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Column 070615 Brewer

Monday, July 6, 2015

With respect to Cuba: Is
Obama Guileful, Duped or a
Dim Bulb?
By Jerry Brewer
An interview with Pedro
Riera Escalante, a
cashiered former Cuban
spymaster now living in
exile, as regards to U.S.Cuba dtente
On July 1, President Barack
Obama formally announced that
the United States and Cuba have
agreed to open embassies in each
others capitals.
President Obama stated, "This is
a historic step forward in our
efforts to normalize relations
with the Cuban government and
people and begin a new chapter
with our neighbors in the
He continued to say that, "later
this summer Secretary (John)
Kerry will travel to Havana
formally to proudly raise the

American flag over our embassy

once more. He did acknowledge
somewhat contritely that, "Not
everyone is on board with the
U.S.-Cuba thaw."
In announcing his own trip,
Secretary of State John Kerry
stated: This will mark the
resumption of embassy
operations after a period of 54
years. It will also be the first visit
by a Secretary of State to Cuba
since 1945. The reopening of our
embassy, I will tell you, is an
important step on the road to
restoring fully normal relations
between the United States and
Cuba. Coming a quarter of a
century after the end of the Cold
War, it recognizes the reality of
the changed circumstances, and
it will serve to meet a number of
practical needs.
While this controversial hype on
establishing a new era in U.S.Cuba relations sounds
promising, there is much history
and a factual basis to believe that
the players in this agreement
may have easily duped each
other and created a false sense of
security by quite possibly
ignoring the intelligence and true
motives of a knee-jerk and
intentionally weak quid pro quo
Perhaps much of this navet and
public doubt can simply relate to
John Kerrys recent remarks,
when he said that, The
resumption of full embassy
activities will help us engage the
Cuban government more often
and at a higher level, and it will

also allow our diplomats to

interact more frequently, and
frankly more broadly and
effectively, with the Cuban
The decades of oppression and
violence, as well as civil and
human rights violations, by
Cuba's Castro regime against its
people, plus the failed economic
system and misery caused by
forced Communist doctrine, can
most certainly create sincere
doubt that the Cuban citizenry
will not continue to be intensely
controlled and monitored. Nor
will the door to capitalism see
the light of day on the distressed
island, as evidenced by the
record of documented
statements by both of the Castro
brothers on these subjects.
A U.S. embassy on the island will
be a convenient means for Cubas
aggressive and savvy security
apparatchik and spy services to
keep close tabs on issues of
interest, and to isolate and
contain U.S. diplomatic
movement by intense overt
security and covert tradecraft.
Pedro Riera Escalante served the
Castro regime as part of Cuban
intelligence for nearly 24 years
(1969-1993); in Mexico City,
under the guise of a diplomat,
from 1986-1991. Riera was the
Group Chief of Section Q-1, in
charge of operations against the
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
He was placed there, at the
highest level of Fidel Castros

government, via the head of the

General Directorate of
Intelligence, or DGI (today
Directorate of Intelligence, DI),
General of Division Luis Barreiro
Carames; and after a proposal by
Brigadier General Matos
Ezequiel Suarez, 2nd Chief of
Intelligence for foreign
Riera told this interviewer: I
was sent to develop and
implement the same
methodology that was developed
for the recruitment of CIA
officers, which had been
approved as the official doctrine
for (Soviet/Cuban) Intelligence.
Riera 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.
Brewer: What was the mission
and importance of the Cuban
DGI intelligence service during
the period of your service?
Pedro Riera Escalante (PRE):
The first priority of the DGI,
from 1969 through 1993, was
penetration and opposition to

the United States government

and the CIA.
In my opinion it continues right
now. The United States was
always considered the main
enemy, and the policy of Fidel
Castro was to maintain, at all
costs, the confrontation and to
prevent normalization of
relations, this insofar as having a
powerful foreign enemy served
Castro to justify his economic
failures and his foreign policy of
supporting guerrilla movements
in other countries.
At one of the previous times,
when they were close to the
resumption of relations with
Cuba, during the administration
of Gerald Ford, Castro in late
1975 broke off [talks] due to the
Cuban military intervention in
Angola. In 1977, with the entry of
Cuban troops in Ethiopia, again
the process that was developing
with Jimmy Carter ground to a
halt. During the Reagan
administration Cuba's military
expansion accelerated in Angola,
Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and El
The facts prove that during
most of the years since 1959 the
policy of Cuban military
intervention in different parts of
the world has been the principal
obstacle for the normalization of
relations between the two
Now, thanks to President
Obama closing his eyes to Cuban
intervention in Venezuela and
internal repression against

democratic opponents and

dissidents in Cuba, what has
been conceded completely is that
the United States has
accomplished the restoration of
diplomatic relations.
In all those years the mission of
the DGI, until 1968, was to train
[and] support guerrillas and
urban guerrilla movements
materially and politically in most
countries where they existed.
"From 1968 to 1975, the
Department of National
Liberation was separated from
the DGI [and] charged with
support to guerrillas in different
parts of the world, under the
command of Comandante
Manuel Pieiro.
The missions of the DGI, with
respect to the United States from
1969 to 1989, were developed by
three sub-leaderships and
military intelligence, they being
charged with penetrating the
United States government, first
the State Department,
embassies, universities, media,
[and] diplomatic mediums in
Washington and New York. In
1985, it may have been (Cuba's
military intelligence) that
recruited the U.S. Defense
Intelligence Agency official, Ana
Belen Montes.
[Two DGI] sectional
departments, Q-1 and Q-2,
[were] in charge of work against
the CIA. The first with three
directorates, subdivided into
sections: penetration of CIA
headquarters by infiltration or

the introduction of agents

recruited at universities and
directed to join the CIA;
penetration in third countries;
[and] harassment operations
dedicated to propaganda and
psychological war against the
CIA, therein a fundamental pillar
was the former CIA officer and
Cuban intelligence agent Philip
Agee, who died in 2008.
There were also other former
officers, like John Stockwell, the
ex-chief of station of the CIA in
Angola during the war; [and]
Phil Roettinger, a CIA officer
who played an important role in
Guatemala in 1954, who died in
Following instructions from
Cubas leadership, I contacted
Phil Roettinger during my time
in Mexico approximately
between the years 1988-1990,
and traveled to the city of San
Miguel de Allende and visited
him at home in order to
coordinate his activities and a
trip to Cuba with a group of
senior officials of the CIA and the
armed forces, supporters of
improving relations with Cuba.
Since the 80s the DGI had two
important programs to influence
government policy of the United
States towards Cuba. () The
Section responsible for the
United States was directed to
contact, recruit and use State
Department officials, journalists
and prominent personalities in
different mediums in order to
exert influence actions on the
United States government in

favor of improving relations with

"Moreover, Section Q-1 was in
charge of harassment [and]
directed to denounce CIA plans
and reveal the identity of CIA
officers through the actions of
Philip Agee and his publication
Covert Action and a group of
disgruntled CIA officers who
travelled to Cuba and took action
or did publications favorable to
the interests of Cuban
"[Several] wrote books revealing
information, means and methods
of the CIA, violating their
contracts with the CIA, which
were used in some manner by
Philip Agee or the DGI, directly
or indirectly, consciously or
"I attended to Philip Agee in
Cuba during the years 1974 and
1975, to advise and support him
in developing his book Inside
the Company: CIA Diary, and
later I contacted him in late 1989
when his book became the
centerpiece of the Moncada
operation, aimed at recruiting
the secretary of the CIA's deputy
chief of station [in Mexico City].
[Information from that first
contact] revealed data on the
most important
counterintelligence operation
carried out by the Station in
order to recruit a Cuban
intelligence officer; the facts I
knew subsequently allowed me
to verify that the information
was true and the operation
continued, and finally allowed

intelligence heads to take

preventive measures with the
implicated Cuban intelligence
"Double agent Donato Poveda
located in the Office of Merchant
Marines in Tokyo in 1974-1976
provide misinformation to the
CIA on troops and military
equipment being transported on
Cuban civilian ships into battle
in the war in Angola.
BREWER: How much of this
was the doctrine of Russia and
their collaboration?
PRE: They developed and
initiated special espionage
tradecraft and operations for
Cuban officials with access to
information from interests of the
CIA located in Cuban missions
abroad that were directed so that
the CIA would recruit [them] to
misinform, know their means
and methods, and study and
engage officers that they
attended in order to recruit
them. In early 1976 I received the
task to draft the first tradecraft
methodology for the DGI, for
which I was provided records of
all tradecraft developed
empirically or with basic past
concepts; advice from the KGB
was an important leg-up in the
work, we considered Soviet
Intelligence our teachers.
"Colonel Victor, Section Chief of
tradecraft of the KGB, along with
Colonel Pavel Yatzcov, lectured
me several times on Soviet
methodology. From the notes I
took during these conferences,

and analyses of the four most

important [operations]
developed to that date by Cuban
intelligence, in Japan, Spain and
Mexico. I compiled the first
methodology. The first two
successes of the new
methodology were the
projections and recruiting so that
the CIA would recruit [two]
The CIA harassment work
developed with Philip Agee was
prepared in coordination and
with the support of the KGB.
BREWER: What do you think of
the mutual opening of embassies
between Cuba and the U.S.?
PRE: First of all, the reciprocal
opening of embassies benefits
the Cuban government and hurts
the Cuban people's struggle for
the democratization of the
country. It can benefit U.S.
sectors and entrepreneurs
interested in the Cuban market.
But by no means is this opening
and the development of tourism
going to produce an impact that
helps the democratization of the
country, insofar as what the
government has done has been
to intensify repression, which is
going to increase its income and
strengthen it in order to be able
to repress better.
"And I want to point out that this
statement is made not because I
believe the embargo should
continue, and that relations
should not be normalized. I have
always been in favor of these, but
with conditions that guarantee

the Cuban people will truly

benefit and on a base of real
democratic opening and not one
of trickery.
"Fidel Castro and Raul have said
in years past that, when the
hostile policy of the United
States would end and relations
normalized, the relationship
could bring about openings in
Cuba, but none of this has
happened. To the contrary,
repression has intensified, they
have changed their ways of great
trials and convictions to brief
detentions, but all of the
repressive system continues
intact and will be strengthened
in order to have total control
over the new North American
diplomats that arrive in the
BREWER: Do you think that
Cuban espionage will proliferate
in the US with their new embassy
on U.S. soil?
PRE: "As is known, espionage is
a state policy, and it will
continue, they might be more
careful, but it will be perfected.
"Moreover, in recent years the
degree of penetration of Cuban
intelligence within the US
government is very high. As well,
I am convinced that after years
the fruits of dozens of agents who
were recruited while studying at
universities in order to later
penetrate the CIA and the State
Department must have harvested
fruits. When I contacted the CIA
in Mexico in 1999 and 2000, to
seek political asylum, the CIA

counterintelligence officials were

convinced that they had a spy
within the CIA and it was not the
case of Ana Belen Montes in the
Defense Intelligence Agency.
"My opinion is that Ana Belen
Montes was used in a very risky
way, putting her life at risk in
order to exert favorable influence
towards Cuba's in the US
government, but Ana Belen did
not belong to the CIA.
"All those agents within the US
government and the CIA should
have provided valuable
information so that Raul Castro
would have firsthand
information and impose his
principles in the negotiations
with Obama."
BREWER: Do you think Cuba
will end/curtail
surveillance/monitoring of the
new US embassy in Cuba?"
PRE: Of course the current
monitoring will be increased. All
Cuban personnel now working in
the Interests Section work for
Cuban State Security. All housing
for officials may have
microphones and other devices
installed. All records of refugees
that have been and are being
processed are first reviewed by
Cuban personnel who are
security agents that [give]
detailed information to officials.
BREWER: Is Cuba's mission in
Venezuela a threat to the US and

Venezuela, and other

democracies in the Americas?
PRE: The Government of
Venezuela is acting in full
coordination with the Cuban
government. Its repressive
bodies and armed forces are
under the control of Cuban
officials. Venezuela is not a
danger to the United States
today, but it could become one;
in these times it is a government
in a situation that poses a danger
for having brought the nation's
economy to crisis, and it is losing
more popular support on a daily
"They have established a very
effective repressive system to
weaken the opposition and
impede them from reaching
government office. Castro will
guarantee oil and revenue in
Venezuelan dollars at all costs;
supporting these with all his
intelligence resources in order to
keep President [Nicolas] Maduro
in power, or the generals who
remain loyal to Castro in case of
"The danger to the United States
is how far will it allow the Cuban
government and Cuban
intelligence in Venezuela to
continue giving orders to repress
its people; in this lies the danger.
As well, how far will Maduro go
in his military alliance with
BREWER: Any comments or
warnings to the U.S. on this

diplomatic interaction between

the U.S. and Cuba?
PRE: The image and foreign
policy of the United States have
apparently improved, with
President Obama defining his
new policy of establishing
relations and rejecting the
politics of aggression and
pressure that were ineffective;
and his position against the
"Obama has acted in accordance
with Castro and his interests, but
against the legitimate interests of
the Cuban people, the facts will
demonstrate that the Castro
regime will not stay in power
forever, and in the present and
future it will show that this
regime will not change its
dictatorial essence as long as the
Castro brothers are in power,
even while the United States has
changed its policy and even
eliminated the embargo.
"Obama, apparently, must have
been tranquilized by Raul
Castro's promise that he will not
continue to rule when his current
mandate ends, but he will
guarantee that his may persist
even after, like what happened in
China after the death of Mao;
and with normal relations with
the US, the struggle of the Cuban
people for freedom and
democracy will be more
repressed, difficult and painful.
"I am confident that the US
Congress will make the best
decisions, so that the embargo
will be lifted only after Raul

Castro eliminates the embargo

on the rights and freedoms of the
Cuban people. The embargo was
unproductive and it was an
erroneous policy that punished
the Cuban people, but after so
much time it would be more
erroneous and more punishing
on the Cuban people to suspend
it without Raul Castro making a
real democratic opening in Cuba.

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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