Oh what a (not so) tangled web we weave

Carlos Alberto Montaner

Is Carlos Montaner Really a CIA Agent? Español

Analysis by Froilán Rodriguez

Translation: Machetera

In January of this year, the well-known writer and journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner granted an interview to Edmundo García in Miami, for his program “Night Moves.”  It was an interesting exchange, in which both defended their positions, although the intellectual came out rather badly against the moves made by the communicator.  On that occasion, the leader of the Unión Liberal Cubana stated unequivocally that he had never in his life been linked to U.S. intelligence.

However, this summer, we saw a controversy arise between Montaner and an unknown Cuban academic living in Denver, named Arturo López.  This fact in itself would be of little interest were it not that for the first time, the prominent anti-Castro man (Montaner) clearly admitted his access to information that at the least was confidential, hinting at specialized services, probably those of the CIA.

Arturo López Levy with Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter

It all started when López dared to criticize Montaner’s positions in relation to Honduras, in an article that he sent to the editors of the online publication Encuentro en la Red.  The article was not well received, nor was it published, mainly due to the fact that it attacked Montaner directly at a time when he was also under attack by the daily newspaper Granma, the official publication of Cuba’s only party.

Therefore, the professor, who says he’d sent other work to Encuentro, was forced to approach an alternative: Cubanuestra, in faraway Sweden, where his article was published, and the aggrieved Montaner was immediately made aware of it, resulting in an unexpected response.  And that is when the act occurred.

Not knowing his attacker, Montaner dedicated himself to his investigation, while various people warned him about the academic’s dubious background.  They told him that he’d changed his second last name in order to penetrate the Jewish community in Cuba, as an agent recruited when he studied in Havana at the Foreign Service Institute.  The sources added that he was an officer in the Armed Forces and they did not know if the information was publicly available, but without a doubt, the FBI and the Israelis were well aware of it, as well as the fact that there was a thick file on him.

Frankly this data took me by surprise for its unusual nature.  Immediately I consulted various search engines on the Internet and only was able to find academic references that confirmed his graduation from the aforementioned Cuban institute, where he was part of the island’s diplomatic corps, but nowhere could I find any reference whatsoever to a history of espionage.  And I asked myself: where did this data come from, who gave it to him, how much were they paid, how can it be known that anyone in this world is an agent, and more than anything, how would it be known that a file existed and how large it might be?

I haven’t the least doubt that this information is only possessed by the specialized services, and because this has to do with Cuba it cannot be anyone other than the CIA.  Nor do I believe that the agency hands over such data so easily.  And it’s curious, because Montaner  has grown tired of repeating that Cuban state security has mounted a campaign to discredit him as a terrorist and CIA agent; at least that’s what he told Edmundo García on that day back in January.  But if he doesn’t work for them, how does he explain his access to such reports?

Nor should it surprise us if we pay attention to his background.  It’s said that in his youth, he was condemned for terrorism in the middle of a wave of attempts against civilian objectives, in the wake of the Castros’ triumphant revolution.  After escaping from prison he left the country with a safe-conduct pass granted by a government and immediately joined the groups organized in the United States against those in power in Cuba.

He admits having trained only as a simple soldier in Fort Jackson during the Missile Crisis.  But the media counter that in reality he was at Fort Benning, as part of a unit in the U.S. Army, preparing itself as an operative group for the CIA, and it is even said that he was with the convicted terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

On the other hand, Montaner says that he left Cuba in September of 1961, trained at the aforementioned base and in 1966 was employed as a professor of literature at a Puerto Rican university.  But he does not clarify where nor when he undertook his advanced education, what he graduated in and, most important, how he earned a living.  There’s a noticeable shadow over this stage of his life, in particular because in addition to not knowing what he did, there’s no logical explanation for how he managed to maintain himself and his family.  If to this it is added that many during that period enriched themselves through their work with the CIA, the picture becomes complete.

In 1970 he appeared in Madrid and, despite being bereft of resources, as he himself states, he founded a successful academic press to which he has dedicated himself up to the present day.  There are those who say that this new beginning in Spain was also at the hands of the CIA, which needed someone with his profile to play the game from Europe.  The truth is that his performance was appreciated, or he was a magician, or someone was generously supporting him.

The protection the magazine grants Montaner is striking.  If Granma accused Montaner of backing the Honduran putschists, Lopez’s work would have been a contribution for a public interested in knowing more about this anti-Castro foe and about his thinking.  For his part, he could have responded in a calm and reasoned way in order to clarify the concerns that are not restricted to the professor from Denver, but unfortunately, he didn’t do that.  One thing Encuentro did do was prominently feature an article by Lopez on another subject, as though to pre-empt further complaint.

But, intrigued by why this publication acted this way, I looked again on the Internet  and found that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), accused by some of being a CIA front, gave $225,000 dollars to the Asociación Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana this year, which edits Encuentro, among other things.  It’s known that historically, this group has been a recipient of funds coming from the United States, specifically from USAID and the CIA, and so this figure should be surprising to no-one.

So one thing leads to another.  Montaner works for the CIA, is attacked by an unknown person and Encuentro, which receives money from an institution fronting for the U.S. government, protects him by not publishing the attack because it’s not an opportune moment.  In fact, what remains valid is that he who controls the purse, directs the show.

Therefore, Carlos Alberto Montaner’s past and present are dubious, and although he strains to deny it, they give off the whiff of a long term undercover operation that nobody can deny.  The truth is that they ought to do a better job of hiding it, to see if they can fool anyone.

Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

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