Putin Uses Cuba in His ‘Political Blackmail’ With the United States, Warns Former Cuban General Rafael Del Pino

Russian ship ’Perekop’, whose arrival is scheduled for this Tuesday at the port of Havana. (Wikimedia Commons).

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 10 July 2023 — The arrival at the port of Havana of the Russian military ship Perekov, scheduled for this Tuesday, hides other interests beyond the sending of humanitarian aid, warns Cuba Siglo 21. According to a dossier made public on Monday by the organization, based in Madrid, and signed by former Cuban General Rafael del Pino, exiled in the United States, the visit of the ship, with 500 cadets on board, is a first step in a new strategy to test Washington.

The document is entitled “Cuba 2023: Are we Sacrificing Ourselves for Putin?” In it, del Pino says the objective is “to establish a constant flow of trips to Cuba by air and naval ships with conventional and nuclear coup capacity that will serve Putin to obtain concessions in a theatrical game of political blackmail in which he assumes the role of ’irrational actor’.”

For this, Cuba Siglo 21 states, “The massive mobilization of the resources of 1962 is not necessary, but instead there will be the continuous presence in Cuba of at least one ship with the capacity to launch a limited nuclear attack that could cause intolerable damage.”

The NGO considers that the probability of this hypothesis becoming a reality “grows directly in proportion to Putin’s military defeats in Ukraine.”

The Cuban “oligarchs” of the Business Administration Group (Gaesa), says del Pino, “seek to accelerate – in the current context of their alliance with Putin – the strengthening of the Electronic Radio Exploration Brigade (BERE) of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DIM)” of the Armed Forces “through the improvement of their teams and collaboration with Russian and Chinese advisers.

In return, Havana would allow the presence of Russian ships in its waters, with humanitarian and economic excuses. “The Kremlin could be tempted to play the role of an irrational Bin Laden sitting at the gates of the United States wearing a suicide vest with nuclear explosives. The vest is not enough to liquidate your opponent, but it is enough to inflict significant damage if they do not grant you what you request,” del Pino explains as a metaphor.

It’s a strategy, documents the former general, which recalls the one suggested in 1982 by Raúl Castro, then Minister of the Armed Forces, to Yuri Andropov. “We think that perhaps visits from some Soviet naval detachments, such as the one in Cuba at the moment, will help us,” Castro wrote to the then Soviet president in the face of a possible aggression by the United States.

The letter, referred to in an Appendix in the document, continues: “If possible, we carry out a joint maneuver. We didn’t publish it, but the enemy finds out. More often. In short, their ships are all over the world, including Cuba. We do not violate any international law or principle, any international norm. And I think that visits from high-level military delegations help that, such as the one made by Comrade Orgavok, Chief of the General Staff, or, more importantly, like the one made by the comrade and friend, Minister of Defense of the USSR, Marshal of the Soviet Union D. F. Ustinov. This type of visit, I think, would have a great political and security connotation for our country.”

The report also includes Andropov’s response: “Comrade Raúl Castro, I will start with the most unpleasant and most important part of a communication that both you and we have to always keep in mind. We can’t fight in Cuba. Simply because you are 12,000 kilometers away from us […] Go there to get our faces broken? No!”

In the same vein as a previous report, published last March, in which he warned of the dangers of a possible military alliance between the Island and Russia, del Pino points out that “there is an invariable pattern of behavior: Moscow uses Cuba as a token of exchange to pressure the United States in favor of its own interests, and then abandons it if it stumbles into an intransigent posture towards Washington.

Therefore, he asks the United States to “decisively and energetically prevent Cuba’s military and intelligence alliance with Russia and China from becoming more dangerous and intolerable.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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