CubaBrief: Did Castro regime officials assist Soccer star Diego Maradona in grooming and trafficking a 16-year-old-girl? Was this done to gain “Kompromat”?

The Independent reported on October 11, 2021 that “new video has surfaced adding weight to claims by a woman that football legend Diego Maradona seduced her when she was 16, gave her drugs and kept her locked in a hotel. Mavys Alvarez also claims that she was forced to get breast implants after being groomed and flown to Argentina from her native Cuba by Maradona’s associates, without the permission of her parents.”

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Mavys Alvarez (then 16), Fidel Castro, and Diego Maradona (then 40) in 2001

Cubans in 2001 were not allowed to travel outside of the island. Fidel Castro gave the authorization for the minor to travel with Maradona. According to Mavys Álvarez, “the only way to travel was either with the permission of the parents, being at least 18 years old, or through Fidel. Maradona was able to get the authorization and she traveled out of the country in November 2001.

Diego Maradona, an international soccer legend, and enthusiastic supporter of the Castro dictatorship, could still have been targeted by the Castro regime with compromising photos to gain leverage over the sports celebrity.

The Cuban government’s intelligence service has a history of carrying out “kompromat”, called “honey traps” in English. “Kompromat” is “the Russian art of obtaining compromising material on prominent individuals in order to exert leverage over them,” according to The Conversation. The Cuban intelligence service was formed, and trained by both the East German Stasi and the Soviet KGB, and have their own extensive history on this tactic, and below is an example that made the news.

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Cuban spy Juan Pablo Roque honey trapped Ana Margarita Martinez into a false marriage.

BBC News article “US court exposes Cuban ‘honey trap’” published on March 10, 2001 how a Cuban intelligence agent targeted a Cuban American woman and “used the marriage as a cover to pursue his spying activities for the Cuban Government” in the 1990s. ” A court in the United States ordered the Cuban Government to pay $7 million in damages to a Miami woman who said she unknowingly married a Cuban intelligence agent,” reported the BBC News in the same article.

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Fidel Castro met with Jeffrey Epstein in Cuba in 2003.

British authorities had been aware of these practices and even after the Cold War in 1990 listed Cuba among “countries presenting a special security risk”, and among dangers cited “sexual involvement”, another term for “honey trap.” To achieve additional leverage the use of underage girls or boys (that do not appear underage) could be used to add a criminal element to extortion used by Havana. That Fidel Castro invited Jeffrey Epstein to Cuba in 2003 should raise concerns about what information the two could have traded in, and who would be further compromised.

Scott Carmichael, a U.S. counterintelligence officer in a 2007 article by The Washington Times said, “I believe that the Cuban Intelligence Service has penetrated the United States government to the same extent that the old East German intelligence service, the Stasi, once penetrated the West German government during the Cold War (“DIA official warns about Cuban spies,” March 14). “Indeed, according to an 2004 indictment that was unsealed in 2013, Montes herself was recruited—perhaps even before she joined the DIA—by Marta Rita Velazquez, then a U.S. State Department employee (“Charge in Cuban spy case unsealed,” Associated Press, April 23, 2013).” Castro’s intelligence services share information with U.S. adversaries, “including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, among others,” The Hill OpEd by Sean Durns cited Scott Carmichael on December 5, 2016.

This episode regarding Diego Maradona should serve as a reminder of the tactics Castro agents use against both friends and foes to gain leverage, and that it is dangerous to underestimate them. Cuba in 2021 remains “a special security risk.”

The Independent, October 11, 2021

Video adds weight to claim Maradona ‘trafficked’ 16-year-old girl and kept her at hotel

Mavys Alvarez is listed as plaintiff on case filed with Argentina’s Office of Trafficking and Exploitation of Persons

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Mavys Alvarez says Maradona and his entourage trafficked her from Cuba to Argentina, locked her in a hotel and made her get breast implants

AMÉRICA TEVÉ

Oliver O’Connell

New video has surfaced adding weight to claims by a woman that football legend Maradona seduced her when she was 16, gave her drugs and kept her locked in a hotel.

Mavys Alvarez also claims that she was forced to get breast implants after being groomed and flown to Argentina from her native Cuba by Maradona’s associates, without the permission of her parents.

The video, obtained by Spanish-language news outlet Infobae, came to light amid a human trafficking case against Maradona’s associates who Ms Alvarez says introduced her to the football icon in 2000 when she was 16 years old and he was 40.

In one part of the video, she looks visibly uncomfortable as Maradona films her, in others she sings karaoke and smiles, and in another, the pair are on a bed together while commentary from a football match plays in the background. Various associates of Maradona’s also appear at times in the video.

Considered a hero in Argentina and one of the greatest footballers of all time, Maradona was in Cuba for a drug rehabilitation course when he met Ms Alvarez at his hotel in the resort town of Varadero, The Daily Telegraph reports.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/maradona-teenager-human-trafficking-cuba-b1936487.html

From the archives

The Hill, December 5, 2016

Castro’s dead, but his spies live on

By Sean Durns — 12/05/16 03:00 PM EST

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© Getty Images

Although Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died on Nov. 25, 2016, the influence of the intelligence services that he created lives on. Castro, who ruled Cuba with an iron fist for five decades, created a spy apparatus whose outsized impact has extended far from the shores of the Caribbean country.

Cuba did not have a professional foreign intelligence service before Castro seized power in 1959. Under Soviet auspices, it created one in 1961. Initially called the Direccion General de Inteligencia (DGI), and later renamed the Direccion de Inteligencia (DI), Cuba’s most important intelligence agency began training its officers in Moscow in 1962. KGB tutelage proved of enormous value, both to the Castro regime and to the USSR.

The DGI quickly developed into an elite service. Brian Latell, a former CIA analyst, noted in his 2012 book Castro’s Secrets, “Many retired CIA officials stand in awe of how Cuba, a small island nation, could have built up such exceptional clandestine capabilities and run so many successful operations against American targets.” In Latell’s opinion, “Cuban intelligence…ran circles around both” the CIA and the FBI.

William Rosenau and Ralph Espach, both senior analysts at the Virginia-based think tank CNA concurred with Latell’s conclusion. Writing in The National Interest, both offered the judgment: “Cuban intelligence services are widely regarded as among the best in the world—a significant accomplishment, given the country’s meager financial and technological resources (“Cuba’s Spies Still Punch Above Their Weight,” Sept. 29, 2013).” 

The basis for this claim seems sound.

Cuban intelligence successfully penetrated U.S. national security agencies both during the Cold War and in the years since.  Following his 1987 defection to the U.S., Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, a top official in Castro’s intelligence agencies, exposed dozens of Cuban double agents who had infiltrated various segments of American society, from the government to non-profit organizations. Many of the spies had been living in the U.S. for years. 

In retaliation, Castro ordered at least two-failed assassination attempts on Aspillaga—both of them, Latell pointed out, involving people the former Cuban spy knew. 

Another of the DI’s successful plants, Ana Belen Montes, spied on behalf of Cuba for sixteen years. Montes, an analyst with the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), was sentenced to a 25-year prison term in October 2002. 

The damage caused by Montes was extensive. Scott Carmichael, the U.S. counterintelligence officer who helped bring Montes down, stated in his 2007 book True Believer that, among other actions, Montes divulged the existence of a secret U.S. Army base in El Salvador, resulting in an attack by Castro-friendly forces and the death of an American Green Beret. Additionally, Montes revealed U.S. assets in Cuba and, in the opinion of former U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton, may have offered significant contributions to a 1998 intelligence report that minimized the danger Cuba poses to the U.S.

As a 2007 article by The Washington Times noted, Carmichael said, “I believe that the Cuban Intelligence Service has penetrated the United States government to the same extent that the old East German intelligence service, the Stasi, once penetrated the West German government during the Cold War (“DIA official warns about Cuban spies,” March 14). Indeed, according to an 2004 indictment that was unsealed in 2013, Montes herself was recruited—perhaps even before she joined the DIA—by Marta Rita Velazquez, then a U.S. State Department employee (“Charge in Cuban spy case unsealed,” Associated Press, April 23, 2013).

Cuba’s top-notch spy craft has ramifications that extend beyond U.S.-Cuban relations. According to Carmichael, Havana’s intelligence services share information with U.S. opponents and strategic competitors, including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, among others. 

The DI is a global player, having worked to support Castro’s active and expansive conception of foreign policy priorities. Cuba’s spies played an important role in Soviet efforts to revive Peronism in Argentina, the ascent of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and in Ethiopia where, as the British analyst Kyle Orton has noted, “17,000 Cuban troops and a stream of Soviet cash and direction provided the lifeline for the murderous [dictator] Mengistu Haile Mariam.”   

More recently, Havana has worked to shore up the anti-American Chavez-Maduro regime in Venezuela and provided Iranian scientists and technicians with the technical know-how for developing and manufacturing large quantities of biological weapons.  In July 2013, a North Korean cargo vessel was seized in Panama with Cuban military equipment aboard.

Internally, Cuban intelligence has been crucial to Castro’s grip on power; assisting in the stifling of freedom of speech and religion, political expression and the imposition of a catastrophic economic system.

Despite his death, Fidel Castro’s repressive regime remains in place. And the spy force he created remains one of its most capable executors.

The writer is a Washington D.C.-based foreign affairs analyst. His views are his own.

https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/308811-castros-dead-but-his-spies-live-on