Cuban spy-hunter Chris Simmons posted an interesting item on his website today that could inject U.S.-Cuba policy into the Virginia gubernatorial race this fall.
Most of us in these parts know that Virginia agriculture exports a lot of food to Cuba. In fact, in 2012 Virginia was the second largest exporter of food to island nation. Not one of our finer moments, but it is legal; however, I also know a lot of Virginia growers who refuse to sell to communist Cuba.
According to Simmons, Democrat Terry McAuliffe visited Cuba three years ago in order to boost Virginia food exports to Cuba and, in the process, met with some questionable characters. In order grow his client’s business contacts with Cuba “McAuliffe maintained a close working relationship with retired spy Jorge Bolaños,” a “retired” spy who headed the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC from 2008-2012.
It is too soon to tell if these revelations will politically hurt McAuliffe. Virginia is not South Florida, however, there appears to be a lot more to this story. The Cubans do not task high-ranking officials to just any American who visits the island. The regime takes good notes, recordings, and then some, in order to advance an agenda.
While this is not the first time we hear of this Havana junket, here is the 2010 Washington Post story on the trip, Simmons connects a few dots for folks in this town who do not understand how the Cuban regime operates. He also makes some new revelations that are well worth a revisit by politicos on our side of the aisle.
An enterprising reporter could call the McAuliffe campaign and ask them to release copies of the reports that must be submitted to the Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) 14 days before and 14 days after the Cuba trip. These reports can quite detailed and will offer clues what they may have been up to in La Habana.
We will know soon enough if this issue has any political legs (unlikely), but you never really know in politics where the next negative story will come from. Selling to Cuba, a state sponsor of terrorism with close ties to Iran, is always risky …