CubaBrief: History of Cuban spying and the harm done to the United States. How Cuba fuels campus protests in the United States. How the two are linked.

Manuel Rocha, presidente de Barrick Pueblo Viejo ( Gobierno Danilo Medina)

Some have questioned what concrete harm Manuel Rocha has done to others beyond the U.S. government, but an official review is underway that will take years to determine the full extent of the damage done, but other Cuban spies offer some ideas that are looked at in an OpEd published in the Miami Herald online on May 14, 2024.

In his 2023 book, Castro’s Nemesis, Chris Simmons,a career Counterintelligence Officer with the U.S. Army and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), describes how his colleague in the DIA Reg Brown conducted a counterintelligence assessment that the “Castro regime still trafficked drugs” and that this involved the “organized and sustained involvement by many of Fidel’s highest ranking officials.” The assessment was sent to other DIA analysts for a “routine review” in early June 1989, and Reg Brown received a positive response, but was shocked  when CNN reported “Cuba’s arrest of 14 officials for drug trafficking” in mid June 1989. Eventually a total of 33 were jailed, executed or committed suicide.

Simmons wrote, “Reg was suspicious at the coincidence. The timing of the internal release of his assessment and Havana’s crackdown were eerily close. Additionally, most Cuban officials named in his assessment were among the thirty-three executed, imprisoned, fired, or who committed suicide.”

Ana Belen Montes, and a second unidentified spy were working for Havana in the DIA at the time.

The 1989 Ochoa Trial was an effort by Cuban officials to cover up their drug trafficking by executing Major General Arnaldo Ochoa, and Colonel Antonio de la Guardia, Major Amado Bruno Padron, and Captain Jorge Martinez of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) following a political show trial. Without being alerted by agent(s) that penetrated the DIA, Reg Brown’s assessment would have had more serious repercussions for Havana, and Washington would have been less likely to share narcotics trafficking intelligence with their Cuban counterparts.

Havana had successfully whitewashed its decades-long, and ongoing, track record of drug trafficking. It is fair to say that the communist dictatorship in Cuba should be called the “Havana Cartel“.

The number of Americans dying of cocaine overdoses has grown exponentially since 1999 when Washington and Havana intensified their joint counternarcotics efforts. It is reminiscent of similar efforts with Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega in the 1980s.

How did Havana achieve these intelligence wins over the United States?

Mary O’Grady offers a possible answer in the conclusion of her column published on Monday in The Wall Street Journal on “how Cuba fuels the campus protests.”

In a 2014 unclassified report, “Cuban Intelligence Targeting of Academia,” the FBI said that schools, colleges, universities and research institutes are “a fertile environment” for foreign intelligence. “The Cuban intelligence services,” it added, “are known to actively target the U.S. academic world for the purposes of recruiting agents, in order to both obtain useful information and conduct influence activities.”

Manuel Rocha was recruited by Cuban intelligence officers  in 1973 when he was fresh out of Yale University, and Ana Belen Montes was recruited while still a graduate student at John Hopkins University.

How many future spies are being identified by the Castro regime’s Directorate of Intelligence in 2024?

Miami Herald, May 14, 2024

History of Cuban spying and the harm done to the U.S. 

By John Suarez

Victor Manuel Rocha is the latest Cuban spy sentenced, but he’s far from the first captured. In all cases, the damage done is hard to gauge.

Rocha spent over 40 years spying for communist Cuba at the U.S. State Department, holding important postings in Latin America, and in the National Security Council. Later, he worked as a private consultant for the U.S. Southern Command in Doral, which oversees Cuba. The Associated Press reports that “Federal authorities have been conducting a confidential damage assessment that could take years to complete,” and when discovered, much of it will remain classified.

Rocha was sentenced in April to 15 years in federal prison and fined $500,000. Other spies have stolen U.S. intelligence that got Americans killed, and engaged in influence operations to downplay Havana’s threat to the U.S.

[ Full article ]

The Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2024

How Cuba Fuels the Campus Protests

Some of the ‘outside agitators’ against Israel are Havana’s fellow travelers.

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

There’s a dogs-bites-man quality to the news reports that recent campus chaos in support of Hamas is the work of well-funded revolutionary groups out to destabilize the U.S. Even less surprising is the charge that “outside agitators,” as New York Mayor Eric Adams has termed these groups, share an ideology with the Cuban military dictatorship—and in some cases have attained practical support from Havana.

On the other hand, the American public needs to be reminded that the Cuban regime has for 65 years nursed bitter opposition to the U.S. Constitution and American freedom. And that for decades it has spent enormous resources burrowing into America’s educational, diplomatic and political circles in an effort to topple our democratic republic.

This truth was obscured during the Obama administration, when Ben Rhodes—struggling creative writer turned national-security guru—shaped U.S. policy to profess that Cuba is no longer a threat. Who can forget the photograph—iconic for the American left—of Raúl Castro raising the arm of a limp-wristed President Obama in 2016?

[ Full article ]