The CIA in Solidarity with Cuba

A comment piece in today’s Guardian included a link to the delightfully titled blog, – a site which advocates and salivates for the death of the old dictator. There are plenty of sites like this around. Many are run by Cuban emigrés (or refugees) who – often for the right reasons – tirelessly campaign for an end to the island nation’s 40 year communist regime. Nothing new there then, you might think… and you’d be closer to the mark than you might expect.

A link on pointed to a Spanish website called Solidaridad Española con Cuba (Spanish Solidarity with Cuba), which the blogger had found linked to from the site of the right-wing Spanish daily ABC (which the author describes as ‘a great paper’). Solidaridad has the appearance of an ONG site… full of campaign information and advice for tourists who want to visit the families of political prisoners in Cuba. Obviously, the name of the site is beguiling. The left do not own the term ‘solidarity’… but it is fair to state that it’s usually used in socialist rhetoric. A right-wing site using solidarity as its name ensures that it achieves a high ranking on Google, whoever decides to search for it.

So, Solidaridad Española calls for democracy and freedom for Cuban people. I decided to find out a little more about who runs the organisation, just out of interest you see. The association’s president is one Ricardo Carreras Lario. A quick Google search on Sr. Lario finds that he is employed by a firm called The Rendon Group (TRG).

TRG defines itself as ‘an international strategic communications consultancy’ based in Boston, MA. This intrigued me. Just what does an ‘international strategic communications consultancy’ actually do? The description struck me as the sort of euphemism that lobbying firms and gun-runners use when they describe themselves as ‘corporate advocacy groups’ and ‘contingency security specialists’. And it doesn’t look like I was far off the mark. Looking into TRG’s abridged list of clients, several US government agencies feature prominently (including the Dept. of Defense, the US Air Force’s Air Intelligence Agency, the US Army, US Strategic Command… you get the picture). So some dude who runs an organisation which describes itself as a NGO also works for a company who work closely with the US military? So what?

So what is when you look further into the sort of things that TRG have done for the US government in the past. The Rendon Group is described in an award-winning piece of journalism as being run by ‘the man who sold the war’. That is to say, TRG played a significant role in ‘selling’ the Iraq war to the American public. So that’s what international strategic communications consultancy involves!

TRG’s founder, John Rendon is the guy who was given millions of dollars by the US government to try to install that notorious ass, Chalabi, as Iraqi president. He is directly implicated in the story of how a proven liar’s false claims were sold to the public as ‘reliable and significant’. He takes money from the CIA to get us to believe the right version of events… and sometimes, to make those events happen.

Now I’m no fan of Castro. Beyond the faint respect I have for a man who has successfully survived decades of attempted assassinations, invasions, blockades and universal hatred outside (and, if we trust Solidaridad, inside) his own country, I strongly disapprove of his attitude toward a free press, free speech, homosexuality and numerous other issues. At the same time, I recognise that things might have been different in Cuba if they’d been allowed to trade with their neighbours over the last few decades.

I also know enough of US-Cuba history to know that a pro-democracy ‘ONG’ run by a man who works for a firm who get huge contracts from the CIA for propaganda and regime-change operations might not be as trustworthy as it seems. As always, this issue is clouded by the number of people on either side with an interest in a certain state of affairs. I wouldn’t trust Castro to protect my freedom of speech… just as much as I wouldn’t trust a future Cuba that’s been brought about by people like Solidaridad and The Rendon Group.

15 thoughts on “The CIA in Solidarity with Cuba

  1. Since Castro’s supposedly a millionaire I bet he could Rendon and Co. to do some strategic consulting on their side. Or does the Rendon group have an ideological platform? nahh, doubt it

    amazing the stuff you can glean off the internet

  2. Ha! Well then we get into the realm of counter-conspiracy… the CIA has allegedly funded groups who supported Castro, as well as those who oppose him. I guess it’s the best situation to be in: paying all the pipers, as it were.

  3. Tom “Sherlock Holmes”, two questions that haunt me:

    1) Solidaridad Española con Cuba promotes solidarity tourism to Cuba. The CIA belongs to the US government. The official policy of the US government is that travel to Cuba only helps the Castro regime and actually the US government bans US citizens traveling to Cuba. Would it make sense that any of the branches of the US government support this Spanish NGO in contradiction with US policies???
    Are they that cracy?

    2) How can this guy run an NGO from Spain if he lives in the US and works for the company you mention???
    Google (in Spanish) is full of quotes, interviews, and a lot of staff on him. How can he do that from the US? Does he have a twin brother?

  4. It\’s all there to read (check out the links).

    If you\’re so naïve about the possibility of the CIA breaking (or bending) United States laws, especially given that supporting SECC would not contravene US law, given that it is aimed at SPANISH CITIZENS, then I\’m really not the one to help you. Oh, and you think it\’s difficult to \’run a Spanish NGO\’ and reside in the USA? This website is written in Barcelona, hosted in California and served by machines all around the world. You\’re viewing it. How hard can it be to do the same with any other website?
    On the other hand: do yo have any documentary evidence that any point I\’ve proposed is inaccurate? Do you have something to share, some special knowledge?

    Thanks for your comment though.

  5. Tom,

    This is the President of Spanish Solidarity with Cuba.
    EVERY one of the points you propose is either false or inexact.
    It is absolutely IRRESPONSIBLE of you to make those claims in your blog without proof or evidence of anything.
    The basis of your deduction are all flawed. All of it.
    You do not even get my name treatment right (you should know by now that in Spain we have two family names and the Sr. is followed by the first, not the second).
    The deduction process is also completely flawed. Even if the basis was right -which is not- the conclusion does not follow.

    AND we do aim at everyone, including US citizens, not just Spanish citizens.

    Your claim is the usual one we get from diffferent media controlled by the Cuban dictatorship. We do not usually answer to any of the rubbish they publish but I answer to your appalling comments because I think you are irresponsible but I do not think you are an agent of the Cuban political police.

    Although following your deduction process I should, because:

    1) Dictator Castro and his suporters claim that anybody that disagrees with him, including political opposition and defenders of human rights, are connected with the CIA
    2) You claim the same thing about us, because we support human solidarity with people promoting human rights in Cuba
    3) Therefore, by your deduction standards, you are an agent or on the payroll of the Cuban political police.
    Easy, isn´t it? Now if I were you, enjoying freedom of expression I would publish this on our website (which gets now 1000 visits per day) and let the world now my discovery. Wonderful, isn´t it?
    Do not worry, Tom. I am not that irresponsible.
    To struggle for human rights and to express solidarity with human beings suffering for their ideas in their own country is not easy. We face a dictatorship with powerful resources, on a day to day basis.

    It is much easier to discredit and slander a pro-human rights NGO and myself, even though you know basically very little about us or myself.

    Please respect us and yourself and show some dignity supporting people that suffer greatly for defending the kind of human rights and democracy you enjoy in Barcelona or your home country.

    And instead of sitting in your nice chair writing this kind of staff, go inside Cuba and express solidarity with those human beings, not once but several times, at your own risk, like some of us have done -something you would know with a little bit more of research.

    That would make you a better and more mature human being, and would increase your level of knowledge and awareness of the Cuban situation and your respect and admiration for those people. It may also decrease your respect for the dictator.

    Otherwise do the same thing in any other cause you believe, and let us express our solidarity with the real Cuban heroes.

  6. You should have apologized to us.
    Instead of that, you recur to insults because you are left without arguments.
    That is what impolite children do.
    You are even less mature than I thought you were.
    I will not write anything else on this blog, where the blogger insults participants.

    Those are your final and strongest arguments:
    Idiot and prick

  7. Normally, I’m far more polite… it’s just that sometimes, the mot juste can seem a little indelicate. Anyway, I never said that you were a prick, just that you sound like one. A pompous one, at that.

    For the last time, which part of what I wrote do you actually deny? You have made a pathetic attempt to use the weakest rhetoric I’ve ever witnessed as your method for avoiding the key points of my story. The last time I underwent this ordeal was when I allegedly insulted some moronic pseudo-economist who writes for that bastion of hateful slander, Libertad Digital. So I checked you out, Ricardo… and guess what? You write for them too.

    I’m not some idiot who gets scared when ‘the big boys’ come and tell me off. I have absolutely no respect for you, nor do I give a fig whether you ever visit this site again.

  8. For those of you who are interested, here’s what I managed to glean about Ricardo Carreras Lario:

    Aged 34, he lives in Arlington, Virginia (home of the CIA) and works for The Rendon Group. He also runs Solidaridad Española Con Cuba, a business which poses as a non-governmental organisation, and several ‘consulting’ firms which names like ‘Latin Analysis’ and ‘Analysis Internacional’. All of these businesses have attractive websites built with the same template.

    He contributes occasional articles to Libertad Digital, the online newsletter of the madder fringes of Spain’s far-right wing. He is the co-author of the free ‘Solidarity Tourist Guide to Cuba’.

    He was arrested and interviewed for four hours last year in Havana, something which he still complains about to this day. He loves writing press releases about himself, or about his feeble little websites.

    Ricardo Carreras Lario has no hair on his round head save for two very dark eyebrows. He doesn’t work for the CIA, but he probably wishes he did.

  9. My apologies: Arlington, VA is not the home of the CIA. Arlington is the location of the Pentagon.

    The CIA is based in Langley which is some distance away.

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