10 Questions for the Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) / Reinaldo Escobar

At the end of this morning’s TV news magazine, Buenos Dias, conspicuously absent in the official Cuban media was the issue of the North Korean ship loaded with missiles. I am absolutely certain that the coming days will produce nothing like a press conference with the Minister of the Armed Forces to respond to questions from foreign journalists accredited on the Island, not even with the accomplices of the national press. However, I would like to make public, in this small space, what my questions would be, should I be given the opportunity to present them to the minister in question face to face.

  1. Do you consider that contracting with North Korea for armaments repair services is consistent with the policy or replacing imports set out in the guidelines from the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC)?
  2. Does Cuba lack the technical facilities and personnel capable of maintaining combat readiness of the armaments available for the defense of the Homeland?
  3. To what point does the obsolescence of our munitions affect the often proclaimed military invulnerability of Cuba?
  4. What elements were taken into consideration in choosing North Korea as a destination to repair our armaments instead of contracting this service out to Russia, where they were built?
  5. Is it true that in the agreements signed by the Cuban government with the USSR there is a commitment established not to re-export the arms acquired?
  6. The note from the Foreign Ministry (MINREX) mentions that there were two complete rockets on board the North Korean ship. Were they so entirely broken that they had to be shipped in their entirety to be repaired?
  7. Is the fact that the weapons were covered with sugar an intent to mask the military cargo, or is it a new method of taking advantage of the space?
  8. To what extent does the Cuban government share the responsibility for not having informed Panama what was being transported in the holds of the ship?
  9. In the contract signed to repair these armaments in North Korea did the government of Cuba introduce any clause about the discretion, any warning, that would prevent the North Koreans from doing something else with these weapons?
  10. At what level was this high-risk operation organized? Was it your personal decision or was it known to president Raul Castro?

19 July 2013