Foreign Affairs

Obama’s New “People-To-People” Cuba Policy

“The Obama Administration is planning to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba,” the New York Times reported this week. “The (Obama) policy … is meant to loosen restrictions on academic, religious and cultural groups that were adopted under President George Bush and return to the ‘people-to-people’ policies followed under President Bill Clinton…. Those policies, officials said, fostered robust exchanges between the United States and Cuba, allowing groups … to share expertise as well as life experiences.”

In fact, these groups shared much more than “life experiences.” The New York Times is much too bashful in detailing just how “robust” these exchanges with Cuba had gotten during the Clinton Administration.

No mention by the Times, for instance, that the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department by an enemy agent resulted precisely from all that “sharing” by the Clinton Administration with Stalinist Cuba, a regime Obama’s very State Department lists as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

“Castro poses no significant threat to the U.S. or any of his hemispheric neighbors. No evidence exists that Cuba is trying to foment any instability in the Western Hemisphere,” asserted the Clinton Defense Department’s “National Intelligence Estimate on Cuba.”

From Havana, Castro immediately hailed the report as “an objective report by serious people.”

This report was authored by the Clinton Defense Department’s Ana Belen Montes, a champion of cultural and educational exchanges with Cuba, in which she partook abundantly. During the Clinton Administration, Montes was awarded the “Certificate of Distinction,” the third-highest honor awarded by any U.S. Intelligence agency.

Her diligence, brilliance and sagacity led the Clinton team to promote Montes to head the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Cuba division, an ideal post to better champion her enlightened policy of “openness” and “sharing” with Castro’s Cuba.

Montes had access to all U.S. intelligence on Cuba and led briefings on Capitol Hill, at the State Department and the Pentagon regarding her enlightened Cuban policy. “On Cuba,” one government official said, “Montes was who you went to.”

Thus pampered, promoted and honored under Clinton, Montes today is serving a 25-year prison sentence for “conspiracy to commit espionage.” On September 20, 2001, Montes was arrested by the FBI as a Castro spy and accused of the same crime as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. After conviction, only a plea bargain allowed the Clinton Administration’s top “Cuba expert” to escape the fate of the Rosenbergs.

“Montes passed some of our most sensitive information about Cuba back to Havana” said John Bolton, then-Undersecretary for International Security.

“Ana Montes compromised our entire program against Cuba, electronic as well as human,” said Joel F. Brenner, National Counterintelligence Executive.

The Montes case is widely considered the most damaging espionage case since the “end” of the Cold War.

These Clinton-era “people-to-people” exchanges with Cuba got so chummy that in the mid-90s Mobile, Ala., and Havana became official “Sister Cities.” The ceremony celebrating the many business and cultural exchanges between the loving sisters saw much toasting and smiling and slapping of backs between Mobile’s best and brightest and Cuba’s representative, Oscar Redondo.

Came time for the ten-year celebratory bash of the sisterly relationship in 2003 and Mobile’s best and brightest were again on hand but Redondo was nowhere to be seen. Only weeks earlier, he’d been nabbed by the FBI as a Castro espionage agent and booted out of the country. Oscar Redondo had been one of Montes’ top lieutenants

In May 2003 14 more Cuban spies were uncovered and booted from the U.S. Most had worked under diplomatic cover while “robustly exchanging” all those “life experiences” with their American hosts.

“It’s a way (Obama’s forthcoming Cuba policy) over the long term to allow Americans and Cubans to have contact, even as their governments continue to hash out a lot of seriously thorny issues,” the New York Times thus quotes Julia Sweig, resident Cuba expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Such contact was particularly useful to Sweig, whom the New York Times habitually consults and quotes on all matters Cuban. “In Cuba many people spent long hours with me, helped open doors I could not have pushed through myself, and offered friendship and warmth to myself during research trips to the island.… Elsa Montero and Jose Gomez Abad championed this project.” That’s Julia Sweig in the acknowledgements to her book, Inside the Cuban Revolution.

By looking in their very archives, the New York Times can discover that the Cubans who provided such “friendship and warmth” to Sweig, who “opened so many doors” and who “championed” her project are Castro agents of considerable notoriety.

Had J Edgar Hoover’s FBI not nabbed them in time, 9/11 might be remembered as the 2nd biggest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Townhall has already reported on the explosions Sweig’s “champions” plotted for Macy’s, Gimbel’s and Bloomingdale’s on Black Friday 1962. 
Interestingly, the very Defense Intelligence officer (retired Lt. Col. Christopher Simmons) who helped nab Montes and the 14 other Castro spies alleges Sweig serves as an agent of influence for the Castro regime. 

“For Cuba, being able to influence policy and elite opinion-makers is equally important—possibly even more important—than recruiting spies with access to intelligence information,” said Norman Bailey, a high official in the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The Times article also mentions that Obama’s Cuba “opening” might be a doggie treat to reward Castro for good behavior: “Others described it (the forthcoming Obama Policy) as a nod to President Castro’s stunning decision last month to begin releasing dozens of political prisoners.”

Indeed, the New York Times has a long and illustrious history of being “stunned” by Fidel Castro.
“Fidel Castro is not only NOT a Communist, he is decidedly ANTI-Communist. In Cuba there are NO COMMUNISTS in positions of control,” Herbert Matthews reported in the New York Times in June 1959. That the Times swallowed Castro’s latest about “releasing” political prisoners is no surprise. In fact, this very month, Castro unleashed a fresh wave of repression against his subjects.

If only the New York Times would consult more reliable “Cuba experts,” they might learn of such developments. Some brave black Cubans just smuggled out some tapes and videos of what the Stalinist/Apartheid Castro regime has been up to lately. The New York Times, needless to say, cannot be bothered. They’re much too busy interviewing Manhattan-based “Cuba experts.”

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