Despite the mounting evidence of its involvement in the war in Ukraine, the Communist regime in Cuba is attempting to cover up its military intervention in the conflict and assistance to Russia.
The Cuban Regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has promoted the narrative, broadcast worldwide, that a clandestine network has trafficked hundreds of Cuban men sent to fight in Ukraine. Furthermore, it has blamed this criminal enterprise on 17 Cuban citizens for whom they have promised the most severe punishments.
They have also labelled me a terrorist for standing up, peacefully, against them. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of how tightly the totalitarian Cuban police state is run would know that it is impossible for hundreds of men to be transported to Russia without the Regime noticing it.
The Ministry’s narrative is further put in question by online video testimonies of young Cuban men who have traveled to Russia, explaining that their recruitment was overseen by Regime military officials in Cuba every step of the way. The Regime’s aggressive public relations campaign to deflect blame for their involvement is conspicuously timed, given the recent success of pro-democracy activists traveling with me to Poland and Ukraine, exposing what we believe are their very own schemes.
However, the nail in the coffin of their deflection tactics is news of Ukrainian intelligence services successfully hacking the databases of their Russian adversaries and obtaining the complete travel and cross-border entry details for the hundreds of Cubans who traveled to Russia. A summary of the video has circulated online. Can there be any further doubt as to the validity of this recent Regime media blitz?
The Cuban Communist Regime has hardly hidden its affinity or, more accurately, subordination to Moscow. The Russian government negotiated an agreement with the Belarussian Deputy Defense Minister for International Military Cooperation Valery Revenko to train Cuban troops in that country and to increase military cooperation “in a planned manner.”
In March 2023, the Regime signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation with Gen. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of Russia, for military cooperation at the international and regional levels. The meeting between Raul Castro and Patrushev focused on “threats from the West” and collaboration to counteract “color revolutions” in Cuba and Europe.
In addition, various sources have confirmed the covert military operation carried out by the Havana Regime against the Ukrainian people. On May 24, 2023, news outlets in Russia’s Ryazan region reported that “several Cubans” were already fighting in Ukraine after videos of soldiers with Cuban flags were uploaded to social media. On Sept. 5, 2023, a high-ranking Russian military official told The Moscow Times that international battalions on the frontlines in Ukraine were mainly comprised of Cubans and Serbs.
However, contrary to the Regime’s claims that those citizens had enlisted in the Russian army after they left Cuba, evidence has surfaced discrediting those claims. On Aug, 30, 2023, two 19-year-old Cuban citizens currently serving as soldiers in the Russian military recorded a viral video explaining that Cuban and Russian state intermediaries are signing contracts with Cuban citizens on the Island.
These citizens are then allowed by the Communist Regime to travel to Russia to support the military under the guise of “rebuilding cities.” Once there, if they refuse to fight in the war, they are beaten and threatened with imprisonment for 30 years in either Russia or Cuba.
The Regime’s naked participation in a war that has resulted in insurmountable death and destruction not seen in Europe since the Second World War demonstrates why it is dangerous for democracies to support and aid fledging totalitarian states. The European Union’s funding of the Havana dictatorship through the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) allows the EU to send about €155 million in financial assistance for 80 development projects in Cuba.
Similarly, the Club of Paris carries $8.5 billion in condoned debt for the Regime and patiently awaits $200 million of postponed payments. Without these funds that go directly to regime-controlled entities that do not reach the Cuban people, the Cuban dictatorship would crumble.
It is high time that Europeans and those nations funding the Club of Paris question where their taxes are going. It makes no sense to sanction and condemn the Russian Federation while subsidizing the criminal dictatorship in Havana, which provides them with military manpower for their ongoing war in Ukraine.
Dr. Orlando Gutierrez Boronat is one of the members of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, a coalition of human rights groups inside and outside Cuba that is committed to helping Cuba return to democracy after 60+ years of full-throttle socialism on the island. Gutiérrez Boronat was born in Havana in 1965.
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