A Cuban Foreign Ministry official said via press release this weekend that Cuba “categorically denies and refutes” a staff report from the University of Miami Institute for Cuba and Cuban-American studies alleging the potential presence of Cuban troops in Syria.
The Cubans labeled the allegations “irresponsible and unfounded,” yet Cuban Foreign Ministry ministry official Gerardo Penalver refuses to clear up if one of Cuba’s most senior generals had recently been in Syria.
Cuban regime officials are first and foremost, members of the Communist party. In other words, they are serial liars. These are the party’s vanguard and they will say and do anything to cover up, well, Cuban meddling, likely at Russia’s request, in Syria.
If there was not one grain of truth to the report, then why say anything? I suspect the Cubans and their, de facto, Washington, DC lobbyists became very concerned when the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) chimed in with a letter of concern to President Obama.
The UM report and Grassley’s letter sort of ruined a roll out of a letter from several U.S. governors urging the easing of U.S. sanctions toward Cuba (the letter is available here, notice that it is a .cu or Cuban regime website). It also put a damper on Commerce Secretary Pritzker’s post-Cuba trip public relations effort in town, also tied to the pro-Cuba regime lobbying efforts. This is just an educated guess.
No matter what the reason for the cryptic statement, the Congress should keep pressing for more information from the Obama Administration about the matter. While they are it, Congressional overseers should also require that all groups engaged in Cuba lobbying register lobbying efforts pursuant to federal lobbying and FEC disclosure laws.