Cuba's Spy Apparatus, a Conduit of Latin America Insurgency
By Jerry Brewer
To effectively monitor aggression, interference and other forms of
insurgency within their homelands, democracies throughout the Americas
must immediately address their governments' counterintelligence missions.
Cuba's Intelligence Directorate (DI), formerly known as the Dirección
General de Inteligencia, or DGI, has been and remains a contingency of
very well-trained, organized and financed agents of covert and hostile
espionage throughout the Americas and elsewhere.
The Cuban DI is responsible for all foreign intelligence collection. The
40-year history of the nefarious operations of the DI has included
active involvement in aiding leftist and dictatorial movements in Latin
America, Africa and the Middle East.
With Castro's recent subterfuge of renaissance into quasi-capitalism and
a modicum of professed freedoms - one for the decades, many people are
demanding that the U.S. trade embargo, in place since 1960, be lifted.
The truth is that Cuban espionage has been linked to villainous
associations with the Chinese and Iranians, as well as with Venezuela.
As well, a report from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency indicates
that Cuba has been expanding intelligence operations with others in the
Middle East and South Asia.
Cuba has trained thousands of communist guerrillas and terrorists, and
has sponsored violent acts of aggression and subversion in most
democratic nations of the southwestern hemisphere. U.S. government
studies within the intelligence community documented a total of 3,043
international terrorist incidents in the decade of 1968 to 1978. Within
that study, "over 25 percent occurred in Latin America."
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has adopted the previous
Soviet-styled Cuban intelligence service as his model for Venezuela's
security service, while utilizing Cuban intelligence counterparts and
advisors as his primary sources on security and intelligence. Moreover,
resisting U.S. drug and terrorism interdiction throughout South America
has been a busy agenda of Chavez.
Chavez is perceived to be the mentor of Bolivia's president, Evo
Morales, a former coca grower's union leader who recently, while seeking
to normalize diplomatic relations with Washington, stated that the DEA
is not welcome in his country.
In 2009 Ecuador refused to renew the ten-year lease to the United States
at Manta airbase, an action that was dismissed simply with language
describing a revision of the nation's Constitution under President
Rafael Correa's leadership. The Constitution "bans foreign military
bases" on Ecuadorian soil.
Still, the successes of the U.S. Southern Command and drug enforcement
operators in Latin America are well-documented.
As well, Panama, Colombia and Peru recognized the critical need to fight
narcotrafficking and terrorism, and quickly expressed interest in
alliances with U.S. efforts. The success of Colombia against the FARC
guerrillas, as well as Mexico's valiant fight against its narcoterrorist
organized crime insurgents, represent either one becoming part of the
solution or a part of the problem.
Getting back to Chavez, reports link his government with radical
terrorist organizations and other state sponsors of terrorism. Hezbollah
fundraising activities, in the form of "financial transactions," on
Margarita Island in Venezuela have been widely reported.
According to General Marcos Ferreira, a former Venezuelan Intelligence
Director, Chavez gave instructions to "destroy records" on ten suspected
Hezbollah fundraisers conducting suspicious financial transactions on
the islands of Margarita, Aruba and Curaçao, and in the cities of
Maracaibo and Valencia.
Margarita Island appears to be the center of an extensive terrorist
financial network stretching throughout the Caribbean to Panama, and the
Cayman Islands, where three Afghanis traveling on false Pakistani
passports were caught entering from Cuba with $200,000 in cash in August
of 2001. According to British colonial authorities, efforts to launder
the money through Cayman banks also involved a group of Arab businessmen.
The deployment of the Cuban Intelligence Service in Venezuela is so deep
that its agents enjoy "direct access" to President Chávez, and often
provide information not shared with local intelligence services, as
indicated by cables sent from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to the State
Chávez has tried to indoctrinate the Venezuelan military, bringing in
thousands of advisers to replicate Cuban military doctrine, and to deal
with security and intelligence issues. Cuban officers are deeply
involved in intelligence and security matters in Venezuela, from the
acquisition of military equipment to overall military strategy. The
number of Cuban intelligence experts working in Venezuela is reported to
be around 3,000.
Too, reports place FARC and ELN guerrillas from Colombia in safe havens
And, prior to Vicente Fox becoming president of Mexico, there was a
reported "gentleman's agreement" between Mexico and Cuba - that "Havana
intelligence could operate in Mexico, largely against U.S. targets, as
long as Havana did not meddle in Mexico's internal affairs." Cuba
continues to maintain a large intelligence-gathering hub in Mexico City.
Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a
global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His
website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/.