Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cuban officials "bombard" USINT with calls for greater law enforcement cooperation

This 2009 cable discusses the possibility of increase cooperation with Cuba on law enforcement issues.

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09HAVANA172 2009-03-17 15:03 2010-12-16 21:09 SECRET US Interests Section Havana

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUB #0172/01 0761536
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 171536Z MAR 09
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4249
RUCOWCV/CCGDSEVEN MIAMI FL PRIORITY
INFO RUWDHDP/OBLA LOS ANGELES CA PRIORITY
RUCOWCV/MARINCEN MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USSOCOM CMD CTR MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/NAVINTELOFC GUANTANAMO BAY CU PRIORITY
RUESDM/JTLO MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COGARD INTELCOORDCEN WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

S E C R E T HAVANA 000172

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/17/2029
TAGS: SNAR PREL SMIG PGOV CU ASEC
SUBJECT: CUBAN MININT'S THOUGHTS ON TRAVEL, LAW
ENFORCEMENT, AND INTEL SHARING

Classified By: com jonathan farrar for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

¶1. (S) Summary: On 9 March 2009, the United States Coast
Guard Drug Interdiction Specialist (DIS) stationed at the
United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba (USINT)
attended a routine working meeting with Cuban Ministry of
Interior (MININT) officers, including one Cuban Border Guard
Colonel (COL) and two officers from the MININT Directorate of
International Relations (one Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) and a
Major (MAJ)). All three officers are regular DIS contacts
with whom he has met approximately thirty times since the
DIS's arrival in country in August 2008, including two
multi-day law enforcement-related excursions. Topics
discussed on 9 March included a recent marijuana wash-up in
Holguin Province, and suspected migrant smugglers currently
being detained by the Government of Cuba (GOC).

¶2. (S) On 9 March, the DIS received four requests for
information from MININT. Of note was a request on forty-five
subjects suspected of being involved in organized Cuban
migrant smuggling and currently being detained in Cuba, and a
recent marijuana wash-up on Cuba's north coast in Holguin
Province. Following the working portion of the meeting, the
DIS was asked by the MININT MAJ whether he believed the
proposed legislation in the U.S. congress that would permit
Cuban Americans to travel to Cuba more frequently would pass.
Attempting to gauge the current readiness level of the Cuban
economy for increased tourism, DIS in-turn asked the officers
whether Cuba was ready for an increased flow of American
tourists, to which the COL responded that Cuba was never
averse to Americans traveling to Cuba; rather, it was a
policy initiated and brought on by the United States, not
Cuba. The meeting ended a few moments later, and the DIS
departed the MININT protocol house.

¶3. (S) After departing, DIS, LTCOL, and MAJ initiated a
side-bar conversation and the DIS once again asked (and
clarified his earlier travel-related question) whether or not
Cuba was prepared for a significant influx of American
tourists should policy permit such a change. The MAJ was
quick to respond in the negative and pointed out that Cuban
airports were not prepared to accommodate a large influx.
The LTCOL stated that should maritime ports be utilized for
ferries or cruises, they too are not prepared or equipped to
handle an increase in passengers and the logistics that
accompany them. Both agreed that this will require a
significant amount of time to rectify. While the LTCOL
appeared optimistic that this issue was one that would be
improved, the MAJ was visibly frustrated with the issue; he
stated that Cuba has previously prepared for an increased
flow of Americans only to have the United States government
turn around and prohibit travel to the island.

¶4. (S) DIS told both officers that an increase in American
travel to Cuba would bring about a litany of issues,
including matters that will have to be handled by USINT's
American Citizen Services section as well as Cuban and US law
enforcement agencies. DIS stated that the GOC may have to
work more closely with such agencies as the Drug Enforcement
Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S.
Marshals Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Immediately following this statement, the MAJ stated, in an
agreeable fashion, that the GOC will also have to work with
the Central Intelligence Agency on matters related to
terrorism.

¶5. (S) DIS used this line of conversation as a segue to
float the idea of greater USINT Regional Security Officer
(RSO) involvement in law enforcement issues as opposed to the
DIS handling nearly all exchanges. Both MININT officers
were amenable to the idea and stated that they are willing to
work with the current USINT RSO on law enforcement-related
matters. The MAJ stated that increased law enforcement
cooperation outside the bounds of the existing MININT-DIS
relationship will inevitably push both sides into a position
where they are forced to work together on mutually-concerning
issues, thereby opening the door to other forms of
collaboration.

¶6. (S) DIS asked what it would take to setup a meeting
among MININT, DIS, and RSO, and the MAJ stated that a
diplomatic note should be sent to the Cuban Ministry of
Foreign Relations (MINREX) to request said meeting. The
side-bar concluded after approximately thirty minutes.

¶7. (S) Comment: MININT and MINREX (during Cuban migrant
repatriations) continue to bombard the DIS with statements
encouraging the United States to cooperate on matters related
to law enforcement, specifically counternarcotics and illegal
migration. Most, if not all, migrant repatriations bring the
DIS into direct contact with an official from MINREX's North
American Division. MINREX officers inevitably raise the need
for greater dialogue between the United States and Cuba, and
seem to believe that counternarcotics and migration issues
are a viable, potential conduit for increased U.S.-Cuba
collaboration. DIS believes this continued LE cooperation
message from the GOC to the DIS is part of a concerted effort
to increase dialogue with the United States via an already
established working-level relationship.

FARRAR

No comments: