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Castro's Axis Dominates 223 Million
by Dr. Constantine Menges
There is a growing but unnoticed threat to U.S. national security. A new terrorist, nuclear/bioweapons and geopolitical threat may well come from an axis including the regimes of Fidel Castro in Cuba, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and the pro-Castro presidents of Brazil and Ecuador.
Together, these four countries have a population of 223 million.
Castro, Chavez and Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva all have years of links with Iran and China. Visiting Iran in May 2001, Castro said, “The peoples and governments of Cuba and Iran can bring America to its knees.”
Chavez also visited Iran in 2001, where he declared a “strategic alliance” with that sponsor of terrorism.
Since 1990, Lula da Silva has chaired the Forum of Sao Paulo, a Castro-initiated international group that has convened all the communist and terrorist organizations of Latin America and many terrorists from the Middle East and Europe, as well as representatives from Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Vietnam and China.
The new pro-Castro axis could expand to include more than nine countries with 340 million people. There is also the possibility that thousands of Islamic and newly indoctrinated regional terrorists could try to attack the United States from Latin America.
Combining the strategic experience of communist Cuba and its Soviet-provided bioweapons technology with the oil-derived financial resources of Venezuela and the long-established nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs of Brazil could mean that the pro-Castro axis might be able to threaten its neighbors and the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.
Also, communist China has established close political and military relations with Cuba (1999) and Venezuela (2000). It is flying two reconnaissance satellites with Brazil, and Lula da Silva has announced his plan to greatly expand Brazil’s relations with China. The pro-Castro axis could soon be geopolitically aligned with and militarily helped by communist China.
The Castro regime in Cuba has been using political means as well as covert action, terrorism and insurgency to bring anti-U.S., radical regimes to power in the Western Hemisphere and other regions since 1959.
In 2002, a high-level defector from Cuban intelligence wrote that “Cuba’s espionage apparatus (the DGI), one of the largest and most efficient on the planet, with more than 10,000 spies, has been active on a global scale. The DGI rapidly [learned] … undercover operations …, cryptography, falsification of documents, training of operatives, theft of secret information, [establishment of] illegal centers, the penetration of governments and armed forces, disinformation, assassination of political figures. …”
Furthermore, Cuba trained more than 30,000 terrorists from various continents, of which 10,000 were from Latin America, the rest being operatives from the Middle East and Europe.
Castro’s terrorist/insurgent methods mostly failed in Latin America, except in Colombia, where the threat from the communist insurgency continues and has increased.
However, the 10,000 DGI personnel and many of the 30,000 Cuban-trained terrorists provide the cadre for Castro’s new strategy: helping radical political leaders friendly to him take control of their countries by winning national elections in which they present themselves as “populists” opposed to corruption, while concealing their ultimate purposes.
Dr. Constantine Menges served as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and at the CIA as a National Intelligence Officer.