General Intelligence Directorate

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The Cuban General Intelligence Directorate (Dirección General de Inteligencia), or DGI, is the main state intelligence agency of the Cuban government. The DGI was founded in late 1961 by the Cuban Ministry of the Interior shortly after the revolutionaries took power in 1959. The DGI is responsible for all foreign intelligence collection and comprises six divisions divided into two categories, which are the Operational Divisions and the Support Divisions. Manuel "Redbeard" Piñeiro was the first director of the DGI in 1961 and his term lasted until 1964. The current head of the DGI is General Eduardo Delgado Rodriguez.


[edit] Organizational makeup

The operational divisions comprise the following sections: The Political/Economic Intelligence Division is responsible for intelligence gathering on political figures unfriendly to the Cuban government and the foreign economic data and divided into 4 subsections:

The support divisions comprise the following sections:

  • Technical Support Division: responsible for communications and falsified documentation in support of clandestine operatives
  • Information Division: Raw intelligence gathering
  • Preparation Division: Intelligence analysis

[edit] KGB relationship

The relationship between the Soviet Union KGB and the Cuban DGI is complex and marked by times of extremely close cooperation and times of extreme competition. The Soviet Union saw the new revolutionary government in Cuba as excellent proxy agent in areas of the world where Soviet involvement was not popular on a local level. Nikolai Leninov, the KGB Chief in Mexico City, was one of the first Soviet officials to recognize Castro's potential as a revolutionary and urged the Soviet Union to strengthen ties with the new Cuban leader. Moscow saw Cuba as having far more appeal with new revolutionary movements, western intellectuals, and members of the New Left with Cuba's perceived David and Goliath Struggle against American Imperialism. Shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963, Moscow invited 1,500 DGI agents, including Che Guevara, to the KGB's Moscow Center for an intensive training in intelligence operations.

Dismayed by Cuban debacles in Zaire and Bolivia as well as a perceived growing independence from Moscow, the Soviets sought a more active role in shaping the DGI. In 1970 a team of KGB advisors led by General Viktor Semyonov was sent to the DGI to purge it of officers and agents considered anti-Soviet by the KGB. Manuel Piñeiro, becoming increasingly upset at the co-optation of the DGI by the Soviets, was removed during the 1970 purge and replaced with the pro-Soviet José Méndez Cominches as head of the DGI. Semyonov also took this opportunity to oversee a rapid expansion of the DGI's western operations. By 1971, 70% of the Cuban diplomats in London were actually DGI agents and proved invaluable to Moscow after the British government's mass expulsion of Soviet intelligence officers.

In 1962 the Soviet Union opened its largest foreign SIGINT (signal intelligence) site in Lourdes Cuba, approximately 30 miles (50 km) outside of Havana. The Lourdes facility is reported to cover a 28 square mile (73 km²) area with 1,000-1,500 Soviet and then Russian engineers, technicians, and military personnel working at the base. Those familiar with the Lourdes facility have confirmed that the base has multiple groups of tracking dishes and its own satellite system, with some groups used to intercept telephone calls, faxes, and computer communications, in general, and with other groups used to cover targeted telephones and devices. [1]

The Soviets also collaborated with the DGI to assist CIA defector Philip Agee in the publication of the Covert Action Information Bulletin. Funding for the bulletin came from the KGB, while the DGI ghost wrote many of the articles.

[edit] Operations abroad

Throughout its 40-year history the DGI has been actively involved in aiding revolutionary movements primarily in Central America, South America, Africa and the Middle East. There have also been allegations that Cuban DGI agents interrogated and tortured US POW's captured in Vietnam and held at the infamous Cu Loc (more commonly referred to as the Hanoi Hilton) POW camp in North Vietnam.

[edit] Chile

Shortly after the election of Salvador Allende in 1971, the DGI worked extremely closely to strengthen Allende's position. The Cuban DGI station chief Luis de Ona even married Salvador Allende's daughter Beatrice. The DGI organized an international brigade that organized and coordinated the actions of thousands foreign leftist that had moved into Chile shortly after Allende's election. These individuals ranged from Cuban DGI agents, who were in charge of reorganizing Allende's security services, Soviet, Czech and North Korean military instructors and arms suppliers, to hard-line Spanish and Portuguese Communist Party members.

[edit] Grenada

Shortly after a bloodless coup in Grenada, led by Maurice Bishop, the Cuban DGI sent advisors to the Island nation to assist Maurice Bishop. The DGI was also instrumental in convincing the Soviet Union to aid the island nation, aid which Grenadian General Hudson Austin called essential to the success of the Caribbean anti-imperialist movement. The DGI coordinated 780 Cuban soldiers, engineers, and intelligence operatives.

[edit] Nicaragua

Beginning in 1967 the DGI had begun to establish ties with various Nicaraguan revolutionary organizations. The Soviets were upset at what they saw as Cuba upstaging the KGB in Nicaragua. By 1970 the DGI had managed to train hundreds of Sandinistan guerilla leaders and had vast influence over the organization. In 1969 the DGI had financed and organized an operation to free the jailed Sandinistan leader Carlos Fonseca from his prison in Costa Rica. Fonseca was captured shortly after the jail break, but after a plane carrying executives from the United Fruit Company was hijacked by the FSLN, he was freed and allowed to travel to Cuba.

DGI chief Manuel Piñeiro commented that "of all the countries in Latin America, the most active work being carried out by us is in Nicaragua".

The DGI, with Fidel Castro's personal blessing, also collaborated with the FSLN on the botched assassination attempt of Turner Shelton, the American ambassador in Managua and a close friend to the Somoza family. The FSLN managed to secure several hostages exchanging them for safe passage to Cuba and a one million dollar ransom. After the successful ousting of Anastasio Somoza, DGI involvement in the new Sandinistan government expanded rapidly. An early indication of the central role that the DGI would play in the Cuban-Nicaraguan relationship a meeting in Havana on July 27, 1979, at which diplomatic ties between the two countries were re-established after over 25 year. Julián López Díaz, a prominent DGI agent, was named Ambassador to Nicaragua. Cuban military and DGI advisors initially brought in during the Sandinistan insurgency, would swell to over 2,500 and operated at all levels of the new Nicaraguan government. Sandinista defector Alvaro Baldizón confirmed that Cuban influence in Nicaragua's Interior Ministry (MINT) was more extensive that was widely believed at the time and Cuban "advice" and "observations" were treated as though they were orders.

[edit] Puerto Rico

With the popular demise of U.S. radicals supported by the DGI, like the Weather Underground and Black Panthers, [citation needed] the DGI sought to aid the growing Puerto Rican separatist movement. Dr. Daniel James testified before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee that the DGI, working through Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, organized and trained the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) in 1974. In October 1974, Ríos was arrested and charged with terrorist acts against American hotels in Puerto Rico. Authorities found a substantial amount of Cuban government documents and secret codes in his possession. Shortly after his release on bail he disappeared but was credited with the 1979 unification of Puerto Rico's five principal terrorist groups into the Cuban-directed National Revolutionary Command (CRN).

According to the former chief investigator of the U.S. Senate, Alfonso Tarabochia, the DGI began directing criminal activities in Puerto Rico and the eastern and midwestern United States as early as 1974. That June, the secretary general of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party, Juan Marí Bras, met in Havana with Fidel Castro to consolidate party solidarity.

Beginning in September 1974, the incidence of bombings by Puerto Rican extremists, particularly the FALN, escalated sharply. Targets included U.S. companies and public places. The FALN was responsible for a bombing that killed four and wounded dozens at the historic Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan on January 25, 1975. Later that year, Fidel Castro sponsored the First World Solidarity Conference for the Independence of Puerto Rico in Havana.

Ríos died in a shoot out with the FBI on Friday, September 23, 2005 in a rural village in the town of Hormiueros, Puerto Rico.

[edit] Camp Mantanzas (AKA "Punto Zero" or Point Zero)

Camp Mantanzas is a training facility operated by the DGI and is located outside Havana since early 1962. Famous because of their "Vietnamese tactics training". Many notorious groups and individuals have received or provided training to various revolutionary movements through out the world. Some of these include:

Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (Carlos the Jackal), is said to have spent two summers here at the request of his father.

[edit] External links

[edit] See also

General Intelligence Directorate

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