Fewer Spies in Miami Than Bullfighters in Madrid
Fewer Spies in Miami Than Bullfighters in Madrid / Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on October 22, 2015
Juan Juan Almeida, 19 October 2015 — The G2, Cuba’s domestic spy agency,
is nothing more than a fun-loving caricature of the former KGB. What is
difficult to believe is that the special services headquarters which
direct espionage operations against Cuba have shown themselves to be
even more inept.
The Cuban government neither has nor could maintain an army of spies. We
have bought into this myth. Espionage is an expensive proposition and
recruiting spies is not like planting rice. Though difficult for us to
accept, Cuban authorities are talented and treacherous enough to know
how to stoke paranoia, distrust and confusion by creating a constant and
frantic struggle for reaffirmation against “a person unknown.” This has
made us prone to isolation, some degree of lunacy and a few too many
Albert Einstein, that most international of physicists, said, “You
cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.”
Now is the time to find common ground in order to face the obstacles
that divide us. There is no point in inventing yet more informants,
those agents created for a specific task and trained for a specific
mission. We routinely label people as “agents” with dangerous and
contagious certainty. We should realize that no single nation can simply
go around recruiting and sending infiltrators out into the world like
spores in search of information.
From the enigmatic Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to a young physicist
named Klaus Fuchs, from former CIA officer Aldrich Ames to Soviet
military intelligence colonel Oleg Penkovsky, and to the legendary James
Bond, history and literature are replete with spies who have captured
our imagination. Adventurers or idealists, altruistic or greedy, heroes
or informers, the world certainly knows of spies who succeeded in
altering the course of history. But such cases are a far removed from
our all too mundane reality. The fact is there are fewer Cuban spies in
Miami than bullfighters with mustaches in Madrid.
Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, a Dutch woman known worldwide as Mata Hari,
was a famous exotic dancer, high-class prostitute and a well-known
actress who used her luxurious perch to collect information and sell it
to both the French and German intelligence services. She was caught,
tried and executed, but not — it is said — before blowing a kiss to the
firing squad. You’ve heard of Percy Alvarado*? Listen, the life of agent
Friar is more an embarrassment than a source of pride.
There was the wily and charismatic Richard Sorge, — a man with an
exquisite sense of humor — who was a Soviet spy and German national who
worked for the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB. A student of political
science, he served as a volunteer in the German army and worked as
journalist in Japan. Closer to home, the story of Antonio Guerrero — one
of the five Cubans convicted on espionage charges in the US — is more
foul than the dog mess on my shoes.
It is a profession older than prostitution, or even carpentry. The Cold
War continues to feed into our exaggerated and overly fanciful mythology
with the obvious glamour this secret activity acquired in the last
century. Perhaps that is why terminology such as “intercepting
communications,” “reading encrypted codes” and “eavesdropping” bring to
mind intrigue and stimulate the imagination.
But the G2, Cuba’s domestic spy agency, is nothing more than fun-loving
caricature of the former KGB. What is difficult to believe is that the
special services headquarters which direct espionage operations against
Cuba have shown themselves to be even more inept. It seems they relied
on informants who knew how to sell information that was full of gaping
The only way to make our dream a reality is to wake up and stop seeing
spies, informers and snitches among our next door neighbors.
*Translator’s note: A Guatemalan national who infiltrated the Cuban
American National Foundation in Miami on behalf of Cuba’s security
services. Known as “agent Friar,” he now writes a blog from Havana.
Source: Fewer Spies in Miami Than Bullfighters in Madrid / Juan Juan
Almeida | Translating Cuba –