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Column 092313 Brewer

Monday, September 23, 2013

Deadly Serious, the Cuban Spy Game lives on in the Americas

By Jerry Brewer

If rhetoric alone was the official doctrine of world political institutions, both of the Cuban brothers that have dominated Cuban misery with iron fisted rule for 54 years, with influence and persuasion, would be kings.

As well, besides the deception and the smoke and mirrors, their spy network is the more sinister and most powerful tool in their ill-conceived repertoire and bag of tricks.

There are those who continue to insist and argue that Cuba is old news, a benign cold war relic that poses no threat to anyone. Yet the oppressed people that continue to suffer ever increasing human rights violations, by beatings, incarceration and other atrocities, valiantly try to get the word out daily to those that will pay attention.

Cuba's authoritarian regime, and its vicious state security services, severely and perpetually restrict fundamental freedoms, repress political opponents, and aggressively violate human rights in this tired and archaic one-party communist system.

So today, one must ask, why not free the citizens of Cuba in this modern era and allow a quality of life, liberty and happiness to which they have a fundamental right?

Pressure by the world media, and never ending questions posed to Cuba's government calling for immediate attention to human rights issues, always seem to get their attention - and the unleashing of the usual diatribes.

Marino Murillo, vice president of the Cuban Council of Ministers, an economist and former military officer, is a Politburo member and known as a reform czar. He recently stepped up to the world microphone and spewed, that during "the rest of this year and through the next the state would enact and carry through the next phase of its privatization and austerity measures, creating the most profound transformations."

As the well informed and astute focus their eyes and ears on and through the nebulous screen of polluted political dialogue of this totalitarian dictatorship, the physical power behind the throne must be exposed once again.

Cuba's intelligence and spy apparatus has been described as a "contingency of very well-trained, organized and financed agents." Even the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, adopted the previous Soviet-styled Cuban intelligence service (DGI) as his model for Venezuela's security service, known as SEBIN and G2.

Through Fidel Castro, his much admired mentor, Chavez closely relied on Cuban intelligence counterparts and advisors of the Cuban security service. The decaying and failing Cuban Revolution became Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution, and he imported the misery, violence, and human rights violations to Venezuela while holding on for dear life until death overcame him -- in Cuba, as many believe.

Cuba has consistently maintained a well-organized and callous intelligence presence in Mexico, as have the Russians. Much of their activities have involved U.S. interests, including the recruiting of disloyal U.S. military, government, and private sector "specialists." They continue this enthusiastically, on U.S. soil as well, evidenced in the
Ana Belen Montes case -- along with her recruiter, Marta Rita Velazquez, a graduate of Princeton University and Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

Montes would go on to lead a distinguished career at the Defense Intelligence Agency as a top Cuban analyst, winning awards, briefing the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and helping to soften U.S. policy toward Cuba until her capture.

Up until the end of 2012 there were an estimated 210,000 Cubans in Venezuela "as part of an alliance established by Hugo Chavez." A number of agreements enabled Cubans to take part in a wide range of government plans that included national intelligence and security.

Retired Venezuelan army Major General Antonio Rivero, who was once a close advisor to Hugo Chavez, disclosed the in-depth meddling of Cuban advisors in security and defense matters in Venezuela.

In an interview with the daily newspaper El Universal, shortly before his detention, Rivero explained that he retrieved the entirety of information about Cuban meddling in Venezuela from garrisons throughout the country until 2010, when he was discharged.

And what does Cuban meddling continue to mean within this hemisphere, in itself besides the anti-democratic values?

Vociferous critics of the U.S., such as presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, are a concern as they offer little to no support to their neighbors or the United States in drug and terrorism interdiction efforts.

This author has frequently spoken with Pedro Riera Escalante, who served the Castro regime in Mexico City (under the guise of a diplomat from 1986-1991), when then at least it was a major hub for espionage against the U.S.  Riera was the Group Chief of Section Q-1, in charge of operations against the CIA.*

However, he eventually denounced the Fidel Castro dictatorship and was imprisoned. He called for a shift towards respect for human rights and democracy, before, during and after his sentence to prison in Cuba. His revelations of his orders from Cuba, and his actions in the secret war that has pitted Cuba versus the U.S. for decades in intelligence and espionage tradecraft, reveal a continuing process of Cuban subversion in this hemisphere.

* note: Pedro Riera Escalante, who had fallen under suspicion by Cuban officials, returned to Mexico using false papers.  Forcibly deported by Mexican authorities in 2000, he was subsequently tried and convicted in Cuba on the false papers charges.  Released after serving a three-year prison sentence, yet confined to the island, Riera was finally able to leave Cuba for Spain in December 2011.


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

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