Former DGI Officer Identifies 17 Castro Spies 6

DGI officer and Ambassador, René Ceballo Prats

DGI officer and Ambassador, René Ceballo Prats

Cubans Involved In Peru-Based Espionage Operations During The 1970s & 1980s

By Chris Simmons

General Juan Velasco Alvarado came to power as part of a junta that overthrew the Peruvian government in October 1968. In July 1973, Velasco’s leftist government established diplomatic relations with Cuba. A declassified Cuban government cable later identified the General as one of its intelligence agents. Velasco remained in power until late August 1975 when he was deposed by General Francisco Morales Bermudez, his prime minister.

Former Dirección General De Inteligencia (DGI) officer Enrique García Diaz served on the “Peru Desk” at DGI headquarters during this period. During an interview, he explained that three other officers also worked the “desk:” Eulalia Sardain (codenamed “Mayra”), René Ceballo Prats (“Ibrahim”) and Ismael Cruz Arce (“Jose Luis”). Two additional DGI officers who worked with García Diaz on Peru issues were Juan Pedro Gonzalez (“Giraldo”) and Jose Francisco Molina Mauri (“Ivan”).

According to media reports, René Ceballo Prats later led Cuba’s Embassy in Nicaragua as chargé d’affaires starting in 2009. He now serves as Cuban Ambassador to Lebanon.

The CIA’s 1983 global directory of Cuban officials provides the names and positions of 21 Cubans posted to Havana’s Embassy in Peru.  In a review of these personnel, García Diaz identified the following nine diplomats as Cuban intelligence officers or collaborators.

Counselor Jorge Pollo Garcia (“Osvaldo”). DGI Centro chief. According to Garcia Diaz, Pollo’s espionage career began in 1961 with the Illegal Department. Pollo reportedly served briefly in Japan in 1970 before his reassignment to Chile as the Deputy Centro Chief. Following his subsequent tour in Peru, Pollo became chief of the Southern Cone “desk,” overseeing this region’s spy operations. Several years later, he led the upgrade of Cuban intelligence operations in India from a one-man “pointe” to a full-blown Centro. He may have later served in Bolivia before becoming chief of staff for Jorge Valdés-Saldaña Risquet, a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. Media reports later cited Pollo as a Cuban diplomat in Guatemala in the early 2000s.

Consul General Ricardo Cruz Fernandez. DGI.

1st Secretary Maria Consuelo Ramiriz de Martinez. DGI.

Attaché Angel Moriaga Diaz. DGI Code Clerk.

Commercial Attaché Fidel Diez Tornes. García Diaz characterized this former colleague as the best DGI Case Officer (i.e., spy handler) in Peru.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Ruban Alayon Sanchez (“Lorenzo”). DGI.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Gustavo Carballosa (“Gaston”). DGI. According to García Diaz, Carballosa wrote the daily intelligence report for the Peruvian President.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Manuel Robles Sosa. America Department (DA). Europa Publications’ South America, Central America, and the Caribbean 2003 listed him as the PRELA representative in La Paz, Bolivia. Subsequent PRELA coverage seems to show him active at least through late September 2012.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Gerardo Torres. DGI Collaborator.

García Diaz recalled three additional intelligence officers not on the CIA list. They were:

  • Manuel Martinez Galan (“Manolo”), the husband of Maria Consuelo Ramiriz. García Diaz cited Martinez as the first DGI Centro Chief in Lima.
  • Eduardo Torres Ravelo. DGI. Open source publications referenced Torres Ravelo as a Cuban diplomat in Chile during the Allende years.
  • Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Sergio Medina (“Sergito”). DGI. García Diaz noted that Medina also served in Colombia at one point. The CIA’s 1983 roster listed Medina as one of several PRELA correspondents in Venezuela.

Enrique García Diaz defected in March 1989 while based in Ecuador. According to a March 2, 1994 feature by the Canadian Press (news agency), García Diaz had served with the DGI since 1978, handling Cuban agents in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. (Note: The Canadian Press article is available via Lexis/Nexis).

An intelligence-affiliated “diplomat” – understandably not identified by García Diaz because he served outside the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) – would be the Cuban Military Attaché, Colonel Manuel Bravo Yanez. While not every military attaché is a Case Officer (i.e., spy-handler), they are – at a minimum – overt intelligence collectors reporting to the Ministry of the Armed Forces (MINFAR).

Author’s Note: Given my knowledge of Mr. García Diaz, I have no reason to doubt the reliability of his information on this topic. In addition:

  • The status of DGI code clerk Angel Moriaga Diaz was confirmed by another highly reliable former DGI officer.
  • Declassified US government reports substantiated the DGI service of Luis Ismael Cruz Arce. This officer first served at the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City around August 1966 before being transferred to the one-diplomat Consulate in Tampico by 1970.
  • A declassified CIA report from Oct 17, 1969 identified Manuel Martinez Galan as a DGI officer. Author Jonathan Haslam also characterized Martinez as DGI, attributing his information to a London-based Cuban defector. In contrast, in 1972, internationally known newspaper columnist Jack Anderson identified Martinez, then a 1st Secretary in Santiago, as head of the DA’s Chile-based operations. A decade later, the CIA listed Martinez as a 1st Secretary at the Cuban Embassy in Moscow.

 

Wasp Network Spy-Handler Suffering From Arthritis; US to Blame Claims Cuba 1

Cuban Hero suffers from medical neglect in the U.S.

Prensa Latina News Agency

The Cuban antiterrorist fighter imprisoned in the United States Ramón Labañino trudge (sic) due to lack of proper medical care, said his wife Elizabeth Palmeiro in Abancay, Peru.

Elizabeth Palmeiro said Ramon has walking troubles, as he suffer (sic) from osteoarthritis and has not been treated properly.

However, she stressed the optimism and high morale that keeps the prisoner, who, along with two of his daughters, she recently visited in his prison in Ashland, Kentucky.

Labañino is one of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters imprisoned for nearly 15 years, while collecting information on terrorist groups and their plannings (sic) of attacks against Cuba, and unjustly sentenced to long prison terms.

Of the five, only René González has been released after serving most of his sentence, and the release of prisoners is one of the main agenda items of the XIV Peruvian Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba which opens tomorrow in Peru with Palmeiro as a guest.

She said in the interview to be the bearer of an appreciation message from Ramón, René and his companions Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, and their families, by the publicity work that takes place in Peru on the case, mainly by part of the Peruvian Committee of Solidarity with the Cuban Five.

He stressed the need for strengthened international solidarity with the Five, as they has been devoted his people, so they could be released and return to their homeland, and she also advised the Peruvian solidarity to extended they labor about the case to new sectors of population.

She also called the Peruvians to learn about the issue by simply deepen (sic) it online or through solidarity activists to understand that it is a tremendous injustice suffered by the families of prisoners and the entire people of Cuba.

According to Palmeiro, strengthen solidarity with the Five is vital because today it is a decisive stage of the battle for the freedom of the antiterrorist fighters.

She e (sic) explained that the U.S. President Barack Obama, serving his second term, has greater scope for taking action as Cuban prisoners reprieve, so activities such as letters, messages and other means should be multiplied to demand the fighters´ liberation.

Spy’s Mom Lobbies Peruvians for Release of Cuban 5 2

Cuba’s Prensa Latina (PRELA) has reported that Irma Sehwerert, mother of convicted Castro spy Rene Gonzalez, is visiting Peru. In Lima, she continues her outreach to Peruvian entities and personalities to publicize her version of her son’s espionage career. Predictably, she also lobbied on behalf of the remaining Cuban 5, more specifically, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero.

Irma Sehwerert and other Cuban officials were received at the Congress by legislator Sergio Tejada, of the ruling bloc Gana Peru. There she and pro-Castro allies “presented information on the case of the Five and the need to intensify the international pressure campaign so that U.S. President Barack Obama grants them a pardon,” according to PRELA. The Cuban 5 were arrested on September 12, 1998, after years of espionage efforts against the United States and Florida’s Cuban-American community.

Bolivian President Met With Spy-Wife Adriana Perez Reply

The wife of Wasp Network leader Gerardo Hernandez “met yesterday with President Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia’s Senate, Gabriela Montaño, and most members of the Legislative Assembly”  according to Havana’s Prensa Latina (PRELA).   On Wednesday, her first day in Bolivia, Perez focused on media interviews, as well as and meetings with diplomats and various Bolivian officials.  PRELA reports that today Perez will meet with “Bolivian intellectuals and media directors.”

See related postings:

“Lone Peruvian Official Met With Cuban Spy,” August 20, 2012, https://cubaconfidential.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/lone-peruvian-official-met-with-cuban-spy/

“Spy-Wife in Peru Lobbying For Cuban Five,” August 15, 2012, https://cubaconfidential.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/spy-wife-in-peru-lobbying-for-cuban-five/

“Wife of Jailed Cuban Spy-Master to Visit Bolivia,” August 8, 2012, https://cubaconfidential.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/wife-of-jailed-cuban-spy-master-to-visit-bolivia/

Spy-Wife in Peru Lobbying For Cuban Five 1

Prensa Latina (PRELA) reported earlier today that Adriana Perez, spouse of convicted spy Wasp Network ringleader Gerardo Hernández, is in Peru for “an intensive program of activities.”  According to PRELA, she was invited to attend this weekend’s 13th Peruvian Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba, which reportedly will focus on the issue of the Cuban Five.

Supportive Peruvians welcomed Perez last night, as did Cuban ambassador Juana Martinez.  PRELA reported that Perez was “surprised and honored for the welcome, and encouraged by the Cuban flags and posters with photos of the Five.”  Perez arrived in Peru with Ileana Alonso, whose father died on a Cuban airliner over Barbados in 1976.  Havana adamantly insists the plane was brought down by anti-Castro activists.  The two will meet with unspecified Peruvian authorities and hope to conduct interviews with the local media.

In an amusing albeit sloppy bit of journalism, PRELA erroneously cited Perez as “the wife of Rene Gonzalez, sentenced in 2001 to double life sentences plus 15 years in prison.” 

To see PRELA’s mistake, scroll down to the third line from the bottom:  http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=535723&Itemid=1

Wife of Jailed Cuban Spy-Master to Visit Bolivia Reply

Adriana Perez, wife of convicted Wasp Network ringleader Gerardo Hernández, is travelling to Bolivia this month to lobby support for the Cuban Five.  According to the Cuban News Agency (ACN), she will arrive in Bolivia on August 21 after a three-day stay in Peru.  She will then meet with members of the Bolivia-Cuba solidarity movement, legislators and government officials.  As it has for years, Cuban media used the media opportunity to criticize the United States’ repeated refusal to issue Adriana Perez a visa to visit her husband in jail.  Gerardo Hernández is serving two life terms plus 15 years.

Editor’s Note:  Following the arrests of 10 members of the Wasp Network, Adriana Pérez O’Connor was identified as a Cuban intelligence agent.  Her mission was to courier messages and material between Havana and Miami.  Still in training as a Directorate of Intelligence (DI) asset when the spy ring was beheaded in September 1998, she and her children were deported and permanently banned re-entry visas.  

Like Perez, Olga Salanueva (wife of Cuban 5 spy René González) has also been barred re-entry into the US.  Unlike Perez however, Salanueva was a fully trained spy and actively engaged in espionage against the United States when the  1998 arrests occurred. 

The U.S. allows family members of the other three spies almost limitless visas.  In addition to the long and frequent family visits, Cuban government officials also often enjoy visits with all five inmates.