Chapter 18 - Taking on Soviet-Cuban Imperialism in Latin America and Africa

the Cuban people ignorant of this campaign of international violence by systematic manipulation of information. . . . Cubans, like all peoples, yearn for the truth . . . This administration has decided to break the Cuban Government’s control of information in Cuba. It will do this by supporting establishment of Radio Broadcasting to Cuba. In Spanish, it will be called Radio Marti, after Jose Marti, the father of Cuban independence.5

National Security Planning Group (NSPG) and NSC Meetings—Fall 1981. The subject of a senior advisors meeting, NSPG 27—Caribbean on October 16, 1981 has been declassified, but the notes have not. An NSC meeting, NSC 24—Strategy Toward Cuba and Central America held on November 10, 1981, addressed Department of State and Defense Department papers on possible U.S. actions to deal with the deteriorating situation in Central America, including pressuring Cuba. The discussion focused on what early actions could be taken without committing U.S. military forces as advisors and/or in a naval role. Reagan expressed concern about the Administration’s readiness to deal with media, Congressional, and popular opinion in gaining support for action and requested further study while making clear: “I don’t want to back down. I don’t want to accept defeat.”

Soviet-Cuban Power Projection—November 1981. The comprehensive section on “Soviet Global Power Projection” from Soviet Military Power—1981 (which became an annual series of NSC-coordinated reports produced by the Department of Defense), issued in September 1981, is reviewed in Chapter 16 on Reagan’s Freedom Strategy. The report includes a map of Soviet global power projection (at pages 84–85). It lists countries and data on the significant presence of Soviet, Cuban, and East German military forces and civilian advisors abroad. In Latin America, as elsewhere around the globe, these personnel—many of them intelligence agents—were generally based in countries with active Treaties of Friendship with the Soviet Union designed to assure close cooperation in political, economic, military, and intelligence strategies.

Soviets in Cuba, Cuba Personnel Abroad. The above map shows the scale of the Soviet-Cuban operations, indicating the Soviet presence in 1981 in Cuba as 12,000 personnel, large supplies of arms, and Soviet naval and expanded air bases with the last serving advanced MiG-23 aircraft. It reveals Cuban presence abroad (enabled by Soviet transport, arms, and diplomacy) as follows: in Latin America: Nicaragua—3,200, Peru—10; in Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola—8,000, Congo—960, Ethiopia—5,900, Guinea—200, Madagascar—55, Mozambique—1,000, and Tanzania—95; in the Mideast and North Africa: Algeria—170, Iraq—2,200, Libya—3,000, North Yemen—5, South Yemen—325, Syria—210, and in Afghanistan—100. The SMP report also includes the following summary of the Soviet-Cuban connection:

There are currently approximately 35,000 Cuban military personnel in nearly 20 countries—about 20 percent of Cuba’s regular forces. . . . Soviet–blessed or inspired Cuban activities in the Caribbean and Central America are on the upswing. Cuban roles abroad include military, economic, and intelligence and security operations. . . . Havana’s capability to send military personnel overseas would be considerably reduced without massive Soviet support and sponsorship. Castro’s repeated assertion of natural alliance between the less–developed, nonaligned nations and the Soviet camp is a classic case of a proxy espousing the Soviet Union’s propaganda.6

A Department of State and USICA Report on Cuban Subversion Throughout Latin America—December 1981. A comprehensive first year Reagan Administration public diplomacy report, focused on Soviet-Cuban aggression in Latin America was prepared as a research paper by the Department of State for the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Cuba’s Renewed Support for Violence in Latin America: A Special Report by the Department of State was issued on December 14, 1981, and on the same date, for global distribution by the U.S. Information and Communications Agency (USICA) as Cuba’s Renewed Support for Violence in Latin America: A Special Report—[USICA].

Based on the best available U.S. diplomatic and intelligence information, the report presents detailed evidence of aggressive Cuban methods of ideological indoctrination, insurgency training, terrorism, and support for the pro-Communist “revolutionary armed struggle” via direct Cuban involvement as well as through front groups throughout Latin America and Africa. The report provides compelling case studies and substantial photographic and other evidence on the scale and depth of Cuban involvement, much of it covert, in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.

[Book pg. 426]