Why do Cuba “experts” Ann Louise Bardach and Wayne Smith so often and so lovingly source Cuban “defector” Domingo Amachustegui? Reply

by Humberto Fontova

(Below)  On left with “Cuba expert” Ann Louise Bardach   &  on right with “Cuba expert” Wayne Smith.   








There has been a sibling tug of war between Raúl and Fidel since childhood,” Domingo Amuchastegui, a former Cuban intelligence officer, tells me over lunch this summer at Versailles…Domingo and I had originally met not long after his defection in the 1990s, and I’ve learned over more than two decades of covering Cuba that he has uncommon insights into the Caribbean island that has bedeviled every American president since Dwight Eisenhower. Indeed, he is that rare breed of defector who somehow manages to regularly visit his homeland.” (Ana Louise Bardach in Politico)

“A thoughtful Cuban defector,”(says Wayne Smith of Domingo Amuchastegui.)




Cuban “intelligence defector” Domingo Amuchastegui ( who somehow retains all the professional positions to his left–in Stalinist Cuba, from where he travels back and forth at leisure!)



Feature continues here: Faux Defector?

Editor’s Note:  In her book “Cuba Confidential,” Ann Louise Bardach admits to receiving a recruitment “pitch” from an intelligence officer assigned to the Cuban Interests Section (now Embassy) in Washington DC.



Havana, Washington e o caso Alan Gross 1

Há quatro anos, Alan Gross está preso em Cuba, onde cumpre uma pena de 15 anos de prisão por “subversão”

By Salim Lamrani, GlobalResearch.ca

Desde o dia 3 dezembro de 2009, Alan Gross está preso em Havana. Era um empregado da Development Alternative, Inc (DAI), contratada pela Agência dos Estados Unidos para o Desenvolvimento Internacional (USAID, por sua sigla em inglês), a qual, por sua vez, depende do Departamento de Estado. Gross foi julgado e condenado a 15 anos de prisão por distribuir equipamentos via satélites, no marco do programa do Departamento de Estado de “promoção da democracia em Cuba”, cujo objetivo é uma “mudança de regime” na ilha.[1]

De acordo com Washington, Gross estava em Havana para ajudar os membros da comunidade judaica cubana a “se conectarem com outras comunidades judaicas do mundo” [2]. Não obstante, a mesma comunidade judaica de Havana contradiz a versão oficial dos Estados Unidos e da família Gross. A agência estadunidense Associated Press afirma, de sua parte, que os “líderes da comunidade judaica de Cuba negaram que o contratado estadunidense Alan Gross […] tivesse colaborado com eles”.[3] Do mesmo modo, a Agência Telegráfica Judaica pontua que “os principais grupos de Cuba desmentiram qualquer contato com Alan Gross e qualquer conhecimento de seu programa.”[4]

O reverendo Odén Marichal, secretário do Conselho de Igrejas de Cuba (CIC), que agrupa as instituições religiosas cristãs bem como a comunidade judaica de Cuba, também ratificou essa posição: “A comunidade hebraica de Cuba, que é membro do Conselho de Igrejas de Cuba, nos disse: ‘Nós jamais tivemos relações com esse senhor, jamais nos trouxe nenhum equipamento de nenhum tipo’. Negaram qualquer relação com Alan Gross!”.[5]

Wayne S. Smith, embaixador estadunidense em Cuba entre 1979 e 1982 e diretor do programa “Cuba” do Centro de Política Internacional de Washington, diz, por outro lado, que “Gross estava envolvido em um programa cujas intenções são claramente hostis a Cuba, já que o objetivo é nada menos que a mudança de regime”.[6]

Feature continues here: Havana, Washington e o caso Alan Gross

Castro Apologists Gather for Cuba Seminar 1

Cuba Experts to Hold Symposium at Santa Monica Library

By Jason Islas, Staff Writer — Santa Monica Lookout

March 28, 2013 — Wayne Smith, who served as unofficial ambassador to Cuba under President Jimmy Carter and is currently the director of the Cuba Program and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy, will join six other experts on Cuban culture and politics to discuss the future of the Communist island nation at the Santa Monica Public Library. The Cuba Symposium, which will also feature a talk by journalist Ann Louise Bardach, author of Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Havana and Washington, will seek to answer the questions about the impact President Barack Obama’s second term might have on with U.S. relations with Cuba which have thawed little since the end of the Cold War.

“We’ll be talking about art, but mainly we’ll be talking about is the nature of the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. and what can happen in Obama’s second administration,” said Adolofo Nodal, a Cuban-born American who was general manager of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs from 1988 to 2001. “There are major changes afoot,” said Nodal, who is also the chief operating officer of Cuba Tours and Travel. He was referring to the February 24 announcement by Raul Castro — Fidel’s brother — that he would step down in 2018, which Nodal and other observers of Cuba saw as a sign of liberalization in the Communist nation.

Former National Geographic editor and long-time Cuba watcher, Elizabeth Newhouse, agrees. “They are trying to open up in little ways,” said Newhouse, who will also be speaking at the April 11 symposium. “It would be very helpful in moving that process forward if we engage with them.”

Bardach, who has been writing about Cuban politics for nearly 20 years starting with a 1994 interview with Fidel Castro for Vanity Fair, said, “I think Raul Castro realizes that the only way to save their bacon is to change.” She will offer an up-to-date political analysis of the current situation in Cuba at the Symposium. “There’s no getting around it, it’s a totalitarian dictatorship,” she said. Due to restrictions enforced by the government, “Cuba has the lowest level of Internet usage in the hemisphere.” And the embargo, which was codified into law as the Cuban Democracy Act in 1992, hasn’t helped Cubans’ access to information, even giving the Cuban government a convenient scapegoat for when Socialist policies fail, Bardach said.

Nodal, Newhouse and Smith are advocates of lifting the embargo placed on Cuba in 1960 and for loosening restriction on travel to the island nation. Though lifting the embargo is likely a distant possibility, some are hopeful that Obama’s second term could lead to looser travel restrictions. “Travel is another step toward a better understanding between two countries,” said Nodal, who sees travel as an opportunity for Americans and Cubans to get to know each other in a capacity other than as enemies. Newhouse said that under President Bill Clinton, travel was opened somewhat, but after the Bush Administration placed Cuba on a list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, restrictions were once again tightened.

Obama has since tried to reverse some of those policies. “In his first term, he opened up travel to Cuban Americans,” Newhouse said. “A year later, he re-instituted the People to People travel.” The nonprofit People to People International was founded by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 as a grass-roots diplomacy program “dedicated to enhancing cross-cultural communication within and across communities and nations,” according to its site.

As Cuba continues to change, Nodal and other observers hope that the future will bring greater ties with the island nation. “We really just want to get Americans and Cubans to meet,” said Nodal, adding that he hopes people come away from the April 11 Symposium “with an understanding of what the reality is in Cuba,” which he noted from his trip there a week ago, was optimistic.

The Symposium, which was organized by Nodal, runs from 6:15 to 9 p.m. in the Main Library’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium. Registration is required and those interested in attending should send an email to info@cubatoursandtravel.com.

Cuba Hints at Swapping US Contractor for Cuban Spies 1

By JUAN TAMAYO — The Miami Herald

One week after President Barack Obama won re-election, Havana offered a “draft agenda” for U.S.-Cuba negotiations that largely repeats its years-old positions but almost directly offers to swap American Alan Gross for five Cuban spies. The statement by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla Lopez to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday received little initial media attention. It was disseminated more broadly Wednesday by his ministry and Cuba’s diplomatic mission in Washington.

Obama has lifted nearly all limits on Cuban-American travel and remittances to the island, allowed educational visits by other U.S. residents, and restarted – and then stopped again – bilateral talks on migration issues. But his administration has repeatedly said that more significant improvements in bilateral relations can come only after Cuba frees Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor serving a 15-year prison sentence.

Wayne Smith, a former chief U.S. diplomat in Havana and now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington, said Rodriguez laid out a list of issues that Havana has long said it wanted to discuss in any bilateral talks. “He simply reiterated their position. I don’t see anything new there,” Smith said. “This is a nonstarter. Same demands as in the past. No offers of major concessions on human rights, etc.,” Jaime Suchlicki, head of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami, wrote in an email.

Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Cuban government analyst now lecturing at the University of Denver, called Rodriguez’s speech “a list of maximum demands that shows the bilateral conflict can be handled better but not solved” during Obama’s next term. But he added that the foreign minister’s words evoked Obama’s offer of a “new start” in relations with Cuba shortly after he won the White House in 2008. The U.S. State Department said it had no comment on the Rodriguez proposal.

“Today, here and now, I am again submitting to the U.S. government a draft agenda for a bilateral dialogue aimed at moving towards the normalization of relations,” Rodriguez said. His agenda items included lifting all U.S. sanctions; removing Cuba from the U.S. list of countries with links to international terrorism; and ending the Cuban Adjustment Act and the wet-foot, dry-foot policies, which Havana complains unfairly lure Cuban migrants to the United States.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2012/11/15/2769003/cuba-hints-at-swapping-us-contractor.html#storylink=cpy