Havana – Relations between U.S. and Cuba are gradually being restored after years of estrangement, all due to the efforts of President Barack Obama. Yet, many are questioning the motives of Cuba given that confidence hasn’t been fully restored.
After a memo of presidential directives issued on October 14 has been revealed, many congressmen are afraid the Cuban authorities would reveal critical information to the Iranian regime.
President Obama issued a statement on the presidential policy directives on Cuba which stated that: “The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) will support broader United States Government efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, with Intelligence Community elements working to find opportunities for engagement on areas of common interest through which we could exchange information on mutual threats with Cuban counterparts.”
“Washington Free Beacon” website reported several lawmakers warning that Intel sharing with Cuba endangers America and benefits Iran.
“The Castro regime has shown no inclination to end its anti-American activities, including espionage,” Republican Senator of Florida Mario Diaz-Balart told the Free Beacon. “The Castro regime in August and September 2016 deepened ties with Iran through high level visits, and there are reports that Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah has established a base in Cuba.”
“The director of national intelligence, General James R. Clapper, testified in February 2016 that the Castro dictatorship remained an espionage threat at the level of Iran, behind only China and Russia,” Diaz-Balart added.
The senator described President Obama’s directive to encourage intelligence sharing with Cuba as “reckless, dangerous, and contrary to U.S. national security interests.”
Political analysts pointed out that Iran has been interested in Latin America for years and has a footprint in the region due to Hezbollah’s presence.
Congressional sources said that Obama administration’s move to share intelligence with Cuba is likely to be celebrated by Iran.
National security adviser for Senator Ted Cruz, Victoria Coates said President Obama’s instruction to DNI Clapper to look for ways to cooperate with Cuba on intelligence issues poses an unconscionable threat to the security of the American people.
“The administration tried to bury it under enthusiasm for easing restrictions on the rum and cigars American tourists can buy from Fidel and Raul Castro, but the reality is the Castros are aggressively pursuing a closer relationship with Iran, the mullahs just refinanced Cuba’s debt with the assets they got from the president’s nuclear deal, and Cuba’s close ally, Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro, visited Iran this week,” Coates said.
Iran’s interest in Cuba became clear over the past few years during exchanged visits between Iranian and Cuban officials. Earlier this year Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif went on a goodwill tour throughout Latin America that included stops in Cuba and Venezuela, among others.