Cable sobre cómo los servicios de inteligencia cubanos tienen acceso directo a Chávez

En 2006 la Embajada de Caracas informa de que la inteligencia cubana proporciona a Chávez información no compartida con los servicios de inteligencia venezolanos

ID: 51158
Date: 2006-01-30 19:12:00
Origin: 06CARACAS219
Source: Embassy Caracas
Classification: SECRET
Dunno: 06HAVANA118 06HAVANA697
Destination: VZCZCXRO6607
PP RUEHAO
DE RUEHCV #0219/01 0301912
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 301912Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2920
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5901
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 5109
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 1580
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 9782
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1652
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0351
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 1276
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0396
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 3007
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0300
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0532
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 0769
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 3525
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0525
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 0971
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 3222
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA PRIORITY 0914
RUEHAO/AMCONSUL CURACAO PRIORITY 0543
RUEHMI/USOFFICE FRC FT LAUDERDALE PRIORITY 2777
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0420

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 06 CARACAS 000219

SIPDIS

SECRET NOFORN

SIPDIS
SIPDIS

HQSOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
FOR FRC LAMBERT

E.O. 12958: DNG: CO 01/26/2021
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, VE
SUBJECT: CUBA/VENEZUELA AXIS OF MISCHIEF: THE VIEW FROM
CARACAS

REF: A. A: HAVANA 00118
B. B: HAVANA 00697
C. C: TD-314/63777-05 LIMITED DISTRIBUTION
D. D: IIR 6 902 9698 06

Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR ROBERT R. DOWNES FOR 1.4 (D)

-------
Summary
-------

1. (S//NF) As noted in REF A, the Venezuelan relationship
with Cuba continues to intensify. Thousands of personnel
sent by the Cuban Government are involved in the Venezuelan
health sector and other BRV social missions. Cubans
cooperate extensively with Venezuelan intelligence services.
Cubans may also participate heavily in the BRV's efforts to
naturalize foreigners and provide documentation for citizens,
according to various reports from Embassy contacts. Cubans'
roles in the military are less clear but probably are also
less significant.

2. (C) Venezuelans' views of individual Cubans are mixed.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to be trying to
promote the involvement of Cubans in Venezuelan society,
although he has proceeded slowly and carefully. Anti-Chavez
politicians have barked up the wrong tree by decrying Cuban
communism and sovereignty violations, issues that simply do
not resonate with poor Venezuelans. While the economic
impact of Cubans working in Venezuela may be limited, Cuban
intelligence has much to offer to Venezuela's anti-U.S.
intelligence services. End Summary.

----------------
How Many Cubans?
----------------

3. (S) Although the numbers of Cubans sent by the GOC to
work in Venezuela are significant, the exact figures are
difficult to establish. Embassy officers have noted regular
flights of Cubans--or Venezuelans returning from official
visits to Cuba--at Caracas's Maiquetia airport. According to
a DOD analysis of flight activity, an average of about 350
people arrive on three to five commercial or military flights
from Cuba to Venezuela per day. Most of these flights land
at Maiquetia, but Barcelona and Maracaibo are also common
destinations. Post cannot determine how many Cubans are on
the flights or how many passengers stay in Venezuela
permanently. Airport officials spirit passengers through the
building without stopping in customs or immigration. ONIDEX,
Venezuela's National Office of Identification and
Immigration, reports that it naturalized only 12 Cubans out
of a group of 22,664 persons naturalized in December 2005.
Whether or not they enjoy Venezuelan citizenship, however,
thousands of Cubans have Venezuelan documentation. In
addition to the over 20,000 Cubans involved in the Venezuelan
health sector (see below), less reliable reports indicate
that thousands more are active in the Venezuelan interior.
Manuel Rosales, the opposition Governor of Zulia State, told
the DCM in October 2005 that 20,000 Cubans resided in Zulia
alone. Former National Assembly deputy Pedro Pablo Alcantara
(Accion Democratica) told us in October that Lara State had
the most Cubans per capita in Venezuela. He claimed more
flights from Havana arrived in Barquisimeto, Lara than in

CARACAS 00000219 002 OF 006


Caracas. Complicating the matter further are some 30,000
Cuban exiles in Venezuela, the Cuban exile NGO Net for Cuba
estimates.

------
Health
------

4. (C) The BRV created Mision Barrio Adentro (Inside the
Neighborhood Mission) to provide basic health care for
disadvantaged neighborhoods in December 2003, shortly after
signing a bilateral agreement with Cuba to swap oil for
medical services. As of mid-2005, about 21,000 Cuban
physicians, nurses, and support staff along with some 6,000
Venezuelan personnel staffed the mission, according to the
Ministry of Communication. Mission clinics are small,
two-story hexagonal structures that also house two to three
doctors. The BRV provides the clinics' equipment and
reduced-cost medicines. Through Barrio Adentro, the BRV
identifies patients eligible for Mision Milagro (Miracle
Mission), which flies Venezuelans to Havana for cataract
surgery. Anecdotal reporting suggests the care Cuban doctors
provide is often lacking and that many "physicians" are
actually medical students. The BRV has recently begun Mision
Barrio Adentro II, a network of more advanced diagnostic
centers and inpatient clinics to be administered and staffed
mostly by Venezuelans.

5. (C) Notwithstanding the 90,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil
Venezuela provides Cuba per day on barter terms, Cuban
doctors earn relatively little. According to press reports,
Cuban doctors receive salaries of up to USD 400 per month, a
figure slightly lower than local averages. A Cuban physician
told Post's medical advisor, however, that he received room,
board, and toiletries but that the Cuban Government was
"holding" his salary until he finished his two-year tour.
Some Cuban doctors have "deserted" and fled. A European
diplomat told polcouns in mid-January 2006 that the number of
Cuban asylum requests received by EU missions in Venezuela
had increased over the past few months. A local legislator
with extensive contacts in poor neighborhoods told us in
November 2005 that Cuban doctors complained bitterly that the
Cuban regime held their families hostage while the doctors
relied on local donations to survive. In contrast, according
to REF B, the GOC receives from Venezuela between USD 1,000
to 5,000 for each Mision Milagro cataract operation, which is
comparable to the roughly USD 3,500 that a Venezuelan private
clinic would charge for the procedure.

------------
Intelligence
------------

6. (S//NF) Sensitive reports indicate Cuban and Venezuelan
intelligence ties are so advanced that the two countries'
agencies appear to be competing with each other for the BRV's
attention. Cuban intelligence officers have direct access to
Chavez and frequently provide him with intelligence reporting
unvetted by Venezuelan officers. Venezuela's Directorate of
Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP), moreover, may
be taking advice from Cuban intelligence on the formation of
a new intelligence service (REF C). Cuban intelligence
officers train Venezuelans both in Cuba and in Venezuela,
providing both political indoctrination and operational

CARACAS 00000219 003 OF 006


instruction. They also may work in other Venezuelan
government ministries, unconfirmed sensitive reporting
suggests.

--------
Military
--------

7. (C) Post has received no credible reports of extensive
Cuban involvement in the Venezuelan military, despite the
Venezuelan Armed Forces' attempts to imitate Cuban military
doctrine and uniforms. According to DAO reports, Cubans
train and advise Chavez' military security detail.
Anti-Chavez military officers have told us that Cubans hold
liaison and personnel exchange positions within the
Venezuelan military formerly held by European and other Latin
American officers. Moreover, a few Venezuelan military
officers--along with some from the Foreign Ministry--undergo
ideological training in Cuba. Chavez has also sent a
military team to Cuba construct a complex of 150 houses,
according to press reports.

--------------
Other Sectors?
--------------

8. (S//NF) Cuban involvement in other agencies and missions
is harder to confirm. Cubans have been heavily involved in
ONIDEX, according to various unconfirmed sources. A local
academic with a background in electoral systems told poloff
that Venezuelans trained in Cuba helped expand the national
electoral registry by over two million voters through Mision
Identidad (Identity Mission) in 2003. He added that the
Venezuelan process to receive an identity card was a carbon
copy of the Cuban process. Anti-Chavez military officers
told us in July 2005 that Cubans helped run ONIDEX and
reported that an active duty army colonel was running an
operation to print identity cards for Cubans. According to
an Embassy employee with access to secure areas of Caracas'
Maiquetia airport, Cubans hold supervisory positions at the
airport's auxiliary terminal. Cubans also have established
and continue to service the airport's biometrics equipment,
according to sensitive reports. Some anecdotal sensitive
reporting further suggests Cuban officials had a Venezuelan
officer dismissed for resisting their attempts to take
temporary operational control over a section of the airport
during a visit of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

9. (C) Ruben Flores, the editor of a rancher newspaper,
told poloff in early 2005 that Cuban involvement in the
agricultural sector was second only to that in the health
sector. Such a claim may be exaggerated, but Cubans are
likely involved to a great extent. According to the
Agricultural Attache, Cuban officials hold senior positions
in the Ministry of Agriculture and also operate in the
Venezuelan interior. Citing technical experts in the
Ministry, Flores told us in January 2006 that Cuban officials
were helping design Venezuela's "Planting Plan 2006," which
would prescribe the crops to be sown in each region. Jaime
Perez Branger, head of the company that owns cattle ranch and
nature preserve Hato Pinero, told us in January that Cubans
advised the BRV on agricultural productivity and on setting
up cooperatives in such missions as Vuelvan Caras. (Vuelvan
Caras, or "About Face," is a BRV program offering six months

CARACAS 00000219 004 OF 006


of job training, after which participants form cooperatives,
often in the agricultural sector.) Venezuela, South
America's only net importer of agricultural products, is also
setting up Cuban sugar mills in Venezuela in the wake of
Cuba's failing sugar industry.

10. (C) Industry contacts have told the Agricultural
Attache that Cubans helped design and manage Mision Mercal,
the BRV's subsidized grocery program. An Arthur D. Little
consultant told us in February 2005 that a Cuban vice
minister of commerce works with Mercal full-time. Flores
told poloff in January 2006 that ALIMPORT, Cuba's agency that
handles all food imports, was advising the BRV on food
distribution. Venezuela finances some of its own food
imports through a Havana branch of the Industrial Bank of
Venezuela, and Chavez' brother Adan Chavez, the Venezuelan
Ambassador there, may profit illicitly from the loan process,
according to DAO reporting (REF D).

--------------------------
Venezuelan Views of Cubans
--------------------------

11. (SBU) Cuban citizens' resentment of Venezuelans (REF A)
is not completely mutual. Some Venezuelans, including many
who experienced the infiltration of violent Cuban
revolutionaries during the 1960s, do dislike Cubans. The
average Venezuelan's view of Cubans, however, is more
nuanced. Some poor Venezuelans admire Cubans involved in the
missions for providing free services. Others, while
disapproving of their political system, appreciate Cuban
culture displayed by individual Cubans, especially those
among the exile community.

12. (SBU) Chavez appears to be trying to promote a friendly
image of Cubans. Cubans have appeared increasingly on public
television, including on Chavez' "Alo Presidente" show.
Images of crossed Cuban and Venezuelan flags have also begun
to appear in Caracas. The polling firm Datanalisis reports
that Chavez' recent attempts to "sell" the Cuban political
model may have increased Venezuelans' rejection of the Cuban
regime from May 2005 (63 percent) to October 2005 (81
percent). (Embassy note: Whether Chavez' promotion of Cuba
is paying off or backfiring is unclear. Answers to
Datanalisis' question, "what do you think of Venezuela taking
the Cuban regime as a model," may reflect a growing sense of
nationalism and uniqueness among Venezuelans--consistent with
Chavez' calls for a "new socialism"--rather than a rejection
of Cubans. Indeed, almost half of the Chavez supporters
polled, who would seem least likely to oppose Cuba, responded
negatively.)

13. (SBU) Despite the increasing publicity, signs of
Cuban-Venezuelan partnership in Caracas are not as ubiquitous
as they apparently are in Havana, and Cubans generally keep a
low profile. Chavez' sense of self-importance may partly
explain why Cuba figures less prominently. The "Bolivarian
Alternative for Latin America" is not a synonym for
Cuban-Venezuelan cooperation in Venezuela because Chavez
pitches it as a movement he has launched throughout the
hemisphere. Chavez features call-ins from Castro during his
public appearances, such as a mid-January 2006 sendoff for
Venezuelans going to study medicine in Cuba. Nonetheless,
Chavez does not part with the spotlight for long. His weekly

CARACAS 00000219 005 OF 006


"Alo Presidente" broadcasts routinely run longer than five
hours.

----------------------------
The Opposition Has Failed...
----------------------------

14. (C) Some of Chavez' opponents appear to be trying to
inflame a prejudice against Cubans that is uncommon among
Venezuelans. They rant about "Cuban invaders" and
"sovereignty violations" that resonate little with the
Venezuelan poor. Opposition politicians also berate Chavez
for attempting to introduce Cuban communism, although few
Venezuelans believe he will do so. Former opposition
National Assembly deputy Carlos Casanova (Socialdemocrata)
told poloff the public's response to the opposition was "look
around, this isn't communism, chico!" Still, over-the-top
critiques can impede focused criticism. Asked how the
opposition could exploit opposition to Chavez' oil "loans" to
Cuba, Accion Democratica's former international relations
secretary Alfredo Coronil replied to poloff that Cuba was

SIPDIS
planning to intervene in Africa after Venezuela, brushing
aside poloff's remark that Cuba could hardly still afford
adventurism on a Cold War scale.

15. (C) The political opposition does little to exploit
alleged medical malpractice in Mision Barrio Adentro or to
report on returning Mision Milagro patients' impressions of
Cuba. In fact, much of the opposition remains ignorant of
how such missions work because it does not reach out to poor
neighborhoods for the most part. One anti-Chavez retired
military officer, however, told poloff in June 2005 that
groups of Venezuelan doctors had begun treating people in
poor areas with the support of certain pharmacies. The scope
of the initiative is unclear.

-----------------------------------
...But Finally Getting the Picture?
-----------------------------------

16. (U) Primero Justicia (PJ) has been the only political
party to criticize Chavez consistently for his handouts to
other countries. Promising additional programs to
redistribute oil wealth, PJ presidential candidate Julio
Borges has asked the BRV to explain why ordinary Venezuelans
are not receiving the money sent to Cuba, according to press
reports. With the closure of the Caracas-La Guaira bridge,
other elements of the opposition are also beginning to
contrast BRV gifts abroad with problems at home. An internet
blog site has displayed the amounts spent on foreign
infrastructure next to photos of the crumbling bridge.
During its assembly in mid-January 2006, the Venezuelan
Episcopal Conference criticized grants and loans the BRV had
awarded overseas.

-------
Comment
-------

17. (C) The economic impact of Cubans in Venezuela is mixed
but limited. (Venezuelan subsidies to Cuba, on the other
hand, could eventually pose greater problems for the BRV
(SEPTEL).) By helping the BRV pad its voter rolls and
naturalize suspicious immigrants, Cubans are doing jobs that

CARACAS 00000219 006 OF 006


Venezuelan government personnel could and would do in their
absence. Cuban doctors, however, are treating communities
mostly unreached by Venezuelan health services. Venezuela
continues to purchase costly conventional weapons systems
despite the influence on paper of Cuba's "asymmetric" warfare
doctrine.

18. (S//NF) The impact of Cuban involvement in Venezuelan
intelligence could impact U.S. interests directly.
Venezuelan intelligence services are among the most hostile
towards the United States in the hemisphere, but they lack
the expertise that Cuban services can provide. Cuban
intelligence routinely provides the BRV intelligence reports
about the activities of the USG. Cuban dissemination of
ideological propaganda in Venezuela is less of a threat.
Chavez, the revolution's most effective proponent, still
appears to be involving Cubans in public discourse and BRV
projects with some discretion.
BROWNFIELD

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