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Column 062915 Brewer

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cuba and FARC, and their Sinister Presence in Venezuela

By Jerry Brewer

Cuba maintains one of its largest intelligence networks in Venezuela (and in Mexico). The late President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela preferred direct access to Cuba’s security service, as indicated by cables that were released and sent from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to the State Department. 

The Cuban security apparatchik remains a key source of Venezuela’s training for its military, and its domestic and foreign security services, as well as for the development and support of people and groups with terror agendas, and to restrain and inhibit opposition to the repressive leftist governments of Venezuela and Cuba.

Many blind eyes and ears are enraged when offered a peek under the espionage umbrella that reports what some believe are old cold war diatribes designed to punish rogue nations for anti-U.S. sentiments.

One good example is the skillfully exploited situation, the charade, by Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

The efforts to end more than 50 years of conflict in Colombia, through the latest peace talks that began in November of 2012, in Cuba, clearly demonstrate the terrorist group’s desire to gain power and political office; to be forgiven for their atrocities; and to not surrender their arms.

To simply summarize and give credence to this rebel farce, Ivan Marquez, the lead negotiator of FARC, said that people shouldn't hold high expectations for the peace talks. This as Marquez must see Colombia’s heightened frustrations with the FARC, and its empty words, shenanigans and murderous agenda.

In March, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos agreed to halt aerial bombing in recognition of a unilateral cease-fire called by FARC at Christmastime. However, he subsequently ordered air assaults to resume in response to a rebel attack that killed ten soldiers in April.

Since then both sides have carried out attacks, with the FARC renewing offensive operations and sabotaging roads, pipelines and utilities. Last week four soldiers were killed in northeastern Colombia when a helicopter dropping off troops was destroyed by explosives detonated remotely by the FARC.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, U.S.-based social scientists held a negative view of truces involving violent groups and gangs, believing that those kinds of agreements legitimized gangs, reinforced the authority of their leaders, deepened cohesion among their rank and file, and actually reproduced – rather than reduce – violence. Their perceptions had much merit as evidenced by MS-13 and other gangs in Latin America.

On June 24, U.S. President Barack Obama publicly stated for the first time that the U.S. government “can communicate and negotiate with hostage takers.”  This will certainly add many new victims worldwide to at least the minimum of a vast multi-million dollar illicit business of kidnapping and extortion.  Kidnap and Ransom insurance (K&R) is growing by leaps and bounds worldwide.

To further complicate the situation and continue the threat, Cuba and Venezuela are joined by Iran with a close and cooperative relationship against the U.S., and in support of terrorist groups and states.  Much of this cozy relationship is facilitated though intelligence exchanges, and Cuba’s staunch and highly successful human intelligence network.

This network skillfully and masterfully controls Venezuela’s people via document control and logistics to forge travel documents and facilitate rogue agent travel through borders. Cuba has recently proven to remain adept at harboring terrorists and facilitating weapons movement in violation of UN sanctions.  

In an act of profound bewilderment, The White House recently announced that Cuba will be removed from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. This “despite its ties to Marxist, jihadist, and other separatist terrorist organizations,” as stated in a Breitbart News lead last April 14.

President Obama said that Cuba “has not provided any support for international terrorism in six months,” despite the presence of almost every senior official of the FARC.  President Obama also claimed that the Cuban government had “provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

Regarding Venezuela, as with Cuba, there is a curious amnesia by President Obama and his advisors as to the misery and violent oppression, imprisonment, murder and disappearances in both nations. It certainly must not mean that U.S. intelligence has failed, for the international media is constantly rife with examples.

Estimates are that around 10,000 highly violent militant grassroots groups, called colectivos, have received training by Cuban security officials along Venezuela’s border with Colombia. They define themselves “as the defenders of revolutionary socialism," and are a real threat to citizens that reject revolutionary rule and government abuses.

To demonstrate the reality and importance of this strategic and highly tactical operational training and development venue by Cuba, Raul Castro has sent in high-ranking officers – that include generals, commanders, and officials from Cuba’s Interior Ministry.

Cuba and the rogue Venezuelan government’s facilitation with terrorists must be stopped. Even the U.S. DEA has shown direct and growing criminal drug ties between Colombia's FARC guerrillas and Hezbollah. The Cuban and Venezuelan government’s illicit criminal nexus must be a top priority of astute democratic government’s intelligence in the Western Hemisphere.

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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 www.cjiausa.org.

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