A Cuban lawyer and purported member of the country’s opposition movement admitted that he was actually an infiltrator working for the communist government’s State Security agency to sow discord between dissident groups on the island.
The 34-year old Ernesto Vera admitted to El Nuevo Herald by phone Wednesday from his home in the eastern city of Santiago that he had worked for Cuban State Security for years to destabilize the island’s two largest dissident groups, the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) and the Ladies in White.
His confession not only sheds light on the methods the Castro regime takes to break apart opposition movements but also the widespread nature of the practice, as Vera mentioned five other Cubans who he believes could be working with the government.
“I am ashamed to say I was a coward,” he told El Nuevo Herald. “All of my attacks on José Daniel Ferrer [the leader of UNPACU] and the Ladies in White were ordered by State Security…to discredit the dissidents and lessen the impact of the repression when it came.”
Vera said State Security agents posing as dissidents began the slow and nefarious process of recruiting him shortly he was fired as a law professor at a Santiago school. The agents supposedly videotaped the conversations and used them to blackmail Vera. He also claims that they threatened to kill his mother if he didn’t cooperate.
While working as a government infiltrator, Vera accused Ferrer of stealing money sent by supporters abroad, and he was also responsible for causing a large schism within the Ladies in White.
He was also purportedly paid several thousand dollars over a four-year period to send columns and information to Miami-based dissident Aldo Rosado Tuero to publish on his blog.
When asked about it, Rosado Tuero said he was not a Cuban agent and accused Vera of joining with Cuban State Security to attack him.
Vera, who had slowly been distancing himself from Cuban State Security amid bouts of depression, finally decided to make a full break by delivering an open letter to the Venezuelan embassy in Havana following the crackdown on protesters by the government of President Nicolás Maduro that left at least 40 people dead.
“For four years my life has been a constant suffering,” he said in the letter, published by UNPACU. “I should have been brave, should have confronted the repression in all its harshness. But I lacked the fuel that heroes have in surplus.”
Vera added that he fears retaliation against himself and his family for opening up about his infiltrator role with State Security.
“I hold the Castro regime responsible for anything that could happen to my family,” he wrote.