The whole world is one country.’ In this ‘country world,’the principle of loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself is an essential rule for harmonious relations among all of our neighboring countries.

“This principle implies tolerance and understanding towards the different ways of doing things of others. It states that we should treat other nations in the way we want to be treated —with respect and consideration. It is a principle which, unfortunately, I think we have never applied to Cuba.”

Feature continues here: “Free Montes” Campaign Intensifying

Editor’s Note: Retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI) Colonel Néstor García Iturbe is one of the regime’s top experts in the targeting of Americans. He culminated his official espionage career as the Director of the Superior Institute of Intelligence (ISI), where Havana’s civilian intelligence officers are trained.

Retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI) Colonel Néstor García Iturbe

Retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI) Colonel Néstor García Iturbe

The Face of Cuban Propaganda Under “Normalization” 2

Expelled Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers Josefina Vidal and Gustavo Machin led the Cuban delegation in yesterday’s normalization tallk in Havana. Photo: MINREX

Expelled Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers Josefina Vidal and Gustavo Machin were center stage as they headed the Cuban delegation in yesterday’s normalization tallks in Havana. Photo: MINREX

PPPFocus.com reports Havana is adamant that “normalization would not happen as long as the economic blockade against Cuba stays on, as long as the US maintains its naval base in Guantanamo and as long as Cuba is not compensated for the economic damage caused by decades of hostility.”

Reuters reports Cuba is aggressively pushing a claim for more than $300 billion in economic damages because it understands “President Barack Obama is attempting to advance normalization as much as possible before his second and final term ends in January 2017.”  

Meanwhile, the Cuban News Agency (ACN) continues its unfettered loathing of Cuban exiles in features like “Miami Anti-Cuban Mafia Rejects Reopening of Cuban Embassy in the U.S.”

“We are going to have diplomatic relations with the United States without having ceded one iota.” — Gerardo Hernandez, Cuban spy who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison by a U.S. federal court for the murder conspiracy of Americans, thereafter commuted and released by President Obama as part of his one-sided deal with Raul Castro [Courtesy: Capitol Hill Cubans]

Spy Snacks……..Did you know? 1

 Mario Llerena in 1957. (John Orris/The New York Times)


Mario Llerena in 1957. (John Orris/The New York Times)

During the late 1950s, Associated Press stringer and Castro agent Mario Llerena reported extensively on the July 26 Movement (Castro’s name for his rebel force). He also served as a source for UPI, the New York Times and other American media outlets. Llerena was also chairman of the New York City faction of the July 26 Movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nation’s “Meet The Spies” Tour 3

by Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations

Travel to Cuba is a new fad, helped by the changes the Obama administration has made in U.S. policy. It’s easy now for almost any group to go there, under the guise of some educational program or purpose.

But travel to Cuba has long been a practice for American leftists, who have seen the Castro regime not as a brutal oppressor of human rights but as a beacon of light in the Hemisphere. No democracy, free expression, freedom of the press, free trade unions? Who cares, after all? The thrill of visiting the communist island has been too much to resist.

Still, there was usually a pretense that the visitors were not there to celebrate the regime. But not in the coming visit organized by The Nation, the old leftist magazine. Its September trip includes many of the staples, according to The Nation’s invitation letters. The trip will feature:

museum tours with eminent art and cultural historians; seminars and lectures featuring renowned Cuban economists, government officials, community activists, physicians, and urban planners; exclusive concerts with popular jazz artists, troubadours, and folk musicians; performances by students of Cuba’s internationally acclaimed ballet institutes; visits to artist’s colonies and studios; guided tours of Old Havana, the Latin American Medical School, and the University of Havana; and visits to many other inspiring locales and events.

No surprises there. But actually I left out a key clause in that paragraph. The trip will also include:

a meeting and discussion with the Cuban Five, the intelligence agents considered national heroes after spending many years imprisoned in US jails.

This is pretty remarkable. The Nation describes the tour as “a particularly inspiring and extraordinary time to experience the people, politics, culture, and history of Cuba in a way few ever have before.” In a way few Americans ever have before? Now, that’s true enough: how many American get to meet with and celebrate people who spied against our country and were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and conspiracy to commit murder? How many Americans want to?  Due to their actions four Americans died, in a Brothers to the Rescue plane shot down in international airspace. But the frisson of meeting people who actually—the Cuban government has admitted this—were intelligence agents and were convicted of spying on the United States is so wonderful that it is worth the $5,550 per person fees for the tour.

Feature continues here: The Nation’s Spy Tour

 

Castro’s STASI-trained secret police sets up false twitter accounts,” says Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas 4

Humberto Fontova

Humberto Fontova

By Humberto Fontova, on BabaluBlog

From El Nuevo Herald:

“On his (genuine) Twitter account and on Youtube, Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas denounces the action of Cuban security of setting up a false twitter account for him as (@cocofariñas32) at the beginning of October.”

(His genuine twitter is @cocofarinas)

(“El opositor cubano Guillermo Fariñas denunció en su cuenta de Twitter, y en un video en You Tube, que la seguridad del estado cubano había creado una cuenta falsa a principios de octubre, @cocofariñas32, donde se mezclan Tweets reales con opiniones falsas.)

Here’s what Castro’s secret police is posting on Fariñas’ bogus twitter account:

Feature continues here: Cuban Regime’s Fake Twitter Accounts

 

Cuban Influence Falls Short – Study Finds Venezuelan Public Favors Washington Over Havana Reply

PRC-LogoDespite rocky diplomatic relations, Venezuelan public prefers U.S. to Cuba

By Kat Devlin, Pew Research Center

Venezuela has had a rough year. With inflation topping 60% in May, new talk of raising the country’s incredibly low gas prices and shortages of goods ranging from coffee to toilet paper, the socialist government is reaching out to allies in an effort to alleviate the country’s pervasive economic problems. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan public has very different views about two of the nation’s most important trade partners: the United States and Cuba.

Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolás Maduro is no fan of the U.S., but that doesn’t mean Venezuelans take the same view. According to Pew Research Center’s Spring 2014 global survey, Venezuelans have generally positive attitudes concerning the U.S. At a rate of two-to-one, the Venezuelan public holds a more favorable (62%) than unfavorable (31%) view of their biggest trade partner. This represents a nine point uptick in support since 2013, when 53% shared positive feelings toward the U.S. Younger Venezuelans are especially likely to view the U.S. favorably – 66% of those ages 18-29 express a positive opinion. Still, a majority of those ages 50 and older (56%) also perceive the U.S. favorably.

The biggest disagreements about the U.S. break along ideological lines. Venezuelans who lean to the right of the political spectrum see the U.S. in an overwhelmingly positive light (84%), while only 12% have a negative opinion. Venezuela’s political left, which aligns with President Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, tends to be more critical of the U.S. (62% unfavorable v. 34% favorable). This is none too surprising given the tumultuous relationship between Maduro and the U.S. in recent months and the many years of tension between Washington and Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez. Chávez, who blamed the U.S. for organizing a coup against him in 2002, often stoked anti-American sentiment with colorful quips, including claims that the U.S. “invented technology to spread cancer” to South American leaders and referring to then-President George W. Bush as “the devil,” “a donkey” and “a drunkard.” Despite this, a majority of moderates (63%) see America favorably.

Findings continue here:  Venezuelans prefers U.S.

 

AP Overdramatizes Twitter Story; Calls on “Retired” Spy to Fan Flames of Fear 2

The Associated Press continued spreading its myth that a single, US-government run Twitter account could somehow destabilize the apartheid police state of Cuba. In today’s version of events, it cited former Directorate of Intelligence officer Arturo Lopez-Levy as claiming he could be victimized by the Castro regime for his own (alleged) efforts to bring technology to Cuba. Seriously? Spy-turned-propaganda spokesman Lopez-Levy afraid of his own in-laws? Just another example of how truly pathetic Cuba’s influence operations have become —  and how uninformed and lazy many US journalists CHOOSE to be.

Good Day For Castro Collaborators in Huffington Post 2

Barack Obama and Raul Castro: More Than a Handshake?

By Arturo Lopez-Levy

Nelson Mandela, even after his death, promoted peace and reconciliation among nations and civility between leaders. His funeral has brought about the refreshing image of Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama, of Cuba and the U.S., greeting each other.

The struggle against apartheid was a cause that gathered many around the world. The African-American university student Barack Obama and the thousands of Cuban soldiers who went to Angola were among them. Mandela inspired them and thanked them all for their contribution. Barack Obama and Raul Castro were on the same side of the South African conflict, Mandela’s side. They had common adversaries like Senator Jesse Helms, author of the insignia law of the embargo against Cuba, and the loudest voice in the racist and reactionary resistance against American repudiation of apartheid.

A gesture says more than a thousand words. Obama behaved in accord with the dignity and protocol that comes with leading a democratic superpower. The handshake would not have been extraordinary without past deviations by the U.S. from all diplomatic norms in its policy towards Cuba. In Mexico in 2002, then-president George W. Bush put President Vicente Fox on the ropes by demanding that Mexico arrange the Monterrey summit in a way that he did not have to greet Fidel Castro. Fox asked Fidel Castro to speak, eat and leave before Bush arrived. When Fidel revealed their phone conversation, Fox’s decision to genuflect toward the North caused a crisis in the relations between Havana and Mexico City.

Article continues here: Barack Obama and Raul Castro: More Than a Handshake?

Change With Cuba in President Obama’s Hands

By John McAuliff

There has never been a more propitious moment in the spirit of Nelson Mandela for President Obama to make an historic change in U.S.-Cuba relations. As I wrote in a previous post, Judy and Alan Gross have given the White House the moral authorization, if not obligation, to negotiate with Cuba to achieve Alan’s release. Two-thirds of the Senate have given it the political space by signing a letter initiated by Senator Leahy.

Cuba has just reaffirmed in friendly language its readiness and the parameters for agreement (exact text here). The content is not new but in the current context is tantalizingly suggestive of the choice facing President Obama.

Cuban President Raul Castro has called for “civilized relations” with the United States, saying the two countries should respect their differences.

Article continues here: Change With Cuba in President Obama’s Hands

Elian Gonzalez Now Just a Castro Mouthpiece 1

His mom died in 1999, trying to get him to freedom in the U.S.

By Joseph Perkins / Orange County Register

Elizabeth Brotons Rodriguez died in vain. Fourteen years ago, she decided to flee communist Cuba with her 6-year-old son, Elian. She wanted the boy to grow up in the United States, a land of freedom and opportunity.

The day after leaving Cuba, the small boat ferrying Elizabeth, Elian and 12 other Cuban refugees capsized off the coast of Florida. Elian’s mom drowned. Her boy was rescued at sea by two Florida fishermen Nov. 25, 1999.

The U.S. government placed Elian in the custody of his great-uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez, a Miami resident who sought asylum for the boy. The request was challenged by Elian’s father back in Cuba, who parted ways with Elian’s mom when the boy was 3.

Elian’s great uncle warned that if the boy was returned to Cuba, he would be used as a propaganda tool by the Castro government and would be subjected to involuntary indoctrination in the tenets of communism.

Elian’s father, backed by the Castro regime, argued that his parental rights trumped any other consideration, including the wishes of Elian’s mother, who died trying to get her son away from Cuba.

In the end, the Clinton administration sided with the communists. And the fears of Lazaro Gonzalez have since been fully realized. Elian, now 20, is, indeed, a propaganda tool for the Castro government. And the young man has indeed been indoctrinated in the tenets of communism.

The prima facie evidence is Elian’s visit this week to Ecuador for the World Festival of Youth and Students, during which he said that Washington – not Havana – was responsible for his mom’s watery death.

“Just like her,” said Elian, “many others have died attempting to go the United States. But it’s the U.S. government’s fault. Their unjust embargo provokes an internal and critical economic situation in Cuba.”

That’s exactly the kind of anti-American pronouncement to be expected from Elian, 14 years after his repatriation to Castro’s Cuba.
Upon his return to the island, he immediately became a Young Pioneer (the Cuban equivalent of Nazi Germany’s Hitler Youth). Then he “joined” the Young Communist Union. Then he “enlisted” in military school.

Now he’s a propagandist for the Castro government, invited to deliver a keynote in Quito, at what CNN describes as a “left-wing conference,” and at which more than 10,000 young Communists like Elian will “discuss global struggles against imperialism.”

Article continues here: Elian Gonzalez Now Just a Castro Mouthpiece