One has to admire, in a way, the persistence of the CIA and the USAID --if they are in fact different organizations-- in trying to create agents in Cuba. Last night, Cuban TV broadcast a new episode of the series "Cuba's Reasons," presenting the revelations of yet another Cuban reporting to state security but who had been working --presumably-- as an agent of the US. He had been tagged as someone with leadership qualities, capable of generating incidents that would then be amplified in the media. For the purposes, he was given special satellite communications equipment and training in the necessary techniques. The presumed CIA agent turned up on Cuban TV detailing his time as a double agent.
In earlier weeks, the same program has presented a young man who, as a reporter for Radio Marti, had been considered of confidence by the Ladies in White; an artist assigned to instigate dissent among younger artists; a doctor who was to make use of a Canadian medical charity to create dissident groups; prospective writers of counter-revolutionary blogs; an IT expert who had been running an off-the-books business setting up satellite receiving antennas, and who was expected to create satellite two-way networks for secure communications; and another man whose task was to help create phantom human-rights groups for predetermined political purposes. The IT engineer explained that he was willing to make some money illegally, but not to collaborate with the CIA.
This is not the first time that something like this has happened.
In 2003, as the US warned troublesome governments that they could suffer the same fate as Iraq, the Cuban government arrested and imprisoned 75 dissidents on charges of being financed and directed by the US Interests Section in Havana. In fact, 12 others were also arrested --but not imprisoned, because they had been reporting to Cuban state security. Having worked in leading and confidential positions among the larger group --one wrote a human rights report that the State Department presented to Congress and the World--, they provided testimony and evidence against the 75 defendants, who were released during the last few months. The stories of the 12 were collected in a book, Los Disidentes.
And that was not the first time that something similar happened.
In 1987, Cuban TV broadcast another series that kept viewers on the edge of their seats throughout the several episodes involved. That time, the government revealed 27 agents who had been recruited by the CIA but who in fact ended up working for Cuban state security. The first one presented in the series was not even Cuban. He was an Italian, a Knight of the Order of Malta, who had been in Cuba representing his company and was recruited by the CIA in Madrid. Mauro Cassagrandi, who said that he admired what the Cubans had achieved, decided to collaborate with the CIA so that he could "tell the Cubans everything." He passed the CIA lie detector tests, and kept up his collaboration with the CIA from 1975 to 1987.
There is sure to be a replay: the US will try again to infiltrate Cuban society, in order to collect intelligence and generate dissent and stories for the mass media, and the Cubans will infiltrate the US networks.