Fidel Castro soon after taking power on Cuba started promoting Latin American guerrilla movements. Already in 1959 bands of Cuban-supported insurgents landed in Caribbean countries to spark insurgencies. Cuba’s General Directorate of Intelligence (DGI) established a special department, National Liberation, for revolutionary support. It soon grew to become the largest entity of the DGI.
On Cuba Latin American volunteers were trained in combat. The Cuban schools for subversion grew. In 1962 at least 1,000 to 1,500 Latin Americans were trained and indoctrinated. The largest group came from Venezuela, which at the time was Fidel Castro’s main target. Some courses lasted for four weeks, others up to a year.
Cuban propaganda invited the revolutionaries from other countries and told them that Cuba would pay all expenses and train them in underground organization techniques, in guerrilla warfare, in sabotage and terrorism. Then they would be provided with support to return to their home countries. Tthey would be supported by Havana and receive propaganda material for distribution. Training aids would be given for expansion of local guerrilla forces and secret communication methods would be provided. Funding and specialized demolition might be offered.
The advice for the revolutionaries when they returned was to steal military weapons from the army. To acquire funds they would have to rob banks.
Instructions had been given by Cubans before departure on how to use invisible ink in secret writing, how to use addresses and “mail boxes” to keep up contact with Havana. Communications equipment was also provided.
Later the National Liberation Department was renamed the Americas Department. In the 1970s an army of “internationalists” from Cuba would follow. Tens of thousands were sent for military intervention in Angola and Ethiopia. Large units of Cuban soldiers fought military battles in support of African Marxist revolutionary regimes. Smaller military missions were sent to Nicaragua and other countries in Central America. The goal was to establish Marxist-Leninist revolutionary regimes. Special Troops of the Cuban Ministry of the
Interior were the vanguard of these missions.
Among the “internationalists” were Cuban doctors, other medical personnel, technicians and intelligence advisors. A speciality, shared by East Germany, was to offer presidential and leadership protection in nations that were under Cuban influence. East Germany established its own “Africa Corps”.
Cuba received extensive financial support from the Soviet Union to pay for revolution and terror. Venezuela has received thousands of Cubans to support the revolutionary regime there. When the oil prices were high Venezuela provided Cuba with a lifeline after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 2015 the Obama administration took Communist Cuba out of the list of terror supporting countries. It is therefore important to remember that from 1959 to 2015 Cuba and the Soviet Union provided training and financial support for left wing revolutionaries around the world. The present Cuban leader, Raul Castro, is a general of the Cuban army who from 1959 has been deeply involved in training for terror and revolution on many continents.
Source: Castro’s Secrets by Brian Latell (2012). Dr. Latell is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami.