". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Henchmen of Castroism Are Taking Advantage of the U.S. Border Crisis (Part 2)

May 12, 2023

The United States has opened its arms to Cuban exiles since 1959, but the current crisis on the southern border and the lack of control in legal migration processes attract servants of the socialist tyranny and violators of human rights to the same country where the regime’s victims found refuge.

This is part two of a four-part series. Read part one.

Exposing Repressors

In April 2021, President Joe Biden called the massive crossing of migrants across the Rio Grande a “crisis.” Shortly after, the White House publicly dismissed the use of the term, but the comparative increase with other years confirms that the word describes reality well. In February 2021, there were some 100,000 migrants at the border, 24,000 more than in February 2019 (during the last migrant crisis) and in March the number increased to more than 172,000, according to a CNN report.

The troubled river on the southern border of the United States has left a profit for Castroism. Every Cuban who flees from repression and misery will soon become a sender of remittances to his loved ones on the island, and that flow of dollars will give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the parasitic centralized economy. In addition, it takes pressure off the boiler: the discontents and those who rebel leave after a great amount of state repression.

But among the 300,000 Cubans who in just one year ran to the other side of the U.S. border and the thousands more on rafts, there are also servants of totalitarianism. Not simple employees, but officials of state institutions or participants in the repressive propaganda machinery of the regime — wolves among sheep.

Castroism has been, since 1959, the spearhead of anti-American rhetoric in the Western Hemisphere, and responsible for fueling Marxist guerrillas, narco-terrorist groups, and inspiring and sustaining franchises of 21st century socialism, such as Chavismo and the Sandinismo.

For this reason, researcher Rolando Cartaya, from the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FDHC), understands the danger of Castro’s agents being part of the 2022 exodus, which represented 3% of the Cuban population. Cartaya, a reporter on the island until he was publicly ousted in Havana’s Central Park in the 1990s, focused on the matter together with a team that identified 20 henchmen who had arrived in the United States. Now, from the FDHC, he is a kind of Efraim Zuroff, a hunter of National Socialist repressors.

His work has usually focused on the complaints of the victims, on knowing those persecuted by Castroism and their struggles. But in 2017, Cartaya changed the game: he wanted to put a face and a name on the perpetrators, to “identify, investigate and expose” violent repressors such as police officers and border guards as well as white-collar ones, such as judges and prosecutors who sentence political prisoners.

In a press conference where he presented 20 files of Cuban henchmen in the United States, Cartaya alluded to the “repressors in white coats,” that is, the coordinators of the Cuban medical missions who “see that the workers pay up to 80% of what they earn in taxes” and that “they cannot be accompanied by their relatives or leave the shelters at certain hours.” He believes that the restrictions on medical personnel abroad are “consistent with International Labor Organization indicators of forced labor.”

Adrián Rodríguez Santana and Yoel Vázquez Ortiz, for example, held high positions with the “Cuban medical mission” in Venezuela. The exiled doctor Alexander Jesús Figueredo denounced the repressive actions of both against health professionals. Presumably, both are in the United States. In December, Rodríguez Santana “deserted” towards the southern U.S. border via Central America, a route traveled by thousands of Cubans, especially since the dictator Daniel Ortega announced a free visa for those born in Cuba in 2021.

The move is not new. Castroism has always sought to alleviate the social pressure generated by its mismanagement through the escape valve of mass migration. This was the case in the Rafters Crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union. The current exodus is a consequence of the uprisings of July 11 and 12, 2021 (popularly known as 11J) against the socialist state in more than 60 locations on the island.

The repressive wave after 11J included shooting, arresting children, torture, and sentences of up to 25 years for filming the events. It involved militants and supporters of Castroism, such as prosecutor Yerandy Martín González, who imprisoned protesters from Guanajay and who is also listed by the FDHC.

On 11J, Raudel Moreno Bergolla and his wife, Susel Álvarez Tasses, also collaborated with the political police in the violent repression, specifically in the town of San José de las Lajas, according to the FDHC. In Cruces, a municipality in Cienfuegos, Yaíma Camba Rodríguez was part of the so-called Rapid Response Brigades, civilian mobs that support the military to silence citizens who are critical of the regime. Yaíma Salomón Torres did the same, but in San Antonio de los Baños, in the Artemisa Province, where the flame of rebellion was lit. They all live in the United States today, and their victims rot in Cuban jails.

The Iranian regime collaborator Zeptiem Suárez participated in acts of repudiation — verbal altercations that involve violence — against opponents in Colón (Matanzas Province), and also arrived in the United States in 2022. Suárez, according to the FDHC, “slapped and hit” Caridad María Burunate “during an act of repudiation on April 30, 2012.” Burunate was a member of the Ladies in White, a women’s movement for the freedom of political prisoners. Today he calmly posts photos next to a pool or a van in Tampa, Florida.

Another who enjoys posting images from a democratic country is Bruce Iam González, a member of the Young Communist League, who crossed the border and settled in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2022. “A new life begins,” he typed on his social networks. He seems to want to bury his past life, to the point of deleting tweets like this: “Don’t be scared, but the heart is to the left and the blood is red, as Che Guevara said in his speech before the U.N.” That message was written by him from the island, when he was studying sociology at the Marta Abreu Central University in Las Villas. In September 2022, he supported the new “Family Code” promoted by Castroism and acted on his social networks as a troll at the service of the regime.

Another cyber-combatant who arrived in the United States was Raúl Omar Rodríguez, founder of the pro-Castro page La Ciberclaria, which conducts reputation assassinations of human rights activists. From his position in the official University Student Federation (FEU) of the Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences, he threatened other students for their political positions.

Orlando Nápoles Sánchez and Manuel Santos Rodríguez, two “informers” who monitored opponents, arrived or were preparing to arrive in the United States, according to the FDHC. Celaida Gil Villarreal, who monitored and denounced the activities of opposition member Iris Tamara Pérez in Villa Clara, now lives, presumably, in Naples, Florida, after entering the country in March 2022.

Military also leave Cuba. Daniel Alejandro Gutiérrez Cruz, former Sector Chief of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in Corralillo, was chasing those who tried to flee the island by boat along the beaches of Villa Clara. In attacks, mostly at night, he used dogs. That earned him the nickname “El Perrero.” Ironically, Gutiérrez Cruz arrived in the United States in a boat last January.

Another Sector chief, Reiner Dueñas Noda, beat up children and adults during 11J in Colón. In the United States, where he fled, he obtained a work permit in September 2022, something that is difficult for many who flee Castroism across the southern border.

Yosbel Nieves Regalado, from San Nicolás de Bari, participated in the imprisonment of two peaceful 11J protesters, whose families now suffer from empty chairs at home while the police work and walk around Miami. The FDHC also believes that María Antonia Guerrero, a member of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) in Santiago de Cuba and allegedly part of the Rapid Response Brigades, is walking through the same streets.

Spokesmen and jurists for Castroism, or white-collar repressors according to the FDHC, also crossed the southern border in 2022. Lyomaris Vara Fuentes, a prosecutor in Pinar del Río, prosecuted economist María Caridad Gálvez in 2017 for her ties to the independent think tank “Coexistence,” which resulted in the confiscation of her home and three years in jail. Vara Fuentes resides in San Antonio, Texas.

As a professor at the Universidad de Oriente, Lester Amaury Martínez was key in the expulsion of another colleague from the faculty on accusations of “mercenarism” in 2016. His wife left for the United States in mid-2022, and he after her.

Another white-collar repressor in Miami is Maray Suárez, a spokeswoman for Cuban Television that carried out reputational assassinations against dissidents such as musician Gorki Águila. She reinvented herself as an “emotional coach” and offers talks in which, conveniently, “politics, ideologies, [and] religions are not discussed.”

Read part three

** The author would like to thank the Cuban Studies Institute and Cultura Democrática for their contributions to this investigation.

Yoe Suárez is a writer, producer, and journalist, exiled from Cuba due to his investigative reporting about themes like torture, political prisoners, government black lists, cybersurveillance, and freedom of expression and conscience. He is the author of the books “Leviathan: Political Police and Socialist Terror” and “El Soplo del Demonio: Violence and Gangsterism in Havana”.

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