Cuba Awards Medal to Danny Glover 1

Glover With Convicted Spy Gerardo Hernández

Glover With Convicted Spy Gerardo Hernández

Cuba Decorates Danny Glover, Estela and Ernesto Bravo

Havana (Prensa Latina) — The Cuban State Council granted the National Medal of Friendship Thursday to documentary filmmakers Estela and Ernesto Bravo and US actor Danny Glover for their solidary support to the Cuban government and people.

In an activity held Thursday morning at the host building of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples of the World (ICAP) Cuban antiterrorist fighter and member of the Cuban Five Gerardo Hernandez stated that it is an honor to watch such a moment to decorated three great friends of Cuba with such a medal.

The decorated friends of Cuba received the medal from the hands of Jose Ramon Balaguer, member of the Secretariat of the Cuban Communist Party, and director of its International Relations Department.

Ernesto Bravo said he felt moved, since as much himself, as Estela Bravo, have strong links with Cuba, where they decided to set their lives for more than 50 years.

Estela Bravo said that in Cuba, she received several surprises, as for instance, to know Fidel Castro, and that the main reason for which she has been doing her work, is for other people to see and live all the things she had the pleasure to live.

For his part, American actor Danny Glover referred to the struggle for the return of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, whom he recognized for their dedication to the Cuban government and people.

Also, he stressed the role of the new generations in the conduct of the future of the Cuban revolutionary project and recalled the meeting of nearly two hours held in yesterday afternoon with young Cuban at the host of the Asociación Hermanos Saíz.

‘We are here not only to support the Cuban Revolution, but also to support the values that this has taught us, he concluded.

In the event of decoration, there were different political and cultural personalities of the country as the Minister of Culture, Abel Prieto; the President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, Miguel Barnet; and the Director of the General Direction of the United States of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Josefina Vidal.

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Editor’s Note:  ICAP’s long-term collaboration with the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) dates back over 30 years. That said, ICAP is not a DI entity per se, but is believed to be roughly 90% DI-affiliated due to a large pool of collaborators who serve the small team of ICAP-embedded DI officers.

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). She is viewed as one of Havana’s premier experts in US affairs.

 

 

 

Cuba OKs US air marshals on commercial flights Reply

air-marshallby Tribune News Service

MIAMI—Cuba will allow US air marshals on regularly scheduled commercial flights between the two countries, island authorities announced on Friday.

Josefina Vidal, director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s department for the United States, posted on her Twitter account that an “arrangement on the deployment of air marshals onboard airlines was amended to make it applicable to scheduled flights.”

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed the agreement in a statement on Friday.

“With regard to Federal Air Marshal Service [FAMS] coverage on flights to/from Cuba, TSA has an arrangement in place for charter and scheduled commercial flights,” the statement said. “As a general matter, to protect the operations and efficacy of our Federal Air Marshal program, TSA does not provide specific information about when or which flights are covered by our air marshals, as that could potentially compromise security.”

The twin announcements eliminate a confrontation between the Obama administration and members of Congress over the security of flights to and from Cuba.

The TSA admitted in mid-September that no federal air marshals were aboard the regularly scheduled commercial flights to Cuba that started in late August.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican-Florida, and other Congress members quickly accused the Obama administration of lying because TSA officials had declared earlier that a bilateral agreement for the air marshals would be in place by the time the flights started.

As the controversy continued, the House Committee on Homeland Security approved a measure to suspend the regular flights until the TSA certified that Cuban airports met all security requirements. The measure was submitted by Rep. John Katko, Republican-New York, chairman of the subcommittee on transportation security.

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry also announced that representatives of the two countries had met in Washington on Wednesday to discuss “the security of the flow of people and goods between the two countries, and mutual concerns about cyber security.”

Officials from the Cuban Ministries of the Interior and Transportation, as well as the Customs Department took part in the meeting, along with US officials from the Departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security.

Representatives of both government also gathered in Washington Friday for the fourth round of meetings of the Bilateral Commission, to review progress on issues of “shared priority,” such as cooperation on commercial flights, public health and the fight against drug trafficking.

Editor’s Note:  Career Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina de la C. Vidal left the US in 2003 when 14 Cuban spy-diplomats were declared Persona Non Grata. Among the spies officially expelled was her husband, First Secretary Jose Anselmo Lopez Perera. A First Secretary at the Cuban Interests Section like her husband, Vidal “voluntarily” returned to Cuba.  Long known to US Intelligence as a spy, Vidal and another spy-wife left with their spouses, bringing the total to 16 Cuban spies removed from the United States. This is believed to be roughly half of the Cuban spy-diplomats then serving undercover in Washington and New York. For the last several years, she has served under shallow cover as head of the North America portfolio in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX). She remains one of Havana’s premier experts in US affairs, but her expulsion will likely continue to limit her spy career until her retirement.

Havana Claims Student Visits to U.S. Incites Subversion 4

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, gestures as she speaks with the media at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The United States and Cuba claimed progress Friday toward ending a half-century diplomatic freeze, suggesting they could clear some of the biggest obstacles to their new relationship within weeks. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

U.S. Summer Leadership Program provokes backlash from Cuban government

HAVANA (AP) –  A few months after President Barack Obama visited Cuba in March, a group of teenagers left the island for a month-long visit to the United States funded by the U.S. State Department.

The 16- to 18-year-olds spent 10 days learning about community service, followed by two-week homestays with families in Virginia, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Washington, Oregon and Missouri. There, the Cuban teens volunteered at food banks and recycling centers and read books to young children, according to the Washington-based NGO that organized the activities.

Now, four months before Obama leaves office, the Summer Leadership Program for Cuban Youth has provoked a full-blown backlash from the Cuban government, which has organized a nationwide series of campus protests over the past week denouncing the program as a tool of American subversion in language hearkening back to the height of the Cold War.

“University students condemn new Yankee manipulation,” declared a headline in red ink above the lead story in Thursday’s edition of Granma, the official Communist Party newspaper. Cuba said it complained about the program at a meeting in Washington on Friday with the U.S. diplomats negotiating normalization with Cuba.

“We insisted once again that the financing of programs aimed at provoking internal change in Cuba needs to be eliminated, which would be an essential step toward normalizing bilateral relations,” Cuba’s director-general of U.S. affairs, Josefina Vidal, said in a video posted as part of a question-and-answer session on Twitter.

For most of the last half-century, the U.S tried to push Fidel Castro’s government toward collapse or fuel its overthrow in an anti-Communist uprising. The Obama administration abandoned that goal in favor of slowly encouraging Cubans to develop lives independent of a single-party system that, despite limited reforms, controls most aspects of life on the island, from theater programming to the distribution of agricultural supplies. The Obama goal of gradual change is supported by millions of dollars in funding for non-governmental organizations that attempt to work directly with Cubans in programs similar to U.S.-funded efforts around the world.

Cuba rejects the idea of any foreign government, above all the United States, working with Cubans independently of the government and the more than 2,000 state-run organizations that it describes as Cuba’s genuine civil society. Virtually any organization operating without state approval is viewed as illegal and potentially subversive, particularly if it receives foreign aid.

Cuba says such suspicions gained credibility with the publication of reports by The Associated Press in 2014 revealing that the U.S. Agency for International Development funded clandestine programs to undermine the Cuban government, including the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” social network, the dispatch of Latin American youth to recruit activists, and attempts to coopt Cuban rappers as unknowing agents of democratic change.

Feature continues here:  Freedom is Subversive

Editor’s Note:  Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal was among 16 Cuban spy-diplomats expelled from the US in May 2003.  

 

 

Expelled Spy Josefina Vidal – Now Head of Cuban-US Relations – Accuses US of Using the Internet “To Promote Subversion” 1

Senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

Senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

Cuban Official Josefina Vidal Accuses US of Using the Internet “To Promote Subversion”

14ymedio, Havana, 26 August 2016 – Josefina Vidal, Director of the United States Division for Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said

Tuesday that the internet is being used from the United States as a way to promote internal subversion on the island.

“The illegal use of radio and TV against Cuba isn’t enough, they insist on using the internet as a weapon of subversion,” the diplomat complained through her Twitter account.

Vidal criticized the first conference on the free use of the internet on the island, organized by the Office of Cuban Broadcasting, which operates Radio and TV Martí. The event, which will be held in Miami on 12-13 September, will bring independent Cuban journalists together with digital innovators and individuals who are fighting for the island to open up to the World Wide Web.

In an article published by Cubadebate and shared on social networks by the diplomat, she says that the government of the United States, over the last two decades, has spent 284 million dollars to promote programs of regime change in Cuba.

Source:  Josefina Vidal Accuses US

 

 

 

Expelled Spy (& Cuba’s Current Director of US Relations) Condemns U.S. For Its “Hostile Policies” 6

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, gestures as she speaks with the media at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The United States and Cuba claimed progress Friday toward ending a half-century diplomatic freeze, suggesting they could clear some of the biggest obstacles to their new relationship within weeks. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Cuban leader: ‘It’s up to US to dismantle its hostile policies’

By Emma Johnson, The Militant, Vol 80/No. 30, August 15, 2016

“Relations between Cuba and the U.S. have been asymmetric; therefore it is up to the U.S. to dismantle hostile unilateral policies,” said Josefina Vidal, who leads Cuba’s negotiating team with Washington. “Cuba doesn’t have any comparable policies.”

Vidal, director general for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations, spoke to the Cuban Communist Party’s daily Granma on the anniversary of the reopening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington on July 20 last year, some 54 years after the U.S. government unilaterally severed diplomatic relations with Havana.

Since the 1959 deep-going social revolution in Cuba, which brought a workers and farmers government to power, Washington has used sabotage, an attempted invasion, diplomatic isolation and an unprecedented economic embargo to try to overturn the rule of the working class and its allies.

Recognizing that more than 50 years of this course had failed to accomplish its aims, President Barack Obama—and a substantial majority in the ruling class he represents—decided it was time to try something else. Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced Dec. 17, 2014, the beginning of talks to restore diplomatic relations. Simultaneously, the last of the Cuban Five, revolutionaries imprisoned by Washington for over 16 years, were released and returned home to Cuba.

Vidal said achievements of talks since then include the removal of Cuba from the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism and the creatio

n of the Cuba-U.S. Bilateral Commission. “It was important to have a mechanism of this type to address unresolved issues, cooperation in areas of mutual interest and talks on bilateral and multilateral matters,” she said. Ten such agreements have been signed and others are currently being negotiated related to drug trafficking, search and rescue, ocean oil-spill response and meteorology.

Embargo remains in force

But the bulk of Washington’s economic embargo still remains in force, she said. Imports from the U.S. to Cuba are severely restricted, exports from Cuba to the U.S. virtually impossible and banking relations have not been normalized. Cuba can still not make financial transfers, and the U.S. government continues to impose heavy fines on banks and foreign financial entities that do business there.

The Obama administration has imposed penalties totaling more than $14 billion, “a record amount in the history of the application of the blockade against our country,” Vidal said, “on U.S. and foreign entities for their legitimate associations with Cuba.” This continues to have “an intimidating effect on U.S. and international banks. Thus far, the U.S. government has failed to issue a political statement or legal document explaining to world banks that operations with Cuba are legitimate, and that they won’t be sanctioned.”

Article continues here:  Victim Vidal

Editor’s Note:  Vidal was thrown out of the United States in May 2003 as part of a mass expulsion of 16 Cuban spies serving under diplomatic cover.

 

 

U.S. Academics Honor Expelled Spy With Award 1

Vidal awardCuban Diplomat Josefina Vidal Presented with LASA Award

Radio Rebelde, web@radiorebelde.icrt.cu

The 34th Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) granted Josefina Vidal, director general of the United States Department of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the prize given by the organization.

Vidal received in New York the LASA Award for her contribution to the new scenario of relations between Cuba and the U.S., reported the Cuban television newscast.

Upon receiving the acknowledgement, she said she extended it to the Cuban people and the leaders of the Revolution who have managed to lead, with intelligence and in an accurate way, the process of dialogue with the northern country.

The Cuban diplomat, while speaking at the second session of the Congress of LASA, reiterated the willingness of the island to promote better relations with the United States, a scenario that she said goes through changes to leave behind the traditional hostility of Washington, translated into policies such as the blockade and subversive programs.

In the four-day forum that started on Friday, the top official reviewed the achievements and challenges of relationships since December 17, 2014, when presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama announced the decision to seek the normalization of ties, Prensa Latina reported.

In the presence of dozens of academicians, intellectuals and scholars of Latin America and the Cuban-American scenario, she recalled the full validity of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington on Cuba for over half a century now and the occupation of territory at the Naval Base of Guantanamo.

She also mentioned the preferential immigration policy for Cuban citizens, programs aimed at promoting internal changes and the illegal radio and television broadcasts.

Vidal highlighted the removal of Cuba from the unilateral list of countries sponsoring terrorism, the resumption of diplomatic relations, the reopening of embassies in Havana and Washington DC, the high-level visits and the signing of cooperation agreements in areas of mutual interest.

Likewise, she also highlighted the three meetings held between Raul Castro and Obama, and the U.S. president’s trip to the island in March, which she considered a boost to the process of rapprochement.

Feature continues here:  LASA Awards Cuban Spy

Editor’s Note:  Spy-Diplomat Josefina Vidal was expelled in May 2003 in retaliation for Cuba’s collection against U.S. operations in Iraq. A career Directorate of Intelligence (DI), Vidal is believed to be assigned to Department M-I (U.S. Targets). Long considered the most dangerous element in the DI, M-I focuses on manipulating academia (to include recruiting professors as “talent spotters”) and penetrating the U.S. Intelligence Community and Congress.

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).

 

 

 

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]

John Kerry Celebrates US Embassy Opening With Expelled Cuban Spies 4

John Kerry, Gustavo Machin, Josefina Vidal, Jose Ramon Cabanas By Carlie Kollath Wells, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets members of the Cuban delegation inside the newly opened embassy, at the end of a flag raising ceremony, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Kerry is accompanied by Gustavo Machin, Cuba's deputy chief of North American affairs, left, Cuba's Josefina Vidal, director general of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, second right, and Jose Ramon Cabanas, chief of the Cuba mission in Washington D.C., right. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate)

John Kerry, Gustavo Machin, Josefina Vidal, Jose Ramon Cabanas

By Carlie Kollath Wells, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets members of the Cuban delegation inside the newly opened embassy, at the end of a flag raising ceremony, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Kerry is accompanied by Gustavo Machin, Cuba’s deputy chief of North American affairs, left, Cuba’s Josefina Vidal, director general of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, second right, and Jose Ramon Cabanas, chief of the Cuba mission in Washington D.C., right. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate)

Editor’s Note: Cuban’s intelligence services have long perceived the US as a hapless, bumbling giant. Instances like this – Kerry with career Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers Gustavo Machin and Josefina Vidal – reinforce Havana’s institutionalized contempt. Machin and Vidal were both thrown out of the US for engaging in espionage against the United States.

Cuba Won’t Move ‘One Millimeter’ to Please Enemies in the U.S. 3

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, gestures as she speaks with the media at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The United States and Cuba claimed progress Friday toward ending a half-century diplomatic freeze, suggesting they could clear some of the biggest obstacles to their new relationship within weeks. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, gestures as she speaks with the media at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The United States and Cuba claimed progress Friday toward ending a half-century diplomatic freeze, suggesting they could clear some of the biggest obstacles to their new relationship within weeks. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Washington Times

Cuba’s lead negotiator in talks with Washington said Friday the island’s internal affairs would never be on the negotiating table and Havana would never move “one millimeter” to placate enemies in the United States.

“Decisions on internal matters are not negotiable and will never be put on the negotiating agenda in conversations with the United States,” Josefina Vidal, director of U.S. affairs for the Cuban Foreign Ministry, told Reuters.

Cuba will never do absolutely anything, not move one millimeter, to try to respond,” she added.

Ms. Vidal’s comment comes as the U.S. reinstated diplomatic ties with Cuba after 54 years of silence. The U.S. re-opened it’s embassy in Havana on Friday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Havana that the U.S. Congress was unlikely to ever lift a punishing economic embargo on Cuba unless the Communist government improved its human rights record.

Editor’s Note: Career Directorate of Intelligence (DI) Officer Josefina Vidal left the US in May 2003 as part of a mass expulsion of 16 Cuban spy-diplomats.