14ymedio, Havana, 5 September 2023 — Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday the dismantling of a human trafficking network based in Russia that recruited Cubans residing in that country and on the Island to join as mercenaries in the war in Ukraine, which the report calls a “war operation.” The information comes after weeks of speculation about an alleged recruitment sponsored by the regime to send young Cubans to fight for Russia.
“Attempts of this nature have been neutralized and criminal proceedings have been initiated against people involved in these activities,” the report indicates without giving further details.
The report emphasizes that “Cuba is not part of the military conflict in Ukraine” and acts “strongly against those who, from the national territory, participate in any form of human trafficking for the purpose of recruitment or mercenarism so that Cuban citizens make use of weapons against any country.”
The report emphasizes that “Cuba is not part of the military conflict in Ukraine” and acts “strongly against those who, from the national territory, participate in any form of human trafficking for recruitment purposes”
In addition, it says that Cuba has always been actively against mercenarism and that its position is firm and clear, as demonstrated by the “initiatives that are approved” at the United Nations.
In the document, reproduced in the official press, the Government dissociates itself from all the information that has increased recently about an alleged collaboration with Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. “Cuba’s enemies promote distorted information that seeks to tarnish the image of the country and present it as an accomplice of these actions, which we categorically reject,” it emphasizes.
Last week, two young Cubans, Alex Vegas Díaz from Santa Clara, and Andorf Velázquez García from Havana, appeared in a video published by the Cuban influencer Alain Paparazzi in which they explained in detail how they ended up in Russia without their passports, not being able to return to the Island.
The boys claimed that they had been victims of a scam and that they signed two contracts in Russian without the possibility of translating them into Spanish thinking they would leave Cuba to earn a living and help their families. The promise was a job in the reconstruction of homes and other infrastructure devastated by the war in exchange for salary, rights and citizenship, and even the ability to take their relatives to the country later.
After signing the document, they showed up at the Varadero airport and, when they arrived in Russia, they found that their task was to join a military training center to fight at the front. Both claimed to have escaped by being ill, while other Cubans are fighting on the Russian side.
The recruitment, according to family members, took place through social networks, where a Cuban woman, acting as an intermediary, assured them that they would never be in the line of fire.
The interview was dissected last Thursday on the Guerrero Cubano program broadcast on YouTube, an account at the service of the regime dedicated to “dismantling hoaxes and slander” of what it calls “haters” of Cuba
The interview was dissected last Thursday on the Guerrero Cubano program broadcast on YouTube, an account at the service of the regime dedicated to “dismantling hoaxes and slander” by the “haters” of Cuba. In the video, the interview accused different Miami media influencers of lying to spread false ideas, highlighting that the young people themselves admitted to being economic emigrants who left the Island in order to help their families, and they were deceived by people outside the Government.
Since last May, when Vladimir Putin signed a decree by which he would expressly grant Russian citizenship to individuals — and their relatives — who signed a contract for the provision of military service for a year, rumors about a possible collaboration of Havana with Moscow grew. Many then feared that the regime would end up sending its military or young people who perform compulsory military service to fight against Ukraine, something that did not seem to materialize. But doubts about shadow recruitment have not stopped circulating on social networks.
The Cuban government supports Russia in the invasion of Ukraine and has deployed a wide propaganda campaign in its media aimed at installing the idea that there is a Nazi regime in Kiev supported by NATO with the aim of encircling Russia, which Putin is fighting in self-defense. In most of the resolutions against the war at the United Nations, Cuba has abstained or even voted against some actions, such as when member states were asked if Volodimir Zelensky could attend by videoconference at the General Assembly.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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