Since taking power in 1959, the communist Castro dictatorship has been running like an international criminal enterprise, including narcotics trafficking and arms sales. It makes no sense for U.S. law enforcement to “cooperate” with this rogue regime, unless, of course, the goal is to hide their criminal activity.
Is cooperation between Havana and Washington resulting in the US turning a blind eye to the Castro regime’s crimes?
On August 10, 2023 Andrea Mitchell reported on MSNBC News about cooperation between Cuba and the United States in combating drug trafficking. This CubaBrief will address what was left out, and provide some context.
“In May more than 750 LBS of Marijuana were seized during a joint maritime anti-drug operation between the U.S. Coastguard and Cuban border patrol. The drug traffickers were captured and their boat was sunk. NBC News also got exclusive access to witness Cuban and US officials overseeing the burning of the drugs in a huge melting pot inside a steel plant. Showcasing that despite a lot of differences between the two countries, Cuba and the United States are cooperating when it comes to stopping the flow of drugs.”
Two U.S. officials attending the destruction of the drug shipment were Jon Carter Bass, head of security at the US Embassy in Havana and Alejandro Collazo, US Coastguard liaison officer at the US Embassy in Havana. Mr. Carter Bass offered the following reasoning for this joint effort.
“Essentially when it is a shared national security interest and If it’s an area that is under the U.S. national security interest, then of course we want communication and cooperation. We want communication and cooperation in areas that also fit within the U.S. national security interest.”
This word salad ignores 63 years of Cuban government involvement in drug trafficking to the United States.
Officer Collazo outlined areas where Havana and Washington are collaborating. “We have more than one cooperative agreement with Cuba. We have been working on what we call maritime environmental response. We’ve been working on maritime law enforcement. We have been working on search and rescue. I do believe that these bilateral agreements should be expanded into something that is more regional.”
Setting aside the work on “maritime environmental response”, what are the results of the United States working on “maritime law enforcement” and “search and rescue.” The desire to engage for engagement’s sake has a long and sordid history in and out of Cuba.
Watching these two U.S. officials on the August 10, 2023 MSNBC news report praise cooperating with Havana on drug interdiction is reminiscent of the times when John C. Lawn, DEA administrator on May 27, 1987 praised Manuel Noriega “for his ‘personal commitment’ to a drug investigation known as Operation Pisces. ”I look forward to our continued efforts together,” Mr. Lawn said in the same letter. ”Drug traffickers around the world are now on notice that the proceeds and profits of their illegal ventures are not welcome in Panama.”
But in the Cuban case it may be even more sinister.
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