|Glitz and glamour versus the harsh reality: Castro spies took part in murder conspiracy|
The Wasp Network engaged in espionage: targeting U.S. military facilities, planned to smuggle arms and explosives into the United States, provided information that led to the extrajudicial killings of four Americans, infiltrated two non-violent exile groups, and carried out numerous other activities to sow division and shape public opinion.
They were "compiling the names, home addresses, and medical files of the U.S. Southern Command’s top officers and that of hundreds of officers stationed at Boca Chica Naval Station in Key West."
This is not surprising because apologists tend to avoid open and transparent debates due to the weakness of their position, and the Castro regime and its agents of influence have conducted an effective disinformation campaign to smear the victims and white wash the Cuban spy network, better known as the Wasp Network (Red Avispa).
This campaign to spin an act of state terrorism reached the highest levels of the U.S. government. Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Ana Belen Montes facilitated a meeting between U.S. government officials and retired U.S. Navy admiral Eugene Carroll on February 23, 1996 to relay recent threats by the regime that provided Admiral Carroll a lot of television interview time on February 25 to place the Cuban government in a more favorable light and place the blame for the shoot down on the victims.
U.S. counterintelligence officer Scott W. Carmichael in his book True Believer describes how they thought this was an "influence operation" - a covert attempt to influence public opinion. Her behavior raised questions that led to Montes eventually being uncovered as a high ranking Cuban mole in the heart of the Pentagon in 2001.
|Ana Belen Montes spied for Castro in the Pentagon until 2001|
This requires providing some historical context.
First, the Cuban intelligence service has gone by different names over the years. It was initially called the Direccion General de Inteligencia (DGI), later renamed the Direccion de Inteligencia (DI), but it was also known as G2. The Soviet intelligence service (KGB) played a role in its founding, but the much more effective and feared East German intelligence service (the Stasi) played a more formative role. John O. Koehler on page 297 of his book Stasi: the untold story of the East German secret police outlined the relationship between the Cuban and East German intelligence services.:
"The Stasi's first major task abroad was in Cuba, after Fidel Castro and Vice Premier Anastas Mikoyan signed the Soviet-Cuban pact on February 13, 1960, officially placing Cuba in the Soviet bloc. As Soviet arms shipments began, Mielke sent a number of Stasi officers of General Wolf's HVA to Havana. Led by Colonel Siegfried Fiedler, they assisted in setting up what became a first-rate intelligence service and an oppressive secret police. As a result Cuba's relations with East Germany developed as closely as those with the Soviet Union. Intelligence gathered in the United States by the Cubans was routinely shared with the Stasi. Much of the information contained in the dossier the Stasi maintained on President Ronald Reagan, for example, originated with the Cubans."Commander Ramiro Valdes, "a historic leader of the revolution", is the Cuban founder of the Castro regime's feared Ministry of the Interior and was the head of the organization between 1961 and 1968. Ramiro Valdes is an architect of Cuban totalitarianism's repressive control apparatus.
Havana did not only look to the East for their experts in repression.
Fidel Castro personally approved the use of four former Waffen SS Nazi officials to train the Cuban army, and bought weapons from a high ranking Nazi who crushed the Operation Valkyrie conspiracy against Adolf Hitler in 1944.
Fidel and Raul Castro were not shy about using unconventional methods, weapons and alliances. This also included drug trafficking. Havana has sought to smuggle narcotics into the United States since 1961, and been implicated time and time again. Indictments have been issued and documentaries produced that have caught the illicit activities of this dictatorship on film.
According to the UPI in 1982 the following high ranking Cuban officials were indicted by the United States for operating a drug ring out of Cuba: Aldo Santamaria-Cuadrado, head of the navy and a member of the Communist Central Committee; Fernando Ravelo-Renedo, ambassador to Colombia; Gonzalo Bassols-Suarez, a former staff member at the Cuban embassy in Colombia; and Rene Rodriguez-Cruz, a Central Committee member and president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People.
In a 1991 Frontline documentary, Cuba and Cocaine, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Jeff Karonis, stated, "We would observe in the middle of the day an air drop going on inside Cuban waters. The scenario would be for a small twin-engine airplane with maybe 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of cocaine to fly over Cuba, drop the drugs to a predesignated rendezvous point to several boats. Then it would exit back down off Cuba, and many times a Cuban military vessel would be in the immediate vicinity, right on scene with them.''
''The evidence of Cuban involvement in narcotics trafficking was becoming so abundant that the regime moved to protect Fidel Castro by dissociating him from those activities.''
|Patricio and Tony de la Guardia: twin brothers implicated in drug trafficking|
|Partners in Crime: Manuel Noriega and Fidel Castro|
"Federal prosecutors say Noriega traveled to Havana to ask [Fidel] Castro to mediate a potentially deadly dispute with top members of Colombia`s Medellin cocaine cartel. They say the cartel chiefs were upset because a major drug lab had been seized in Panama despite payment of millions of dollars in protection money to Noriega. According to the Noriega indictment, Castro negotiated a peace accord between the cartel and Noriega at the 1984 meeting. The allegation forms a cornerstone of the racketeering and drug trafficking charges against Noriega."Meanwhile convicted cartel leader Carlos Lehder directly implicated Raul Castro and U.S. fugitive Robert Vesco "to route cocaine flights through Cuba." Capitol Hill Cubans blogged how two years later, a federal indictment listed General Raul Castro as part of a conspiracy that smuggled seven and a half tons of cocaine into the United States over a 10-year period but the Clinton administration overruled prosecutors.
|The Cuban Five should have been the Cuban Ten|
The Cuban "WASP" spies arrested in 1998 used coded material on computer disks to communicate with other members of the spy network.
Below are two excerpts from the 1,300 pages taken from those diskettes translated and used during the spy trial that demonstrate the criminal nature of the Cuban regime's operation in South Florida.
In the first excerpt it declares that their primary objective was "penetrating and obtaining information on the naval station located in that city." In the next excerpt intelligence operatives communicated about "burning down the warehouse" and sabotaging Brothers to the Rescue equipment. Also requested that they attempt to identify who would be flying at certain times.
|Ten captured Wasp Network spies|
This is not my first time commenting on a film by Olivier Assayas in which Edgar Ramirez had a starring role. Back in 2010 I saw the film Carlos and highly recommended it. However on this occasion, The WASP Network movie, leaves a lot to be desired, and this is without having seen the film. The description on IMDb reads "The story of five Cuban political prisoners who had been imprisoned by the United States since the late 1990s on charges of espionage and murder."
Technically they are political prisoners but they are not prisoners of conscience. The two should not be confused with each other, but are on too many occasions. Both Adolf Hitler and Fidel Castro had been political prisoners because they killed people in the service of a political purpose, were caught, tried in a court room of their peers, and justly imprisoned for their crimes. This is very different from a prisoner of conscience, someone jailed for non-violently exercising their fundamental human rights.
The Wasp Network had planned to burn down a airport hangar, first terrorize then send a mail bomb to kill someone, and provided material intelligence that assisted in the shoot down of two civilian planes on February 24, 1996 killing four. This came out during their trial. Gerardo Hernandez, the head of the network was convicted of murder conspiracy and espionage and condemned to a double life sentence.
There has been an effort to erase the crimes of Castroism. Both the Brazilian director, Olivier Assayas, and Mexican actor, Gael García Bernal, at the WASP network press conference, perhaps unintentionally, took part in this process when they claimed that the Cuban spies had done nothing violent and were not spying but were acting out of love. This is not reality, and a slander against the victims.
It is important to recognize that this was not an isolated incident or restricted to Cuba. The founder of the Cuban intelligence service and his spy networks have played and continue to play an important role in Venezuela today.
|Cuban Comandant Ramiro Valdes and President Hugo Chavez|
Valdes in 2010 was the Vice President of the Council of State and Minister of Communications in the Cuban government. His role in Communications was figuring out in 2007 a way to muzzle the internet, what he called a "wild colt of new technologies." Afro-Cuban scholar Carlos Moore offered the following observation on Commander Valdes in 1961 and in 2010:
Ramiro Valdes was an inflexible, totalitarian and brutal person. He was the most feared man in Cuba. The repressive policies of the regime were crafted by him. Valdes struck fear into the hearts of Cubans (even revolutionary ones). Today, he apparently continues to be the same dogmatic, sectarian and brutal person he was at the height of his power, but he is no longer the powerful figure that he used to be.In 2013, Juan Juan Almeida, the son of another commander of the revolution, listed some of his nick names: "The Master of Censorship; The Prince of Terror; The Cuban Dzerzhinsky; … and in his native district he is known as the Butcher of Artemis."
In addition to domestic repressive forces there is a foreign presence heavily embedded in the Venezuelan military and intelligence services. The head of the opposition National Assembly of Venezuela on May 15, 2016 complained, over social media, of the presence of 60 Cuban officers. This included a Cuban general, who he identified by the last name Gregorich, who had a leadership role that included issuing orders to Venezuelan troops. Capitol Hill Cubans identified the Cuban General as Raul Acosta Gregorich.
The Venezuelan regime, that Cuban spies and military helped to build, looks remarkably more similar with each passing year to the dystopian regime they created in Cuba.