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"The Sordid History of Cuba's Spy Apparatus"
Appendix to Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder
by Gus Russo and Stephen Molton

To those who labor under the misconception that Fidel Castro’s regime was incapable of maintaining a secret pipeline to a Lee Oswald, or not inclined to authorize and/or condone assassinations, an overview of Castro’s spy agencies might prove instructive. Traditionally, it has been infinitely easier to obtain operational details and internal structural layouts for the offices of America’s secret warriors than for those of its intelligence adversaries. This is especially true for Cuba’s spy apparatus. Given the relative transparency of the US government, thousands of books and monographs have been written on CIA, FBI, NSA, Military Intelligence, etc. But for those seeking to determine if Cuba’s spooks were prone to instigate (or even condone, as in the Kennedy case) foreign assassinations, it has been near impossible to get answers. However, when one pieces together testimony, CIA debriefs, and interviews from Cuba’s spy defectors, some very close to the top of its bureaucracy, a consistent and far different picture emerges of Cuba’s intel modus operandi than most would assume.
    The New York Times called Cuba's intelligence apparatus the “Little Spy Engine That Could.”  Indeed, far from being the undersized counterintelligence force that is commonly perceived for the diminutive nation, Cuba’s secret services are surprisingly aggressive and proactive. In fact, despite its weak economy and small size, the island nation boasts an intelligence arm that, relatively speaking, is much larger than that of the United States, with wide-ranging clandestine operations ongoing throughout the globe. The only small nation that even comes close to Cuba’s spycraft intensity is Israel.
    When Juan Antonio Rodriguez Menier, one of the highest ranked Cuban intelligence officers, and a founding member of Cuba’s G2 spy agency, defected to the US in 1987, he brought with him a wealth of information on the history and deepest secrets of Cuban intelligence services. (See his bio in footnote*)  Through interviews with him by the authors, as well as the procurement of his lengthy unpublished manuscripts which he also provided to the CIA, we at last have a window into the innermost workings and agendas of the Kennedy brothers’ dangerous adversaries.  Other Cuban intelligence defectors, such as Ricardo Morales, Vladimir Rodriguez Lahera, Gerardo Peraza, Jesus Raúl Perez Mendez, Major Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, Domingo Amuchastegui, Manuel De Beunza, Rafael del Pino, and Jose Cohen have helped us fill in even more details. What follows is the combined knowledge gleaned from these sources, as well as scholars such as Frank O. Mora, Antonio de la Cova, William Ratliff, Brian Latell (CIA’s Cuban expert), Stuart Hoyt (FBI’s Cuban expert), Claire Sterling, Rex Hudson, and others. Fabian Escalante Font, a longtime Cuban intelligence senior officer, is perhaps the only current Cuban official to have written on the subject, and his books, although mired in propaganda, have also given up a few structural details. All told, these sources describe a complex setup, with many branches (often overlapping), mergers, and name changes over the years.
* Rodriguez Menier joined Castro's 26th of July Movement in Havana in 1954 and from 1956, when Castro arrived in the Sierra Maestra from Mexico, he collected money, medicine, weapons, clothing, and information for Castro for the guerrilla forces.  In May 1959 Rodríguez Menier joined the Directorate of Information of the Rebel Army (DIER), later known as the G2. Over the decades that followed, he was involved in acts of penetration, recruiting for the incipient Cuban Intelligence service (known as M) and debriefing for the Department of State Security (DSE). Later he served as an Intelligence Officer, Department Head of the General Directorate of the National Revolutionary Police and Second Head of the Center of Intelligence of Cuba in Budapest, Hungary. From 1970 until 1985 he produced 15 secret TV documentaries at the request of Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro, Ramiro Valdés Menéndez and José Abrantes. In 1982 Rodríguez Menier was reassigned abroad, at the Cuban Intelligence Center in East Germany, as a DGI official. In February 1987, after eleven years trying to make the deal, he finally obtained political asylum in the United States with his family.

On August 22, 1958, while still organizing in the Cuban countryside, Army Commander Raúl Castro and Captain Abelardo Colomé Ibarra (war name “Furry”) signed a decree establishing the Basic Intelligence Service (SIB).  As part of the new infrastructure, Fidel Castro assigned then Captain Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, an alumus of the Granma expedition, to form and direct a small secret organization within the Rebel Army, citing three specific goals for the new cadre: to uncover the revolutionary fighters who were passing on information to the police or army of Batista; to detect those rebels who were likely to be recruited by the police or army of Batista; and to penetrate the ranks of the police and army of Batista in order to gather information about the plans of the government and to try to influence them. Simultaneously, Fidel instructed his brother Raúl to open the Western Second Front, which he did, in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, placing Captain Manuel "Barba Roja” (Red Beard) Piñeiro Lozada in charge. Born in Matanzas, the son of a Bacardi executive, Piñeiro had left his business studies at Columbia University early to join the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
In Sierra Maestra, Fidel and Raúl instructed Piñeiro to create still another organization, the National Revolutionary Police, a public branch of the secret intelligence organization, capable of preventing, controlling, and neutralizing any future actions against Cuba by the CIA and other enemy special services. From then on, Piñeiro served as Castro's dirty operations man for the Western Hemisphere, personally setting up and directing Cuba's assassination, kidnapping, and terror international in the region.
On January 10, 1959, less than two weeks after the Castro brothers’ revolutionary victory, Fidel appointed Valdés head of the Department of Intelligence of the Rebel Army (Departamento de Inteligencia del Ejercito Rebelde, or DIER), which now colloquially used the “G2” moniker that had been coined in the United States.  Piñeiro was appointed general inspector of the Department of Operations, and, with Valdés, opened temporary G2 headquarters in a pavilion at the Military Hospital of Colombia in Havana.  Soon, however, Valdés moved his headquarters to an immense residence located at the end of Fifth Avenue in the Miramar district where the road to Jaimanitas Beach begins. The new headquarters was called “The Directorate,” and had a staff of about 30 officials and functionaries.  Importantly, the G2 was always politically and militarily subordinate to the Castro brothers.
+ G2 is now a generic intelligence term, first coined by US General John J. Pershing in 1917 to denote a division level Army intelligence officer. S2 was used to denote intelligence officers at the regiment level.
    On March 26, 1959, the Intelligence Information Department of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (DIIFAR) was formed as a prelude to the founding, in October 1959, of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR - the Cuban “CIA”) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), with Raúl placed in charge of both. MINFAR named Ibarra as Vice Minister of Counterintelligence and Intelligence. Ibarra’s department was and is tasked with gathering intelligence abroad through military attachés, using contacts and agents. It also oversees the personal security of Raúl Castro. Fidel 's safety is guaranteed by the General Directorate of Personal Security (DGSP), one of the elite organizations of the Cuban state. The “Section on Life-Attempts” of the DGSP is in charge of gathering all information relating to an actual or suspected attempt on the life of Fidel Castro, regardless of how insignificant or improbable it may seem.  This includes checking everything Fidel eats, drinks, wears and uses, and having his favorite foreign beers shipped by diplomatic courier directly to Fidel (the “Supplies” section). The section is subdivided into bureaus that handle supplies of different kinds. The Section on Motor Vehicles is responsible for the cars and trucks Fidel Castro uses on the road and it includes an extensive repair shop.
         In addition, the Section on Life-Attempts gathers all information relating to an actual or suspected attempt on the life of Castro, regardless of how insignificant or improbable it may seem. In stark contrast to other branches of the MININT, this section moves quickly and decisively. The section's officers, who bypass normal bureaucracies to move quickly and decisively, have explicit orders to take no chances; its motto is "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." The officers are trained at a large facility called “Maby,” where only people whose work is related to this section are allowed to visit.
The Training School

Within a year of these agencies’ origins, young recruits from DSE, MINFAR, and MINREX were being dispatched to the Soviet Union for advanced training. According to the US Army Intelligence’s 2002 FOIA release on the history of Cuban Intelligence, Jose Abrantes, the personal assistant to Ramiro Valdés had gone to the USSR to take a special course of instructions. In his book, Executive Action, Fabian Escalante said that he was among those sent to the USSR.
According to a number of well-placed sources, one of the key schools for the young Cuban agents was located in Minsk, Russia, where another Castro supporter, Lee Oswald, was living out his Hemingway-esque adventure. The school was located on Ulyanova Street, run by one Col. Ilya Vasilyevich Prusakov, an MVD [Ministry of Internal Affairs] engineer, and one of the most privileged people in Minsk.  Note that the KGB (Soviet Internal Security) was a subsidiary of the MVD. Note also that Prusakov was the uncle of Lee Oswald’s soon-to-be Russian bride, Marina Prusakova. Gerald Patrick Hemming, an American Marine and Cuban rebel supporter who “ran guns” from the US to the Sierra Maestra forces from 1958 to 1960, learned about the Minsk facility while in the mountains with the Castros.
“Starting in 1960, Ramiro Valdés’ people began going to the Soviet bloc for training,” Hemming recalled shortly before his death. “The youngest rebels went to Minsk – I was scheduled to go myself – to the MVD Academy there. They would go to Minsk first, then on to GRU or STASI facilities in Prague and elsewhere.” Recall from the narrative that, according to both KGB and G2 sources, Valdés received the Russians’ Oswald Minsk file in Havana in 1962. According to former Cuban diplomat Rafael Nunez, among those training in Minsk was Fabian Escalante, who worked directly under Valdés at the time. Hemming concurs: “Fabian Escalante definitely went to Minsk.” Upon his return from Russia, Escalante was sent to Costa Rica on a secret mission to spy on the exiles who were prepping there for the upcoming Bay of Pigs invasion.
    According to a 1963 CIA memo, a Soviet defector debriefed in London in 1950 told the Agency that the Minsk school was founded in 1947, and had an enrollment of approximately 200 students at the time.  A 1968 Soviet defector, a Minsk engineer, also informed the CIA (and later author Edward Jay Epstein) that the school was well known to Minsk residents because of its one-way windows and the high stone wall that shielded it.
    G2 officer Gerado Peraza joined Fidel Castro's rebel forces in the Sierra Maestra.  In early January 1959, having reached the rank of second lieutenant in the Revolutionary Army, Peraza returned to Havana, and, after spending a few months as a policeman, joined the G2 security service after being trained in the USSR. In 1982, after his defection to the US, he testified in closed session before a US Senate subcommittee and also spoke of the Cuban training in the USSR:
The training in the Soviet Union was based primarily in the knowledge of the Central Intelligence Agency and the other organizations of intelligence in the United States, the different working methods of the FBI. The course of penetration was given by the teacher who had spent 20 years in the United States as an illegal, and a considerable amount of time, hours, on explosives.
[The Soviets] gave briefings on the chiefs of the intelligence agencies their background, the means and the methods of recruiting agents used by the intelligence services of the United States, and the importance of the illegal centers, and what, at that time, they prepared us for to set up the illegal centers.

In his unpublished manuscript, G2 senior defector Rodriguez Menier further described the Soviet training schools:

At first, every three years about 100 high Cuban officers took courses on the theory and practice of intelligence and counterintelligence. After 1975, every 18 months some 25 of these officers took “refresher” courses even as 100 new officers began the three-year course. While Soviet instructors of MINFAR taught in Cuba, instructors for the MININT did not. [I have] talked with at least 200 of those Cuban officers and not one said he had learned anything new. On the contrary, they complained that the Soviet professors were hiding very important matters from them… The Soviet bloc assisted the MININT in various ways: instruction of Cuban officers via academic courses and provision of free equipment, accessories, armaments, autos, trucks and uniforms. The Soviet Union was the most generous bloc country in terms of quantity, but assistance from Hungary and East Germany was of higher quality…
Within the MININT, Soviet advisers were sent to the minister and vice-ministers of intelligence and counterintelligence, and to the police from the level of director down to the chiefs of operational or technical sections. Sergio del Valle and Ramiro Valdés were moderately influenced by Soviet advisers, but did not keep their positions for long. The Soviets were particularly interested in technical military questions while the Cubans wanted immediately usable information. Thus Cubans would exchange more general, technical information for intelligence of immediate use, such as word on the growth of the Nicaraguan Contras or levels of Soviet aid to the Sandinistas.”
 CIA Document # 104-10015-10003, 12/17/63

Lee Oswald, as he noted in his “Historic Diary,” frequented the Foreign Language Institute on Ulyanova Street to meet women. By happenstance, the Institute was directly adjacent to the MVD school attended by Castro’s young charges. Most importantly, Oswald added that he had befriended a number of the Cuban trainees being groomed there for leadership positions in Havana. Oswald hoped that he would one day end up in Cuba, where these contacts would prove useful to him. At one point he even bragged to Marina that he would become a “minister” in the new government.
    Shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Moscow invited 1,500 DGI agents, including Che Guevara, to the KGB's Moscow Center for an intensive training in intelligence operations.

MININT and the DGI

On June 6, 1961, the Ministry of the Interior  (MININT) was founded with Decree No. 940, to minister to internal state security. It housed Valdés’ G2 and Piñeiro’s DGI (the General Intelligence Directorate, or Dirección General de Inteligencia.) Piñeiro remained the DGI chief until 1964.  MININT (& G2) was legally subordinate to Raúl’s MINFAR, with Raúl and MINFAR responsible for watching over the military exercises of the MININT. Often, MININT officers (such as Fabian Escalate Font) were assigned to work on out-of-state operations with Raúl Castro.  According to Rodriguez Menier, MININT had a staff of about 5,000 in only its first year. He also noted the following MININT characteristics:
The numbers and abbreviations of MININT departments, sections, and bureaus have often been changed: in 1960, 1967, in 1977 and, the last time, so far as we know, in 1985. With so many changes over so many decades it is hardly surprising that senior functionaries, who are also operational officials, do not always get used to new names, especially when they are largely bureaucratic in nature and have little or no important operational application.

    According to Rodriguez Menier, MININT’s DGI is responsible for all foreign intelligence collection and breaks down into two key components:
1. Find out everything possible abroad about the plans of foreign governments, political parties, international organizations, private enterprises and associations, social groups and others which will strengthen the intelligence capacity of the Cuban government;

2. Department K-2 gathers intelligence on the United States and Canada.

From the Federation of American Scientists came more DGI details:
The DGI is responsible for foreign intelligence collection. The DGI has six divisions divided into two categories of roughly equal size: the Operational Divisions and the Support Divisions. The operational divisions include the Political/Economic Intelligence Division, the External Counterintelligence Division, and the Military Intelligence Division. The Political Economic Intelligence Division consists of four sections: Eastern Europe, North America, Western Europe, and Africa-Asia-Latin America. The External Counterintelligence Division is responsible for penetrating foreign intelligence services and the surveillance of exiles.
    The support divisions include the Technical Support Division, the Information Division, and the Preparation Division. The Technical Support Division is responsible for production of false documents, communications systems supporting clandestine operations, and development of clandestine message capabilities. The Information and Preparation Divisions are responsible for intelligence analysis functions.

    The FAS further reported that the DGI includes three Liberation Committees - for the Caribbean, Central America, and South America - collectively known as the Liberation Directorate (DL). In the early 1960's, the DL also was responsible for supporting liberation movements in Africa, including those who overthrew the government of Zanzibar in 1963.
    In his 1982 Senate testimony, Gerardo Peraza described the prime directives for all these Cuban intelligence agencies:

• “The principal function of the Directorate of Intelligence was penetration and recruitment in the United States of America. For this reason, it was divided--before the Soviet Union took over the control of the intelligence--in three main sections. Section 3 was the one which worked directly against the CIA. It worked with the principal center in New York; and the other centers in Canada and Puerto Rico.”

• “[It is] mandatory for the members of the DGI to belong to the party, to have gone through schools, intelligence schools in Moscow and in Cuba.”

• “The Soviet intelligence officers always saw in the Cuban intelligence service a great potential of penetration in the United States, because Cuba is a small country, not a great power, and many people in the United States feel a certain sympathy toward a small country.”

        • “The Cuban intelligence service has always been against the United States.
Exclusively. All the other countries where they work, they do it to direct the activity against the United States…For example, when we went to London, the plans of intelligence work were directed toward certain British citizens. But the central or main objective was to utilize these people in one way or another to penetrate the United States, which is the principal objective of the intelligence center in London, the penetration of the American Embassy in London, and all the efforts were directed toward that center…in the case of Spain, Cuba detected that the United States was directing certain activities from Spain and all the group of the CIA that worked--I mean, of the Cuban intelligence that worked against the CIA were transferred to Spain to work against Spain. But the principal objective was to detect the activities of the US intelligence in Spain, with the objective of penetrating the United States, with, in other words, all the activities of the intelligence service directed toward the penetration of the United States, which is the main objective. This is the reason for being of the Cuban intelligence service.

• “The rules of the DGI are that all the diplomats who come to the United States or to New York have to be members of the intelligence service.”

    Regarding this last point, FAS notes: “The Cuban mission to the United Nations is the third largest UN delegation, and it has been alleged that almost half the personnel assigned to the mission are DGI officers. The DGI actively recruits within the Cuban émigré community and has used refugee flows into the United States to place agents.” 
    One facet of Cuba’s intelligence style explains why, as shown in the narrative, Lee Oswald had grown impatient with his Cuban contacts and felt it was necessary to go to Mexico City and shake things up. Rodriguez Menier has written that Cubans are slow and methodical in their assessments of a foreign collaborator. “Much time is required for what is called the ‘characterization’ of agents or potential agents, as a great deal of the success or failure of a recruitment and subsequent operations depends upon it,” Menier informs. “On average, the Cuban service spends from three to five months characterizing a candidate residing on the island and a year on a candidate living abroad.”
    The furtive Mexican rendezvous of Oswald and the Cubans also fits nicely with the Cubans’ modus operandi. “In order to avoid the exposure of a very important agent, regardless of whether his importance is actual or potential,” says Menier, “the DGI chooses to communicate with the agent through an Illegal Officer [undercover spy] from this department. The Illegal Officer travels from Cuba to some other country on a legal passport but from that country uses a false ("illegal") passport and an assumed identity. He travels to two or three other countries before entering the United States where he meets the agent at a scheduled place.”
    By Menier’s assessment of his homeland’s spy prerequisites, Oswald’s manic devotion to Castro explains why the Cubans would have had faith in Oswald’s future potential. “Cuban officers always prefer an ideological agent to a mercenary or one who is blackmailed since he is less susceptible to becoming a double-agent and is more likely to be truthful,” Menier explained. “I know of no case where an agent was paid, though it is customary to reimburse an agent for expenses incurred while working. Agents are rewarded with exquisite or exotic presents, however, which are not necessarily valuable in monetary terms. Cuba has not won foreign support with dollars but through empathy, ideology, resentment, and the exploitation of human misery.”
    “Why do foreigners want to become agents?” Menier ponders before answering himself. “In the developed nations it is the guilt complex because of their material well-being, the supposed lack of moral values and the corruption of society.”  The very moral turpitudes Oswald himself denounced in his writings and radio debates. 


Since the beginnings of Castro’s revolution,  “El Leder Maximum” has been obsessed with planting spies in the US, especially within the ranks of the exile “traitors.” With Castro himself personally involved in all of the most important operations, Havana's information-gathering machine has been described by former CIA Cuba analyst, Brian Latell, as “among the four or five best anywhere in the world.” Asked to comment on Castro’s hands-on style, Latell added, “He's good. He's really, really good.”
    In the beginning, Cuban intelligence used American soldier of fortune William Morgan, who had gone to the mountains to help Fidel, to entrap over 200 local Cubans who were working with counterrevolutionaries 90 miles away in Miami.  For the US, things only got worse. As seen in the narrative, Castro’s spies had thoroughly penetrated every American plot, from the earliest assassination plots, to the Bay of Pigs Invasion, to the 1963 re-invasion plans, to AM/LASH.   It has been shown that there were fears --  and evidence -- that Rolando Cubela was a “double agent,” but he may have been the tip of the double agent iceberg. The Kennedys also pinned their anti-Castro hopes on fomenting a Cuban military revolt led by such luminaries as Granma veteran General Juan Almeida Bosque, yet if defected Cuban officers are correct, even Almeida, a recipient of the rare title “Hero of the Revolution,” may have been playing his US contacts for fools.
    Upon his entry into the United States in 1983, Jesus Mendez, a former DGI agent indicated that back in the 1960's, Cuban intelligence recognized that it had, at one point, a 100 percent ratio of suspected US agents in Cuba doubled and placed back into the US reporting on anti-Castro activities. “Nearly all the agents recruited by the CIA back to the early sixties were found to be plants taking instructions from Cuban premier Fidel Castro,” Mendez said.  Maj. Florentino Aspilagga Lombard, who defected in 1987, specifically identified thirty-eight Cubans recruited by the CIA who were in fact doubles working for Fidel, this despite their having passed CIA lie detector tests.  According to Rodriguez Menier, the Cubans had received extensive training in beating the polygraph machine. Further the Cuban doubles were instructed to appeal to their case officers should there be a problem with the test results. As predicted, the case officers were usually manipulated into believing their Cuban source over the machine.
    Rodriguez Menier produced two internal documentaries for MININT, wherein about 40 penetration agents explained how they had allowed the CIA to think they made a successful recruiting. Thus, the phony US operatives were able to feed a mass of misinformation to the CIA that is likely still stored in the computers of US intelligence.  All this begs the question: was Rolando Cubela among those who fooled their American handlers?
    The Cuban intelligence superiority also flourished in the US thanks to groups such as the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, which received funding from Havana via its United Nations delegation in New York. That delegation is the third largest in the world, and nearly half of its personnel are believed by authorities to be DGI officers.

        In the 1970s, FBI agent Stuart Hoyt was assigned to field offices in New York, Boston, San Juan and Washington, D.C., and for three years he supervised the agency's anti-Cuba efforts. He notes that Cuban agents are profligate in all its official diplomatic missions, especially the United Nations (code-named M15), the Cuban embassies in Mexico City (M2), and Madrid (M6).   Another federal Cuban expert has testified that Cuba's intelligence devotes an entire department to infiltrating exile groups and another department to getting inside the FBI, CIA, State Department and other US governmental agencies.
            In a recent trial of Cuban spies caught in Miami, Hoyt testified that DGI agents used typical spying techniques, including writing secrets on water-soluble paper that could quickly be destroyed. DGI also communicated with beepers and pay phones, used counter-surveillance measures, post office boxes, fake documents and concealment devices To cover themselves, DGI used  “compartmentalization,” or limiting each person's knowledge, so that “in case one is arrested, he will not be able to identify the other.”
On one occasion, Cuba even shared with the US a glimpse of its penetration of exiles living abroad. In 1979, as Cuba was preparing for the 8th Pan Am Games in Puerto Rico, they became concerned for the security of their athletes. A Cuban intelligence official met secretly with a CIA agent assigned to the San Juan station where he expressed his concern. When the CIA officer asked how he could help, the Cuban gave him a list of places where the exile activists gathered, and then gave him a list of eighty-four names of Cuban exile activists operating in San Juan. His hope was that the CIA would keep an eye on them (CIA TELEX From San Juan to Director, 7-26-79).
Among other notorious Cuban US intelligence operations:

• In 1990, José Basulto, founder of the anti-Castro group “Brothers to the Rescue” in Miami, which saved Cuban refugees stranded in the ocean between Florida and Cuba, and air-dropped anti-Castro leaflets on Havana, recalled an enthusiastic young volunteer flyer named Ruben Campa.  It wasn’t until eight years later that Basulto learned that “Ruben Campa” was an alias borrowed from a dead Texas boy and that his recruit's real name was Rene Gonzalez. Gonzalez and nine others were arrested and accused of running “La Red Avispa” -- the Wasp Network -- which prosecutors said was spying on US military bases and Cuban exile groups.

• In the summer of 1992, the US Department of State approved a half-million dollar grant contract to Florida International University (FIU) for a study on United States-Cuba relations. Areito Magazine, the Antonio Maceo Brigade (BAM), the Cuban-American Committee for Normalization of Relations with Cuba, the Committee of 75 dialogue group, the Cuban Culture Circle, and the Institute for Cuban Studies (IEC). However, according to former DGI officials Florentino Azpillaga, Jesus Perez Mendez, Manuel Espinosa, and US law enforcement officers, these organizations were linked to the DGI and its front group, the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).
(Source: CIA Debrief of Mendez).

• During the trial of several Cuban spies in Miami, one of the accused, Alejandro Alonso, revealed on December 30, 2000 that he was instructed from Havana to locate areas in South Florida "where we can move persons as well as things, including arms and explosives."

• In April 2000, in Washington, D.C., a press conference was held by Joe Carrollo, the Mayor of Miami, in which he revealed an intelligence report charging current Cuba Charge d’Affairs, Fernando Remirez de Estenoz, as the person who introduced bacteriological weapons to kill blacks by Cuban soldiers during the war in Angola, Africa.

• In 2001, five Cuban agents were convicted in Miami, while nine more of their compadres were named, but not captured. The Cuban government asserted they were men of courage, sent to the United States to ferret out terrorism plots by Cuban exile groups waging war against President Fidel Castro. Three months after the 1998 arrests of the agents, three Cuban diplomats at the United Nations were expelled for alleged involvement with the Miami spy network. Guy Lewis, a former US attorney who oversaw the prosecution, said, “It's clear that Cuba's intelligence service maintains a contingency of very well-trained, organized and financed agents.”

• That same year, a high-ranking US immigration official in Miami was convicted of disclosing classified information to Cuba.

• In 2002, Ana Belen Montes, a senior analyst on Cuban affairs for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, was convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Cubans. Montes was so idealogically committed to Castro that she spied for free. Referring to the United States economic embargo against Cuba, in force since 1961, Montes claimed her actions reflected her concern over allegations of Washington's alleged unfair treatment of the Castro regime.

    In a recent interview, when asked whether Cuba would continue to send agents to the United States Ricardo Alarcon -- president of Cuba's National Assembly and the third-most-powerful political figure on the island after Castro and his brother, Raúl -- said emphatically: "Yes, with a capital Y."

 *  *  *   *

    How have Cuba’s intelligence agencies managed to stay so successful in their US operations for over forty years? G2 defectors Menier and Peraza have quick answers. Menier: “American misunderstandings and miscalculations made it possible for the MININT to consolidate its operation with considerable efficiency… Americans not only miscalculated the MININT, they misunderstood the Cuban people in general. The US has failed to realize the enormous potential for surveillance that an ideologically motivated neighborhood could unleash… It was so easy to place penetration agents both in Cuba and Miami. The US government could not tell the difference between a Cuban who had been affected by the revolution and another who had benefitted from it. It was unable to fully realize how much the agents and officials of the MININT were willing to sacrifice for their cause. Even though the fight was harsh and to the bitter end, MININT members always felt they were the winners.”
    Gerardo Peraza testified before Congress that “there are now about 300 DGI officers and agents in the Miami area alone. The objective of these 300 agents is to distract the counterintelligence services of the United States when they send such a number of agents.…the counterintelligence agencies, because of the small number of agents,  have no possibility of detecting the true agents…the FBI does not have the time to detect  the real agents. This is reason why, for instance, that my professor of intelligence in Moscow spent 20 years in an illegal center in the United States, and claimed to have never been bothered.”
    In one embarrassing exchange, a Senate committeeman asked Peraza if there had been many successful placings of high-ranking DGI or KGB agents within the US intelligence service or any defense or security-oriented agencies. To which Peraza replied,  “Yes, definitely. We can use as an example the Senate.”  The senator quickly muzzled the witness, saying, “I imagine we better have a closed session on that.” Peraza said he’d be happy to do just that.
    Peraza continued:  
“The weakness in the US intelligence in the years 1965 to 1970 gave the opportunity to install those people in America. The problem was that when the Cuban intelligence service had nobody to obstruct its work, there was no activity detected. There was no possibility, no way that the United States could do anything against Cuba. All the forces were directed to prepare the penetration and the intelligence work against the United States from different countries.”

    From Menier’s manuscript, Protecting and Promoting Fidel: 
“The problem is that the counterintelligence services of the United States always pay more attention to the Soviet intelligence officers. For example, a Cuban intelligence officer, if he makes a contact with an American who has access to high, to classified information in the United States, he can do it much more easily. When Soviet intelligence officers become active in New York or in Washington, you can see the counterintelligence focused on the Cubans decrease. We made an experiment. The center of the Soviet intelligence in New York made an experiment, a joint operation on a certain day between Cuba and the Soviet Union. That day the Soviet officers in New York and the Cuban officers went out to see if they detected a lessening in the pressure on the Cuban intelligence officers. It almost disappeared when the Soviets began to move within their network.”

    In a recent interview, Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly and the third-most-powerful political figure on the island after Castro and his brother, Raúl, described the work of secret agents as the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself.
Asked whether Cuba would continue to send agents to the United States, Alarcon shifted from Spanish to English and said emphatically: “Yes, with a capital Y.”


Understandably obscured by the furor over the 1962 insertion of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962, was the installation that same year of the Soviets’ largest foreign SIGINT (signal intelligence) site in Lourdes Cuba. Located approximately 30 outside of Havana, the Lourdes facility, according to the FAS, “is reported to cover a 28 square mile area with 1,000-1,500 Soviet and then Russian engineers, technicians, and military personnel working at the base. Those familiar with the Lourdes facility have confirmed that the base has multiple groups of tracking dishes and its own satellite system, with some groups used to intercept telephone calls, faxes, and computer communications, in general, and with other groups used to cover targeted telephones and devices.”
    Since the missile crisis, the Russian-Cuban relationship has been marked by ups and downs. The Russians have always perceived Cuba as a useful tool to aggrandize themselves with smaller nations that identified with the Cuban-US  “David vs. Goliath” paradigm. The relationship went smoothly until the Cubans stumbled in places like Zaire and Bolivia. That, combined with a Cuban faction that has always been suspicious of the Cuban-Russian partnership, led to Soviet economic brinksmanship tactics (which included an oil embargo) in the late sixties and early seventies. Afterward, the DGI became subordinate to the KGB, and Manuel Piñeiro was forced from his DGI post. Piñeiro had been Deputy Minister of the Interior in charge of the state security apparatus from 1964-1968, but now he was placed in charge of the DGI's Latin American affairs division.
     Subsequently, Piñeiro lived in Chile for several months, trying to secure the Salvador Allende government. After the overthrow of Allende in September 1973, Piñeiro's Americas Department helped Cuba bolster revolutionary movements in Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia's National.  On a more successful note, he provided Nicaragua’s Sandinistas with intelligence, communications, arms, and even exiled Chilean Army officers, who had earlier been incorporated into the Cuban Armed Forces.  Cuba's first of many narco-terrorist operations in 1981 was also a Piñeiro brainchild.  Piñeiro died in a 1998 car crash in Havana.

    In the seventies, the Soviets also collaborated with the DGI to assist CIA defector Philip Agee in the publication of the Covert Action Information Bulletin. Funding for the bulletin came from the KGB, while the DGI ghostwrote many of the articles. The relationship between these Russia and Cuba is likely to continue based upon the June 14, 1993 agreement on military cooperation between Russia and Cuba.
 This was the arms-for-drugs deal with Colombia's M-19 movement, revealed with the 1981 arrest of Jaime Guillot Lara. Cuba's ambassador at the time, Fernando Ravelo, was pulled out of Colombia after the scandal, and reassigned as Piñeiro's deputy at the Americas Department.


This period marked the beginning of the end for Valdez’ former right-hand man, Jose Abrantes Fernandez, the vaunted head of MININT, often referred to as the third-most powerful man in Cuba. Starting in the seventies, MININT’s dealings with Southern Hemisphere guerrillas turned into cooperation with its drug dealers and involvement in drug trafficking.  It had been suggested to Abrantes, and Abrantes proposed to Fidel, that Cuba cooperate with drug dealers in striking out at the United States: If Cuba opened its skies and shores to shipments of drugs to the United States, the narco-traffickers would help Cuba overcome a long-standing problem, namely getting material support to guerrillas in Latin America. Not coincidentally, the drug trade also became a significant source of hard currency income for Fidel Castro and, according to his way of thinking, an efficient way to weaken North American society.  “Cuba needs the dollars and perhaps some of the consumer goods that are being offered by the Colombians,” a source said.  “And the quid pro quo is allowing those [Colombian cocaine] factions to flourish by doing their drug trade through Cuba.”
    On November 15, 1982, close aides to Castro, including DGI officers, were convicted in the US on charges of smuggling drugs into the United States. On February 7, 1983, a former member of the DGI testified in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida, that Cuban involvement in international drug operations was a multifaceted, methodical campaign aimed at undermining the United States and its international stature. And in 1988 testimony from José Blandón Castillo, a former intelligence aid to Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, provided further evidence concerning Cuba's role in the drug flow of the United States.  But since that time, the dam has burst, with countless sources detailing the Castros role in drug trafficking.
    The evidence is overwhelming that for over thirty years, the Castro regime has officially sanctioned the use of its airspace as a drug superhighway into the US. Both Castro brothers have been directly implicated – by senior Cuban officials and dealers alike – in narco-trafficking and money laundering partnerships with the notorious Medellin and Cali drug cartels.

    Among those giving testimony:

Rodríguez Menier saw firsthand how in the 1970s then Interior Minister Abrantes convinced Fidel of the benefits of cooperating with international drug traffickers. He also relates how former Panamanian strongman, Manuel Noriega, would meet with Castro to discuss money-laundering solutions for drug monies. “So they begin to deal directly, to buy and sell, buy and sell, as well as providing facilities, because they don't cut out the drug dealers. No, what they do is operate it where the drug dealers can't. It's like a Mafia family. Fidel became a family but without harming the interests of other families. It became so blatant, the drugs were dropped in broad daylight within sight of the Las Americas Restaurant, one of Cuba's top tourist attractions.”

Major Florentino Aspillaga confirmed that the cocaine proceeds were deposited in his Swiss bank accounts “in order to finance liberation movements.”

Manuel de Beunza claims that monies obtained by Cuba from drug trafficking were laundered through Swiss banks by way of delivering old US dollar bills in exchange for credits to bank accounts held by Cuba… “I took part in a meeting at which Fidel Castro ordered the creation of companies that were to be involved in drug dealing. There were others there, like Osmany Cienfuegos, Tony de la Guardia, Jose Abrantes. Two of the business fronts named by de Beunza were Happy Line Shipping and a trading concern called Mercurio…I know Fidel Castro and I was at the meeting where the company was set up.  He ordered the creation of these companies with the specific aim of their getting involved in drug trafficking… Admiral Perez Betancourt told me that Aldo Santamaria was involved in drug trafficking. He said Aldo was following Fidel and Raúl's orders but he was doing it reluctantly.”

Jose Luis llovio-Menendez, former Chief Adviser, Cuban Ministry of Finance: “Tony de la Guardia knew that Fidel was involved in drug trafficking. He was the only living witness except perhaps Raúl Castro and Abrantes who knew that Fidel was involved in drug trafficking. Fidel had to get rid of him… I felt very angry and I felt that Fidel had been merciless. He has protected his image by killing a man who was acting under his orders.”

Ileana de la Guardia testified before the US Congress in 1999 that her father -- Tony de la Guardia [Colonel la Guardia was a high-ranked] intelligence officer], who was executed in a 1989 “show trial” of drug traffickers -- had told her that Fidel Castro had several bank accounts to which proceeds of drug trafficking operations were sent.  
Cuban Air Force Brigadier General Rafael del Pino, the highest-ranking defector from Cuba’s Armed Forces (Defected, May 28, 1987), has described how large numbers of drug running planes from Colombia and elsewhere were given free reign of Cuban airspace… “The permission to overfly Cuba had to have to come from [Raúl Castro’s] ministry of defense…Several times I received orders from Raúl Castro's office and also from General Abrantes's office to let the airplane cross over Cuba.”

Florentino Aspillaga also confirmed the long-term personal involvement of the Castro brothers in the drug trade.  Just like the others, he explains that it would be impossible for these operations to be carried out without the personal approval of Fidel.
Jorge Masetti’s compelling autobiography describes his participation in drug trafficking, counterfeiting, kidnappings, bank robberies, and other criminal and terrorist operations in Latin America on Cuba’s behalf under Manuel Piñeiro and the Americas Department. 

Robert Kammer, US Customs Special Agent:  “There was certainly indications of Cuban involvement way before 1987. Going back into the early '80s, there were cases involving the Cubans involved in drug-trafficking into the US.”

Johnny Crump, the most successful Colombian coke smuggler –  “All the Cuban government was approving the operation.”

Carlos Lehder-Rivas, a founding member of the Medellin Cartel, serving a sentence of life plus 135 years.  – “Without the permission of Fidel, I could have never gone into Cuba.” Lehder testified in a 1991 federal trial that he met twice in Havana with Raúl Castro to arrange safe passage for cocaine flights over Cuban airspace.

    The hypocrisy of the Castros’ position on drug dealing reached its zenith in 1989, when fourteen of his most loyal, longtime comrades were put on “show trial” for drug smuggling. With foreign observers were banned by the court, ten were given thirty-year sentences, while four, including General Arnaldo T. “El Moro” Ochoa Sánchez, were sentenced to death. This would be the US equivalent of charging Gen. Colin Powell with child molestation. Ochoa had participated in the guerrilla war against Batista and later became a high-ranking member of Castro's armed forces and of the Communist Party. Between 1967 and 1969, Ochoa was sent by Castro to train rebels in the Congo and later took part in an expedition into Venezuela to try to overthrow the democratically elected government of that country. In 1975, Ochoa was sent to fight in a critical campaign against the FNLA in Angola. In 1977 he was named commander of Cuban Expeditionary Forces in Ethiopia under the command of Soviet General Petrov. In 1980, Ochoa was awarded the coveted title, “Hero of the Revolution,” by Castro.
      Nonetheless, Ochoa and three others were executed by firing squad on July 12, 1989 (under Cuban law, the maximum sentence for drug smuggling is 15 years.)

    Two months later, Castro held another show trial in order to purge MININT of seven “disloyal” officers, among the scapegoats would be none other than the revered Angola war hero and MININT Chief Jose Abrantes Fernandez.  Using trumped up charges to destroy opponents to his unyielding hard line, Castro gave harsh prison sentences to men such as Abrantes. Most observers understood the trials for what they were: methods to destroy not only those who had firsthand knowledge of the Castros’ drug dealing, but also progressive political opponents who were pressuring the regime to follow Russia’s evolution to “Perestroika” and “Glasnost.”
    Amazingly, federal prosecutors in Miami were prepared to indict Raúl Castro and Manuel Piñeiro Losada as the heads of a major Colombian cocaine smuggling conspiracy in 1993, but the Clinton Administration Justice Department overruled them, according to current and former Justice Department officials familiar with the investigation. The draft indictment, as described by a former Justice Department official who saw it, listed Raúl Castro as the leader of a conspiracy involved in smuggling seven and a half tons of cocaine into the United States over a 10-year period. At least a dozen other Cubans were also to be indicted.
    “It was a major investigation involving numerous witnesses that was killed at the highest levels in Washington,” said a former Justice Department official with direct knowledge of the case.  There were a number of reasons given for removing Raúl’s name from the indictment at the last moment.  “There were numerous national security and intelligence issues that would have made the case difficult,” said Tom Cash, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Miami. Others said that, without a smoking gun document trail, the dozens of eyewitnesses, most of whom were drug dealers or defectors from Cuban intelligence, could have been impeached by defense attorneys.
    Three years later, Colombian coke smuggler Jorge Cabrera was busted in Miami in the midst of a 20,000 lb. coke delivery. The suspects told investigators that the dope was smuggled though Havana with the personal approval of Fidel, a contention bolstered by the fact that in Cabrera’s possession were photos of him embracing both Fidel Castro and Manuel Piñeiro.  Other sources said that after the photos were taken, Fidel went off for a long private chat with Cabrera. Castro allegedly told him, “I know your friends from Cali. I've met them. I know they're here (in Cuba). I like doing business with them.”
    For the second time, the Clinton administration had the Cuban links pulled from the indictment, despite the fact that the evidence against Castro was far more substantial than the evidence that led to the drug indictment of former Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega in 1988.  Clinton cynics liked to point out that a year earlier Jorge Cabrera had written a $20,000 check to the Democratic National Committee days after he was tapped for a contribution in Havana. And within a month of his donation, Cabrera was dining with Vice President Al Gore in Miami and being feted by Bill and Hillary at the White House.
    The Clinton administration was not yet finished covering up for Fidel, et al. On December 6, 1998, in the northern Colombian port cities of Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta, Colombian officials seized seven-and-a-half tons of cocaine and quickly learned that the traffickers had been using Cuba as a transit point for drug shipments to Europe and the United States. Although local police were delighted with the bust, US diplomats weren't so pleased. After informing the State Department of the busts, the US authorities tied to pressure the Colombians into back off the Cuban connection.
US lawmakers on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee were incensed and demanded an explanation from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. At the time, the Clinton administration was moving to ease the tensions between the US and Cuba. Committee Chairman Dan Burton of Indiana wrote Albright: “Sources close to the American embassy in Bogota have informed me that officials at the US Embassy solicited silence from the Colombian National Police regarding a seven-and-a-half-ton cocaine seizure, destined for Cuba, because it could hurt our budding relationship with the Western Hemisphere's only surviving dictator.” He added irately: “It is only logical to conclude the reason there has been no official reaction from the State Department on the seizure is that State did not want the air of coddling a ruthless dictator to be muddied by allegations of drug trafficking.”  The letter went unanswered.

5. Political Executions, Terror, and Assassinations

It is a dicey business for an American to accuse another country of terrorism, especially given the US’s own questionable history on this subject (see “slavery,”  “Vietnam,” the “overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran,” the “invasions of Laos and Cambodia,”  “Manifest Destiny”,  “genocide of Native Americans,” etc, etc.)   However, it is nonetheless safe to say that, from Vietnam to the Middle East to Africa to South America to the US itself, Cuba will back any movement, regardless of its penchant for taking innocent lives, so long as it is anti-American. According to the American Federation of Scientists, “much of this activity has been handled through the DGI.” 
    As early as April 1948, when Castro worked with revolutionaries in Bogota, Colombia, the pattern has played out virtually non-stop. According to Georgie Anne Geyer’s Guerrilla Prince, the Colombian revolt left 5,000 dead and a third of Bogota in ashes. In Cuba five years later, when Castro masterminded a failed terrorist attack on the Moncada Garrison, his men gained infamy when they killed soldiers in their hospital beds.  The Castro brothers’ takeover of Cuba in 1959 was condemned worldwide for its resultant thousands of summary executions without trials, and massive political incarcerations.  These abominations established a culture of fear that quickly eliminated most resistance. In the years since, inhumane prison conditions and unspeakable torture have successfully nipped any latent anti-Castro movements in the bud.
    Cuba Archive Project President Maria Werlau and her associate, Dr. Armando Lago, a Harvard-trained economist, have spent years studying the human cost of Castro’s revolution.  The archive project, often likened to the 1999 “Black Book of Communism” which documented the worldwide cost of communism, has concluded that some 5,600 Cubans have died in front of firing squads and another 1,200 in “extrajudicial assassinations.”  Werlau and Lago further determined that Fidel delegated most of the killings to his brother Raul and their longtime friend from the revolution’s formative days in Mexico, Ernesto Guevara.  Relying only on firsthand interviews with Castro’s political prisoners, Werlau and Lago have described Guevara as “a gleeful executioner” at the infamous La Cabaña Fortress prison, where, under his orders, at least 151 Cubans were lined up and shot in the first year of the revolution alone.  Among those murdered were some 94 minors as young as age fourteen.  And females were not immune: in 1961, 25-year-old Lydia Pérez López was eight months pregnant when a prison guard kicked her in the stomach. She lost her baby and, without medical attention, bled to death. A 70-year-old woman named Edmunda Serrat Barrios was beaten to death in 1981 in a Cuban jail. The Cuba Archive has documented 219 female deaths including 11 firing squad executions and 20 extrajudicial assassinations.
    Once in power, Guevara was also responsible for several thousand more executions during the first years of the revolution, as well as those killed in the guerrilla uprisings he sponsored in Latin America, and in which he participated after he had left Cuba. No one knows how many people Guevara personally killed, ordered killed, or who died as a result of his actions. Lago believes the number for Cuba alone is 4,000.   It is said that Guevara was proud of shooting his enemies in the back of the head. He was also vocal in his hatred, and candid in his use of hate as a driving force. “Hatred is an element in the struggle,” he said, “unbending hatred for the enemy which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations….”  “A people without hate cannot triumph against the adversary.” During the Cuban missile crisis Guevara pushed for war, since a nuclear holocaust, he believed, would purge the world of evil and make way for the rise of a new and better order.
As for Raul, his hand was first shown in 1958, in the Sierra Maestra, when he dispatched with 11 peasants for refusing to serve as guides or otherwise cooperate with the Rebel Army. From January 1 to January 13, 1959, 272 executions directly attributed to Raúl Castro were carried out in Santiago de Cuba, 90 without a prior trial, and 78 with Raúl Castro delivering the coup de grace. In 1959, 263 additional executions were carried out in Raúl Castro’s line of command outside of Santiago, in the rest of the province of Oriente. In 1960, 4 executions were carried out in Havana under Raúl Castro’s line of command.
    The Inter-American Human Rights Commission and Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady both added still another grisly aspect to the Castros’ firing squad horrors:  The executioners routinely extracted an average of seven pints of blood from many of the condemned, leaving them in a state of cerebral anemia, unconsciousness, and paralysis before they were shot. Their blood was then sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint with the dual purpose of obtaining hard currency and contributing to the Vietcong cause.
    Executions occur not only for political reasons. High on the list of Castro’s internal enemies are numerous religious organizations and their followers. On December 3rd, 1980, the three García-Marín brothers, ages 25, 21, and 19, members of the persecuted Jehova's Witnesses, sought asylum at the Vatican Embassy ("Nunciatura") in Havana. Cuban Special Troops burst in and took them into custody, where they were sentenced to execution by firing squad. A month later, the three were taken from their cells in the middle of the night and never seen again. Their mother was sentenced to twenty years in prison for protesting her sons’ killings and released ten years later when her mental health deteriorated. She died still pleading that she be given their bones for proper burial.
    Similarly, many young Catholic leaders have been executed in Cuba, some reported by international organizations, while others remain known only to the survivors’ families, many of whom have been denied remains for burial.

    Cuba’s penchant for terror did not stop at its shoreline. It is a historical fact that Fidel Castro has nurtured relationships with countless violent actors from other countries from his first days in power, creating The National Liberation Directorate (DLN) in Cuba to support revolutionary groups throughout the world. The DLN, under trusted Castro ally Manuel “Red Beard” Piñeiro, (“Barbaroja”), was responsible for planning and coordinating Cuba's terrorist training camps on the island, covert movement of personnel and military supplies from Cuba and a propaganda apparatus. The DLN was reorganized into the Americas Department (DA) under the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee. The DA centralized control over Cuban activities for supporting national liberation movements, and was responsible for planning and coordinating Cuba's secret guerrilla and terrorist training camps, overseeing the covert movement of personnel and material from Cuba, and developing a propaganda apparatus.  In addition, the Cuban controlled Latin American Solidarity Organization  (LASO), with its permanent seat in Havana, was created to “coordinate and foment the fight against North American imperialism.”
    Cuba’s foreign alliances are painstakingly documented in a number of studies, especially those by Eugene Pons, and the Cuba Project’s Werlau and Lago.  Among the “Friends of the Revolution” cited are the following:

•  African-American revolutionaries in the US, via the Macheteros, a Puerto Rican terrorist group that provided aid and training to the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army, as well as a safe haven on the island for black leaders.  Castro continuously promoted the independence of Puerto Rico and supported the Macheteros, who committed terrorist acts and bank robberies in the United States.  Several still live in Cuba, including Black Liberation Army leader Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, one of New Jersey's most wanted fugitives for killing a New Jersey State trooper in 1973, and Charlie Hill a member of the Republic of New Afrika Movement wanted for the hijacking of TWA 727 and the murder of a New Mexico State trooper. The Macheteros highjacked a Wells Fargo truck in Connecticut in September 1983 and stole $7.2 million.

• The Irish Republican Army (IRA) established its Latin American headquarters in Havana.

• Castro dispatched DGI interrogators to Hanoi to torture American POWs.

• Basque terrorists (ETA) responsible for hundreds of deaths in Spain (see esp. the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings that left 191 dead and over 2,000 injured).  Cuba is a training ground and sanctuary for the ETA, where it established its headquarters.

• African leaders from Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Spanish Guinea, Tanganyika and Zanzibar arrived in Cuba for military training. Algerian FLN, whom Castro supported with weapons, shelter, medical and educational services and cooperation in the fields of counter-intelligence and intelligence. Guevara personally engaged in guerrilla operations in Congo-Kinshasa (formerly Zaire) in 1965. Cuba joined with Algeria and Libya on a diplomatic/political offensive in support of the Frente POLISARIO (People's Front for the Liberation of Western Sahara and Rio del Oro); later on provided military cooperation, and medical services.

• In the Western Hemisphere, Cuba’s allies included:  The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC); Hugo Chavez of Venezuela; guerrilla warriors in Uruguay, the Dominicans, Nicaragua (Sandinistas), and Colombia -- where the M19 guerrilla group captured the Dominican Embassy and the Justice building in Bogota and assassinated several prominent Colombian judges. Guatemalans, Venezuelans and Chileans were trained in special camps in Cuba and infiltrated back to their countries; Argentine born Cuban intelligence agent Jorge Massetti helped funnel Cuban funds to finance Puerto Rican terrorists belonging to the Machetero group.  From an article in Human Events in 1981: “Since 1975, Puerto Rican terrorist groups have perpetrated 260 acts of violence on the island, according to official count. These range from bombings of banks, post offices and US business enterprises to blowing up electric power plants and assaulting military installations and personnel. An estimated 70 or more violent attacks were committed on the mainland during the same period, mostly by the FALN. Federal authorities have revived their investigations into 31 unsolved bombings in New York City alone, based on new information supplied by Alfredo Mendez:   “......The ‘father of the FALN,’ and in a sense of Puerto Rico's modern terrorist movement, is a 42-year-old Puerto Rican agent of Cuban intelligence who is wanted in Puerto Rico for jumping $2,000 bail, Filiberto Inocencio Ojeda Rios. He founded and led the very first of Puerto Rico's new terrorist groups, the Independent Armed Revolutionary Movement (MIRA), in 1967.  MIRA members received training and arms in Cuba and became operational in early 1969, when they bombed a police station, destroying two police cars, a bank and other enterprises."

• One of the most infamous graduates of the Cuban terrorist training’s camps was Illich Ramirez Sanchez, known as  “Carlos the Jackal.” After attending the Third Tricontinental Conference in January 1966 with his father, Ramírez spent the following summer at Camp Mantanzas, a guerrilla warfare school run by the DGI located near Havana. Ramirez masterminded numerous terrorist bombings against Israeli interests in the 1970s, most notably the deadly 1975 raid on OPEC headquarters in Vienna.

• Fidel Castro maintained close working relations with Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi. According to an AP dispatch dated May 16, 2001, Castro visited Qaddafi six times from March 6 to May 16, 2001. This last suspicious visit was after visiting Algeria, Iran, Malaysia, Qatar and Syria.  Qaddafi even presented Fidel with a human rights award for “his fight against the US.”

• Castro cultivated a friendship with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein -- both shared a fondness for bacteriological weapons --  as well as other state sponsors of terrorism in the Middle East. Jonathan T.  Stride exposed Castro’s chemical/biological weapons factories, while Ernesto Betancourt traced the possible connection and cooperation between the two tyrants exporting viruses to the US.  Science journalist Richard Preston wrote in the New Yorker that, “a quotation made by Saddam refers to a dossier about ‘details of his ultimate weapon, developed in secret laboratories outside Iraq. Free of U.N. inspection, the laboratories would develop the SV1417 strain of the West Nile virus – capable of destroying 97 percent of life in an urban environment . . ..’ Now, where could such a research be undertaken?”  Experts believe it was Cuba.
    Radio Marti, in addition to American newspapers, also reported in August 26, 2001 that the West Nile virus in the US might have been an export from Cuba, noting that, “in 1980 Castro ordered the unleashing of a biological war against the US.”   Marti quoted Dr. Luis Roberto Henandez saying, “Cuba’s laboratories identify and produce viruses for migratory birds.” Betancourt’s article published in Spanish in Miami’s El Nuevo Herald appeared as the main source in Radio Marti’s report.  Betancourt suggested a few characteristics of Hussein’s  “secret laboratories outside Iraq” :  “It must have a technological capability to undertake such research, a country friendly to Iraq and hostile to the US, outside the reach of any UN  inspection, a closed society, where these activities can be free of  press coverage; and located within the reach of migratory birds. There is one place on earth that meets those requirements: Castro’s Cuba.  The research undertaken in Cuba is precisely centered on developing virus strains suitable to be inoculated to the many migratory birds that fly North-South in the fall and South-North in the spring. It can be concluded that Cuba is the most plausible candidate for the germ warfare research and development activities referred to by Saddam Hussein in [Preston’s] The New Yorker article.”
    According to a 1997 paper by Dr. Manuel Cereijo, Cuba regularly develops computer viruses “with the intent of using them to disrupt computer systems during time of war or crisis.” Many Cuban Americans in the US have had their computers damaged by made-in-Cuba viruses.

• In 1970, a “Mini Manual for Revolutionaries” was published in the official LASO publication Tricontinental, written by Brazilian urban terrorist leader Carlos Marighella. The manual gave precise instructions in terror tactics, kidnappings, etc. The short book was translated into numerous languages and distributed worldwide by Cuba.

  • Cuban agents in Mexico engaged in bank robberies that financed several terrorist groups from Latin America operating out of Mexico. Dozen of Mexicans received training in terrorism and guerrilla warfare in Sierra del Rosario, Pinar del Rio Province and in Guanabo, in eastern Cuba.

  • Cuba provided advanced weapons and demolition training to the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in Peru. The Tupac Amaru attacked the US Embassy in 1984, bombed the Texaco offices in 1985, and attacked the residence of the US Ambassador in 1985 all in Lima, Peru.

• According to Rodriguez Menier and the Hoover Institution's William Ratliff, Cuban intelligence officers in the Middle East for years have recruited Islamist militants for use against the United States.


In addition to the 1962 Cuban plot in Mexico City against JFK and the 1967 perceived threat by Escalante and Raul against LBJ (both noted in narrative), Cuba has much other experience in the area of foreign assassinations. The reports of Werlau and Lago named 67 foreigners assassinated by Cuban intelligence. The Miami-based Brigada, the Bay of Pigs invasion force alumni organization, places the figure closer to 3,600.
    The CIA’s JM/WAVE Station in Florida interviewed an informant who stated bluntly that Cuba “employs killers and assassins…Two persons were killed in Mexico by Robert Coronevsky who received three hundred dollars for the deed from the Embassy in Mexico [City].”   Walterio Carbonell, a former Cuban Ambassador to Morocco, who knew Castro since his school days, has stated that ever since Castro made his first ambassadorial appointment, the candidates had to foreswear to murder their US counterparts if so ordered. Interviewed in the October 23, 1975 edition of the Miami Herald, Carbonell said that the assassinations would be carried out in the event that a CIA plot against him succeeded. Failure to make the blood oath rendered a diplomat ineligible for an ambassadorship.  According to an FBI report, one such murderous Cuban ambassador was its man in Panama, who enlisted assassin Humberto Rodriguez Diaz, who fought with Fidel in the Sierra Maestra, to murder Panama’s President Roberto Chiari Remón, who was president while JFK was in office.
    In 1976, The Los Angeles Times revealed that then-President Gerald Ford and then- Governor Ronald Reagan were to be assassinated by the DGI during the Republican National Convention in San Francisco.  The plot was coordinated in Cuba by a DGI agent named Andres Gomez, who had trained the US hitman, Gregg Daniel Adornetto, in Cuba, where he also received funding.  The Emiliano Zapata Unit, a Bay Area radical terrorist group, would also participate in the hits. After his arrest, Adornetto revealed the assassination plot's “Cuban link” as Gomez.  Adornetto had met him years earlier when as a member of the terrorist Weather Underground he traveled to Cuba for training and funding.


Menier , Juan Antonio Rodríguez (unpublished manuscript): Protecting and Promoting Fidel: Inside Cuba’s Interior Ministry.

  -  Menier; The Way It Happened; Author House, 2006
“Traffickers Tie Castro to Drug Run,” July 25, 1996, Miami Herald.
Werlau, Maria C.,  Fidel Castro, Inc.: A Global Conglomerate,  May 26, 2006,

Roig-Franzia , Manuel, “Cubans Jailed in US as Spies Are Hailed at Home as Heroes,” June 3, 2006, Washington Post Foreign Service

Frontline: Cuba and Cocaine; Episode #910; February 5, 1991

Brian Ross and Vic Walter Report, “Raúl Castro: Cocaine Connection?” August 14, 2006

Carl Limbacher, “Clinton Donor-Drug Smuggler Fingered Castro,”
 April 10, 2000

 Robert Weiner and Jeffrey Buchanan, “Life After Fidel Will Mean Raúl ; Changing Names is No Change At All,”  Palm Beach Post, June 6, 2004

Kessler, Inside the CIA, p. 35-36

Jamie Dettmer, “Raining on the Drug-Trafficking Parade - US allegedly asked Columbian officials to remain quiet about Cuban drug connection,” Insight on the News, Feb 8, 1999

Rex A. Hudson: “Coordinating Cuba's Support for Marxist-Leninist Violence in the Americas;”  The Cuban American National Foundation; 1988

Gerardo Peraza testimony before US Senate, Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, Committee on the Judiciary; “Hearing on the Role of Cuba in International Terrorism and Subversion; Intelligence Activities of the DGI”;  February 26, 1982

US Dept of the Army, 57-pg. “Notes on the DGI,” March 25, 1973; released under FOIA, 3-22-2002

Frank O. Mora, “Cuba’s Ministry of Interior: The FAR ’s Fifth Army,”  Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 222–237, 2007 National War College, National Defense University, Washington, DC, USA

Robbins, Carla Anne,  The Cuban Threat, Philadelphia: ISHI Publications, 1985.
Barron, John, KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents (New York: Bantam Books, 1974)
US Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Internal Security Subcommittee, Hearings, Part 20, Communist Threat to the United States Through the Caribbean, October 16, 1969, p. 1425, citing the testimony of DGI defector Orlando Castro Hidalgo.
US Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Cuba's Renewed Support For Violence in Latin America, Special Report No. 90, December 14, 1981, p. 12.
Sterling, Claire, The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism (esp. pp. 247-257); Holt, 1981
US Senate investigator Alfonso L. Tarabochia's testimony in US Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Internal Security Subcommittee, Terroristic Activity: “The Castro Connection in Puerto Rico: Castro's Hand in Puerto Rican and US Terrorism,” 94th Cong., 1st sess., Part 6, July 30, 1975, p. 379.
Alfonso Chardy, "Sandinistas Using MiGs in Cuba; Sources Say Nicaragua Has Formed Combat Squadron," Miami Herald, June 14, 1987;
Bernard E. Trainor, "US Fears Soviet Use of New Nicaraguan Airfield," New York Times, July 26, 1987;
Julia Preston, "Nicaragua Says It Will Proceed With Plans To Get MiGs," Washington Post, August 3, 1987.
"Cuban Mission is Packed with Spies, Defector Says," Miami Herald, 23 September 1987.

November 10, 1995 issue of Executive Intelligence Review: Manuel Piñeiro

Jorge I. Dominguez, "Cuba in the 1980s," Foreign Affairs, Fall 1986, p. 130.
Damian J. Fernandez, Cuba's Foreign Policy in the Middle East (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1988).
Wayne S. Smith, The Closest of Enemies: A Personal and Diplomatic Account of US-Cuban Relations Since 1957 (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., 1987)
March 19, 1976, Los Angles Times, "Cuban Link to Death Plot Probed."
Humberto Fontova, Cuba: Castro Saved President Reagan, September 14, 2007

Pamela S. Falk, Cuban Foreign Policy: Caribbean Tempest (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1986)
Antonio de la Cova, “Academic Espionage: US Taxpayer Funding of a Pro-Castro Study,” February 1, 1993, The Selous Foundation's Institute for
US Cuba Relations

Jiri and Virginia Valenta, "Soviet Strategies and Policies in the Caribbean Basin," in Wiarda, Howard J. and Mark Falcoff, eds., The Communist Challenge in the Caribbean and Central America (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1987), p. 79.
US Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1985, 1986.
US Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1986, October 1987, p. 1, 3, 24-25.
US Departments of State and Defense, The Soviet-Cuban Connection in Central America and the Caribbean, March 1985, p. 10.
Bennett, Richard M. Espionage: An Encyclopedia of Spies and Secrets. London: Virgin Books, 2002.

Golden, Tim. "White House Wary of Cuba's Little Spy Engine That Could." New York Times, January 5, 2003

US Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Internal Security Subcommittee, The Tricontinental Conference of African, Asian, and Latin American Peoples, 1966.
Maurice Halperin, The Taming of Fidel Castro (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), p. 189.
J. Michael Waller, “Alive and Kicking,” Insight on the News, Vol. 18, February 18, 2002
United States Information Agency, Radio Marti Program, "The Defection of A MININT Official," Cuba--Quarterly Situation Report, Third Quarter 1987, p. V-13.
Radio Martí Program's interview with Major Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, August 1987.
Armando Lago, Ph.D.’s “Cuba: The Human Cost of Social Revolution.”
Also see Lago’s  Cuba: Raul Castro Directly Responsible For 550 Executions, Preliminary draft).  Lago’s work can be accessed at Maria Werlau’s Free Society Project, Inc website:

“Fidel Castro’s Shameful Duplicity:  Cuba’s Butcher Maximus Mourns ‘Culture of Life’ Pope,” April 8, 2005. (Net for Cuba)

Stuart Rochester and Frederick Riley, Honor Bound, American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia 1961-1973. Naval Institute Press, 1999.

US State Department Patterns of Global Terrorism – 2000 released on April 30, 2001. This is an annual report sent to Congress that has been listing Cuba since 1993, see US Cuba Policy Report, April 30, 2001, page 9.

Eugene Pons, Castro and Terrorism: A Chronology 1959-1967, Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies, Occasional Paper Series, September 2001;

Jonathan T.  Stride, Who Will Check Out Fidel Castro’s New Chemical/Biological Weapons Plant in East Havana?, September 1997 (Miami.  Stride noted that the now defunct Voix d’Afrique is said to have published (2/6/90) photos of people allegedly deformed by chemical weapons used by Cuba against men, women and children in Angola in the 1980’s.

Agustin Blazquez & Jaums Sutton, Castro and International Terrorism,
September 16, 2001, ABIP

David J. Kopilow, Castro, Israel and the PLO, 1985
Dr. Manuel Cereijo, Castro:  A Threat To The Security Of The United States, October, 1997.
Roberto Fabricio in El Nuevo Herald, June 20, 1999.
Ernesto F. Betancourt, Executive Summary, Is Castro Preparing for a Gotterdammerun?, September 9, 1999.
Betancourt -, The Encephalitis Outbreak, Hussein and Castro: A CIA/CDC Cover-Up,
 October 18, 1999
The Inter-American Human Rights Commission Report, April 7, 1967
The New Yorker, October 18, 1999, Richard Preston


Mary Anastasia O’Grady,” “Counting Castro's Victims”;  Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2005

Also see: various reports by Jaime Suchlicki, Director, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies

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