A Cuban intelligence colonel invited to speak at a controversial Latin American Studies occasion Saturday mentioned that he’s now a tutorial in favor of dialogue however echoed the Cuban authorities line claiming the widespread protests that rocked the island final July resulted from a U.S.-backed plot.
Abel Enrique González Santamaría, a colonel in Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior who holds a Ph.D. in political science and is reportedly working on the Office of the Havana Historian, spoke Saturday at a web-based panel on the Latin American Studies Association’s annual congress, regardless of criticism for his inclusion.
“There is evidence that indicates that the events of 11 J in Cuba were organized by the extreme anti-Cuban right from the territory of the United States with the use of social media and especially with funds from the U.S. government,” mentioned González Santamaría.
He didn’t present proof to again up his declare. González Santamaría had beforehand defended the federal government’s response to the protests in a ebook he compiled.
The July 11 islandwide anti-government protests have been primarily peaceable, although some protesters overturned police vehicles and threw stones on the police. Videos confirmed some police and navy officers taking pictures at protesters and beating some demonstrators.
Independent organizations like Justicia 11J and Cubalex have tracked greater than 1,400 arrests related to the protests, and Cuban judges have handed down heavy sentences to a whole bunch of protesters, together with youngsters. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented a number of violations of due course of and have referred to as for the discharge of the protesters.
Other lecturers on the Saturday panel agreed that U.S. sanctions performed a task in fueling the protests however offered a distinct view of the primary elements resulting in the rebellion. They burdened the position performed by Cuba’s failed central deliberate economic system, the poorly designed financial reform, racial inequalities and the need for extra political freedoms, all behind the frustration expressed by those that took to the streets on July 11.
The Latin American Studies Association is the biggest skilled educational group finding out the area, and Santamaría’s invitation stirred criticism and requires his exclusion from the occasion.
“Maintaining the presence of this State Security officer not only endangers the other members of LASA but also shows that this organization, in the case of Cuba, prioritizes the perpetrators over the victims,” mentioned doctoral pupil José Raúl Gallego, who first referred to as consideration on social media to the difficulty.
LASA “has absolutely no shame about including a career spy and intelligence officer of Cuba,” tweeted University of Florida professor Lillian Guerra.
The session chairman, former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray, mentioned on Twitter that González Santamaría was “demobilized” from the ministry and is now MININT a tutorial.
González Santamaría didn’t reply to questions from the Herald throughout the session asking him to make clear the circumstances of his alleged departure from the ministry. Instead, he mentioned he had been a tutorial and writer for a number of years. He didn’t deal with his work with Ministry, which encompasses the police, state safety and different intelligence companies.
Alzugaray mentioned questions concerning the sentences handed to demonstrators “were not pertinent to the panel.”
LASA’s management defended González Santamaría’s participation, arguing it mirrored the group’s dedication to selling a range of concepts.
After the Herald revealed a narrative concerning the colonel’s presence on the Congress, Gerardo Otero, LASA’s present president and professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada, mentioned there was nothing out of the bizarre.
“It seems to me something completely ordinary within the plural, interdisciplinary and diverse activities of LASA that a representative of the Cuban State is included to present its position in the face of one of the most outstanding events in the island’s political life,” Otero mentioned in an e-mail. His response was later distributed to LASA’s Cuba part members in one other e-mail.
González Santamaría participated within the negotiations to revive diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba throughout the Obama administration and led high-level discussions about delicate issues such because the American fugitives of justice hiding in Cuba, each as an official of the Ministry of the Interior and member of the now dismantled Defense and National Security Commission. The fee was led by Raúl Castro’s son, Colonel Alejandro Castro Espín.
A former overseas correspondent who labored in Cuba within the late Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s mentioned he met a younger González Santamaría, who glided by “Henry,” the English model of his center title Enrique. At the time, González Santamaría was a State Security agent keeping track of overseas journalists, he mentioned.
“He struck me as very young, and I figured he was in training because he would always be accompanied by an older agent who went by the name Rangel,” mentioned the previous correspondent who requested to not be recognized.
The journalist mentioned he had a few meals with “Henry” and “Rangel” at “some dilapidated palace in Havana.” During a type of conferences, the brokers requested him if he may “help with the Americans because they told me they see me getting along and invited by the Americans. After I told them no, things changed, and I guess I became an enemy.”
This story was initially revealed May 7, 2022 5:22 PM.