Posted on Friday, 10.18.13
Cuban dissidents plant a hoax to trap government spies
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Cuban blogger Ernesto Vera Rodriguez thought he had a scoop: Exiles in
Miami had cut off funds to the island's most active opposition group in
recent months, the Cuban Patriotic Union, UNPACU.
But the report was a fake, concocted by UNPACU leaders in a rare effort
to unmask government agents infiltrated into the ranks of the
opposition. And Vera, who claims to be a dissident, was the first to
publish it. But he insists that he has no connection with State Security.
"It was a hook, to see who would bite," said Luis Enrique Ferrer,
UNPACU's Miami representative and brother of José Daniel Ferrer, who
heads the opposition group from his home in the eastern Cuban town of
Palmarito de Cauto.
More importantly, Luis Enrique Ferrer added, the fishing expedition was
also an attempt to hit back at State Security, the branch of the
Interior Ministry that monitors, harasses, intimidates and arrests
State Security agents have repeatedly infiltrated and at times even
created opposition groups to disrupt their plans, embarrass their
leaders and sow mistrust.
Infiltrators "cause more damage within the opposition than even the
active repression," said Luis Enrique Ferrer. "They are more damaging
because they create mistrust and discredit the opposition inside the
The Ferrer brothers' scam was revealed Friday by Cuban journalist Michel
Suarez in Diario de Cuba (Cuba Diary), a Web page based in Spain.
El Nuevo Herald spoke to the people involved and confirmed the details
in Suarez's story.
Luis Enrique Ferrer told El Nuevo that he and his brother arranged the
sting using secret email accounts and a code they developed when they
were held in separate prisons from 2003 to 2010.
Then in mid-September they talked about the fake report over a telephone
line. It went like this: The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF)
had stopped its financial support for UNPACU in favor of the dissident
Ladies in White.
They were certain that State Security agents would listen in on all of
About three days later, on Sept. 17, Vera posted the report on his
eponymous blog. "It is not a rumor; it is not a joke. This information
was confirmed by various people, all of them human rights activists with
access to CANF leaders," he wrote.
Vera, who lives in Santiago de Cuba, near Palmarito de Cauto, insists he
obtained his "completely true" report from "reliable sources."
"I don't have any type of link with State Security," he told El Nuevo
Herald Friday by phone from Cuba.
At the same time Vera published his "scoop," State Security Maj. Luis
Plutín, in charge of the Santiago region, began telling area dissidents
that CANF would no longer provide them with assistance, said José Daniel
Omar Lopez Montenegro, who handles human rights issues for CANF, said
there was no truth at all to Vera's report. "He got that information
from the intelligence services of Cuba," Lopez said. "The assistance is
The Ferrers were not surprised that Vera, a lawyer in his early 30s, bit
on their bait because they have denounced him as an infiltrator many
times over the past year or so.
Although he sometimes criticizes the government, the vast majority of
Vera's blog posts attack UNPACU, José Daniel Ferrer and the Ladies in White.
Luis Enrique Ferrer also noted there were others who echoed Vero's report.
Percy Alvarado Godoy, confirmed by the Cuban government as an
intelligence agent who infiltrated CANF in the 1990s, wrote in his blog
on Sept. 20 that Vero's report showed the "terrorist" CANF had broken
with the "delinquent" José Daniel Ferrer.
In Miami, Edmundo Garcia, who runs the pro-Castro blog La Tarde se Mueve
(The Afternoon Moves) also repeated the Vera report. So did Aldo
Rosado-Tuero, of the blog Nueva Accion (New Action). He is a harsh
critic of both the Cuban government and dissidents.
"It was like they were in the same orchestra, playing the same rhythm,"
said Luis Enrique Ferrer.
UNPACU, currently the most visible and pugnacious of Cuba's dissident
movements, has been targeted for several destabilization efforts by
government agents in recent months.
Sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2003, José Daniel Ferrer was freed in
2011 following talks between Cuban President Raúl Castro and Cardinal
Jaime Ortega. While most of the more than 100 other political prisoners
freed at that time, including his brother, went directly from prison to
exile in Spain, Ferrer stayed in Cuba and founded UNPACU.
Source: "Cuban dissidents plant a hoax to trap government spies - Cuba -