Cuba’s espionage efforts touch every major country in the Americas, especially in the U.S., Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Brazil.
When it comes to Cuba, most Americans think of Fidel Castro or Che Guevara, not spies. Yet since the start of the Communist Revolution in 1959, Cuba’s intelligence services were organized to penetrate the United States and exile groups residing in the U.S. and elsewhere. Cuba’s DGI remains a threat to the U.S. and our interests in the Americas. It targets our allies and seeks to destabilize democracies and American businesses or economic interests throughout the Western Hemisphere. These people are even allowed to roam the halls of our Congress, along with other state sponsors of terrorism.
Up until very recently, any talk of Cuban meddling in American interests was discounted either as conspiracy theory or right-wing anti-Cuban propaganda. No one in the U.S. government would step forward to address these matters head on and in the public domain. This mindset started to change after the attacks of 09/11/01 and the arrest of Defense Intelligence Agency spy, Ana Belen Montes. A few books have been written about her exploits in the Defense Department, including Scott Carmichael’s True Believer. If you do not know anything about this case, read Carmichael’s book.
The pro-engagement lobby in this town, including powerful Members of Congress and commercial interest, discount, minimize, or ignore the threat. And with the notable exception of intelligence and counter-intelligence professionals, as well as a handful of policy professionals in the Congress and the Executive branch, this issue of Cuban spying on the U.S. has never been taken as seriously as it should. As a result, public policy planning suffered and enforcement of U.S. laws aimed at the regime in Havana were ignored or poorly enforced.
In addition to Carmichael’s book and a few others, there is a new source of reliable information on the threats of Cuban espionage: The Cuban Intelligence Research Center (CIRC). It is headed by a longtime U.S. counterintelligence professional who, like Carmichael, was also involved with the Montes case and many Cuban spy rings. One of CIRC’s stated aims is to educate people in and out of Washington, DC about the Cubans.
“One must know Cuban Intelligence before an understanding of Havana’s foreign and domestic policies is possible,” states CIRC’s mission statement. Indeed, this is long overdue and let’s hope people are paying close attention, especially in Capitol Hill and in the Bush Administration. This coming Thursday, Simmons will travel to South Florida and release the names of Cuban spies in the United States. In all likelihood the mainstream media will not cover the announcement, but it should.
Cuba’s espionage efforts touch every major country in the Americas, especially in the U.S., Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Brazil. They seek to subvert U.S. interests at every turn. It steals and sells our military and commercial secrets to the highest bidder, including other state sponsors of terrorism as well as to radical terrorists organizations in the Western Hemisphere and the Middle East. Our policy should be focused on countering and attacking that threat. For far too long we have focused exclusively on economic isolation of the regime. While we can do a better job of implementing tools to reinforce the latter, we should also make countering the Cuban espionage threat a higher priority.