Cuba Tasks Spy Obama Freed with Anti-Protest ‘Popular Vigilance’ Campaign

Cuban President Raul Castro (2nd L) attends a ceremony to decorate the Cuban Five as National Heroes (L to R) Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, on February 24, 2015 at Convention Palace in Havana AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUE (Photo credit should read ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP via …
ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP via Getty Images

Cuba appointed Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, a former spy imprisoned over the killing of four American citizens, to organize a new Popular Revolutionary Vigilance Detail body to improve persecution of protesters following the launch of a wave of dissidence this month, reports revealed Tuesday.

The Spanish publication Diario de Cuba noted Hernández’s “revolutionary vigilance” body would “foster denunciations” by civilians of their neighbors if suspected of disagreeing with the regime. Hernández is one of the most powerful people on the island, a member of the State Council of the Communist Party and currently the national coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) — the Castro regime’s original neighborhood spy network of civilian hubs on every block, tasked with listening in to every possible private conversation in their purview.

Prior to being tasked with leading the CDRs, Hernández spent years in the United States engaging in espionage, infiltrating the Cuban exile community and amassing intelligence on human rights groups. Hernández is one of the members of the “Cuban Five,” a group considered responsible for sharing the information that made it possible for the regime to kill four American citizen members of Brothers to the Rescue, a humanitarian aid group, in 1996.

President Barack Obama freed Hernández, the only person sent to prison over the Brothers to the Rescue murders, in 2014 as part of an exchange for U.S. government worker Alan Gross. Prior to his release, Obama’s government used American taxpayers’ dollars to smuggle Hernández’s sperm out of prison and to Cuba, where the Castro regime artificially inseminated his wife.

The Castro regime refers to Hernández as a “national hero” both for his role in the Brothers to the Rescue killings and his status symbol as a trophy from the Obama regime.

According to Diario de Cuba, citing Castro regime radio, Hernández’s new intimidation commission launched in the La Güinera neighborhood of Havana this weekend, where one of the most populous anti-communist protests took place on July 11 and the only place where the Cuban regime has admitted to killing a protester. Police revealed that they had fatally shot Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, 36, in the back during the weekend of July 11, allegedly for participating in peaceful protests. Given the deluge of videos Cubans uploaded before the regime shut down access to the internet showing police opening fire on unarmed crowds, human rights activists and experts suspect the injury and death tolls for the protests is much higher than just Tejeda.

A Cuban official reportedly described the new intimidation network as having the “mission of guaranteeing citizens’ tranquility and looking out for the maintenance of the common good.” State media reported that, in launching the new project, local residents in La Güinera “ratified their commitment to the Revolution and the defense of the achievements that benefit all Cubans” to Hernández.

Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, praised Hernández as a “hero of the Republic of Cuba” and claimed the his visit to the community resulted in wide acclaim. It also noted that Hernández participated in an “act of revolutionary affirmation” on Saturday — a mandatory mass rally in response to the protests led by “president” Miguel Díaz-Canel — offering “energetic and inspiring words” condemning any ideological deviation from communism.

“In the middle of this brutal hate campaign towards our country, he remarked, there has also been disinformation echoing the lies, calumnies, and fake news,” Granma cited Hernández as saying. “And the worst, he alerted, is that they have tried to divide us, destroy the calm of our neighborhoods, end that peace with which we have lived throughout the Revolution.”

In reality, Cubans have lived under a terror regime for 62 years. State Security regularly engages in the public beating and arbitrary arrest of known dissidents with no evidence that they present a threat to fellow citizens and in response to no acts of violence. Among the most egregious abuses is that ongoing for nearly two decades against the Ladies in White, a group of dissidents consisting of the female relatives of political prisoners arrested during the “Black Spring” terror wave of 2013. According to the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH), an NGO, the communist regime has engaged in 30,000 politically motivated arrests in the past five years. Arrests skyrocketed during the Obama era as a result of Democrat policies reinvigorating the Communist Party’s finances.

The OCDH has documented 560 forced disappearances since July 11, when protests began, nationwide. Most of those known to be missing are prominent leaders of dissident associations, including the head of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), José Daniel Ferrer. UNPACU is believed to be the largest dissident organization in the country. Human rights observers beleive the true number of those imprisoned and disappeared is likely much higher given that many protesters took the streets in remote areas of the country, are not believed to be tied to UNPACU or any other organization that could vouch for them, and as such their families do not have the same access to contact human rights groups as more prominent activists.

Last week, the Cuba-based independent outlet 14 y Medio estimated 5,000 people were arrested or disappeared during the protests.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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