Agent 000

The saga of undercover agents, of moles within the ranks of opposition groups, far from alarming me, made me yawn. When they show one of those “heroes” on official television, I feel like I’m watching a fictional serial, where the characters are actors, the script has been written by someone with literary talent, and the scenes were filmed over and over until they seemed convincing. The strategy of the secret police has been overly exploited on our small Cuban screens, too common a part of our Cuban reality. The idea is to make us believe that any friend, family member or even our own children could be some kind of Mata Hari, ready to make a case against us; to convert distrust into a paralyzing element.

I met Carlos Serpa Maceira once when he came to my house because he wanted to open a blog, and wanted me to help him in the endeavor. He happened to tell Reinaldo and me that he had studied in the Journalism school at the beginning of the 1990s. We asked him about some of our friends who had studied the same specialty in those years and were met by painful confusion. He didn’t know a single one of the names we mentioned. When he left, my husband and I remarked on the poor devil who had invented a university diploma. I confess that I didn’t associate him with State Security, but I labeled him with one of the strongest adjectives I utilize for individuals: pathological liar.

Two years later, last Saturday, I received a brief text message from Serpa Macier. In just 90 characters with four misspellings, he said he needed to see me urgently, or to call him. I did neither. It was a final ploy, desperate bait to be able to record a conversation with me which probably would have been on the program that aired last night. His face on the television was not a surprise, his delight in how he spied on the Ladies in White and independent journalist seemed pathetic. As the credits rolled on the serial, I sent a brief message to his mobile: “Rome pays the traitors, but it despises them.”

I wanted to say more, but he has enough already, what with the contempt he receives from his own Caesar, that institution for which he worked considers him nothing more than another “snitch.”

Translator’s note: The Cubavision TV show aired on 26 Feb 2011 — “Pawns of the Empire” — can be seen in two parts, with English subtitles, at the end of this post here.


81 thoughts on “Agent 000

  1. Eric Jarvies,

    I can’t speak for anyone else and I will not be as reasonable as our friend Love was in his response to what I can charitably describe as a trip down Alice’s rabbit hole. After reading your “biography” I am left wondering is this guy a totally clueless fool or does he belong to that club who’s members often visit our little part of the world to regurgitate their communist, pro-castro, anti-american hysteria.

    Let’s address both possibilities. we’ll assume for a moment that you fall into category one. My first question to you would be are you such a simple minded fool that you would post anti-American, pro-communist, pro-castro disinformation on a blog where a good part of the contributors are Cubans themselves with a direct pipeline to today’s Cuba? In addition a good number of those Cuban contributors are also citizens/residents of the United States. As I said previously, I can only speak to my own experience. My parents brought me to the US when I was just a young boy. We had nothing when we came here from Cuba, just the stuff we could carry in a few suitcases. We were received openly as have millions of other immigrants from every corner of this planet. I was educated in the US and have made a life in the US, a very successful life, as did my parents who are now retired and living comfortably. Our story is a common one, we are not exceptional. There are thousands upon thousands of Cuban-Americans that have had lived similar lives. Your skewed vision of the US and the realities in Cuba are so far off the mark that you have no credibility. I only entertain the thought that you are some misguided, gullible fool because I know many Americans like you. You take for granted what you have in your own nation, and demonize it because you have been infected with left-wing/communist ideology, a defeated and bankrupt ideology that benefits no one. An ideology that you defend and that has only succeeded in destroying nations and murdering untold millions. My suggestion to fools like you who believe this upside-down view of the world is to not waste a minute, pack your bags and head for Cuba, or better yet North Korea. I presume that your own family must be wondering where they went wrong, you need help Eric.

    The second possibility is of course that you are a cynical tool for the castros. A garden variety liar tasked like many before you to participate in the regimes “cyberwar”, another mercenary spreading rotten apple seeds. Your game is to spread propaganda and misinformation, a game that is doomed to failure in the age of Facebook, Twitter and yes, satellite phones. In today’s world of instant communication and access to a myriad of sources it is no longer possible to present old fairy tales as reality.

  2. Eric, just to add, after my comments, I checked murder and homicide rates around the world. Cuba’s homicide rate is higher than the USA’s and many other Latin American countries, and their suicide rate is higher than every other Latin American country I checked. And these are UN figures, so the real unreported rates for Cuba might even be worse.
    You see, even a skeptic like me keeps getting fooled by Cuban propaganda. I suggest you move into an average Cuban home for a few months to learn more.

  3. Hi Eric Jarvies,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Before a Cuban responds and insults you, which would be understandable if you knew the suffering some of them have gone through, let me respond in a friendly tone. Understand that I too am disgusted with the corruption of the world around me and wish Cuba was that paradise you think it is. But I’ve been to Cuba many times, and know many Cubans very well, so that’s where we’ll start, and nothing I’m telling you is an exaggeration:

    1) Unlike you, I can’t leave my name here for fear that some of those Cubans I know very well will suffer the consequences. That’s how much Cuba is a prison compared to the USA. As for the real US prison system, I know Cubans who would immigrate to the USA even if they had to spend their first ten years in a USA jail. Some Cubans are so wretched they would immigrate to the USA even if they had to spend a life-sentence in the US prison system.

    2) I’ll just go over your last comments. No one knows the Cuban murder rate, because the government doesn’t publish real statistics and the press isn’t allow to publicize murders. It is much more dangerous than you think, but I feel much safer than Mexico, and that is the only idea you have about Cuba that is partially true. They also have a low rate of illiteracy, but again, it’s not as good as you think, and most other “capitalist” countries have low rates too.

    Now: Cuba has extremely high rates of prostitution, theft, fraud, and of course, stress. Everybody in Cuba breaks the law because they can’t do otherwise. Almost anyone with a job goes to work only to steal, that’s how they survive. If you follow the news, you know that patients in a Cuban psychiatric hospital starved/froze to death because medical staff stole all their food, clothes, covers. This is normal in Cuba, it’s a very predatory society. And the only reason the government admitted this case, is because some brave dissidents leaked it to the world.
    We’ve been defrauded on every visit, that’s another way Cubans survive, robbing/defrauding tourists, and then robbing/cheating each other. And many Cubans have the stress that comes from spending up to 12 hours (I’m not joking) to get to their workplace, when it would take you or me an hour. Or of having no food to give your child or sick parents. Or of being homeless. I’ve seen it all. AIDS rates are the same as Haiti or any country where there are hundreds of thousands of prostitutes having unprotected sex with tourists. If you knew the Cuban system, you would know that AIDS statistics are just another of the many statistics no Cuban believes. This stuff is aimed at gullible foreigners.

    The other way Cubans survive is through billions of dollars brought to Cuba by their capitalist families and capitalist tourists, so they have a very good idea of how good life is in what you call a “prison”. I agree we live in a highly flawed society, but we have to face reality that in Cuba the grass is much less green. And I know you think our elections and freedom of the press are a joke, and I often agree, but Cubans have no elections and no freedom of the press and no right to peaceful assembly and no right to criticize their government… and that’s no joke.

    All the best from Love Cuba

  4. Yoani,

    Does Cuba have a high rate of Murder?
    Does Cuba have a high rate of Prostitution?
    Does Cuba have a high rate of Theft?
    Does Cuba have a high rate of Fraud?
    Does Cuba have a high of illiteracy?
    Does Cuba have a high rate of AIDS or other sexually transmitted deseases?
    Does Cuba have a high rate of Stress or Stress related disorders?

    Eric Jarvies

  5. Yoani,

    I was born American, and grew up in America(New Mexico, California). I left the United States 15 years ago, and have travelled to many counties around the World, and currently reside in Mexico. I met my wife in Mexico(she is also from the US… from Washington State), and we have 3 children together, born Mexican, and proud their of it. I have 2 older children from a previous marriage, who were born in the US and still reside there. I left America because I was fed-up with it’s government and disheartened by it’s national society and regional, state, and city sub-cultures.

    Living in the US is like living in prison, even though it is touted as being the “Land of the Free” <<<— a claim that is completely false. Americans are NOT free, and Americans do NOT enjoy so called Freedom through Democracy & Capitalism… they only ‘think’ they do! Instead they live in a bubble of deception and have no clue. It is only when one leaves that bubble, and stay outside of it for long enough, that one can identify it’s existence, understand it’s destructive construct. This means leaving the country, and gaining perspective.

    I watched the ‘Serpa Macier’ videos you posted, and watched them again. And I am trying to understand the fault you find in what he has done? Everything I saw seemed to be 95-99% accurate, in I really could not find anything in the video that wasn’t accurate. Certainly everything said of the United is true… I could wish for such accurate reporting in the states. Perhaps you could point something out for me that is NOT true?

    I understand you claim ‘Serpa Macier’ to be a pathological lier… but in all fairness he was ‘undercover’ and had to maintain certain deceptions as a means of not exposing himself. Correct? Also, what makes his belief any less valid then yours?

    From where I am standing… Cuban’s are FORTUNATE, and have stood up to the biggest and strongest bully in the World, and have remained standing on their own two feet. There is a reason for this. And look at you… you are well educated, well spoken, well written, and seemingly well regarded by your peers… and you are CUBAN! Born and raised under Fidel Casto and his rule. So you cannot discount your government entirely… it has done the best it could, considering much of the free World has been trying to destroy it and everything it stands for, and has stood for. Is Communism right or wrong? Is Socialism right or wrong? IsDemocracy right or wrong? YES! They all/each have parts that are right, or somewhat right, and they have parts that are wrong, or really wrong.

    I could DREAM of growing up in Cuba and being spared the Capitalism I’ve had to endure throughout my life. It has ruined family, relationships, neighborhoods, cities, states, and an entire nation. Yet, look at you… you have a wonderful family unit? You have a truthful core about you, as do most Cubans. And I could go on with a very long list of GOOD things that have come from Castro, that has come from Communism/Dictatorship. I get sick about how the US manipulates and corrupts, and would be heartbroken to know that it somehow served intergal in Cuba’s change. I hope that Cubans, and Cuba is able to move out from under a dictatorship, and into something NEW… and I PREY it completely AVOIDS doing anything remotely similar to that of the United States! CAPITALISM AND DEMOCRACY AS IS EVIDENCED IN THE UNITED STATES IS DESTRUCTIVE TO IT’S PEOPLE, TO IT’S CORE. The lies and deception that are disseminated by the United States, like what is occurring against Gaddafi in Libya right now, is terrible. The US has been spreading these same types of lies about Cuba and the Cuba people forever.

    Love Cuba:
    #2: “Amazing, the revolution is scared of a dozen female pacifists carrying flowers. But that is the nature of totalitarianism”.
    I could neither visually or audibly detect this. Everything that was pointed out in that video seemed factual, so I would challenge you to demonstrate or prove to me otherwise.

    #9: “Someone mentioned sending them to Guantanamo, but that’s country club compared to Cuban jails.”
    Wrong! US jails and prisons are extremely inhumane, and anyone whom has been in both a Cuban and US jail/prison will attest to this!

    Mazorra :
    #8: “Very disappointing, especially coming from those of you that have been educated and spent a lifetime living in democratic societies such as Canada and the US.”
    Clearly you have no understanding of the United States and it’s policy. It’s citizens are prisoners and have no clue about this fact. The deception within US society is wide and deep and ever flowing, and makes Cuba look like a pre-school playground. People who have grown up in Cuba are extremely fortunate, even if they are unable to be aware of this, because seemingly, grass is always greener on the other side.

    Warmest Regards from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico

    Eric Jarvies

  6. The CUBAN GOVERMENT really wants those “CUBAN 5” SPIES BACK! Just take a look at all the BLIND IDEOLOGS putting up propaganda events and fundraisers in the USA and the world. I ran into a few of these types in Venice at a party for Chucho Valdez. Such “METICHES”! They can never escape that IDEOLOGY even with all the information available online about THE CASTROFACISTS!!

  7. Humberto, I forced myself to read some of his stuff. Wow!!! Cuba is proof that some people can never learn from history and that delusion has no limits.


    CUBADEBATE-Artículos de Arnold August
    Es periodista y conferencista especializado en la “democracia” cubana, miembro del Comité Internacional por la Libertad de los Cinco Cubanos y el Comité Fabio Di Celmo pour les 5 de la Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba (Comité Fabio Di Celmo por los 5 de la Mesa de Concertación de Solidaridad Québec- Cuba)

    He is a journalist and lecturer specializing in Cuban “democracy”, a member of the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five and the Committee Fabio Di Celmo pour les 5 of the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba (Comité Fabio Di Celmo by 5 of the Roundtable Québec-Cuba Solidarity)

  9. By the way, Arnold, I see you are free to write books supporting the Cuban government and accusing the US and Canadian government of any crime you can think of. Please let me know where in Cuba I can publish a book supporting the USA and criticizing Fidel?

  10. Arnold, have you ever criticize the Canadian government? Did they accuse you of being a mercenary in the pay of Cuban imperialists and have you arrested? Did you ever criticize the US government? Did they accuse you of being a Cuban mercenary and have you arrested?

    The answers to the above questions are Yes, No, Yes, No. You have such freedom, why deny the same freedom to Cubans? I believe Cubans should have the same rights as the rest of us.

  11. Neighbours in the Face of the Imperial Power

    How emotional it was to see the neighbours in Santiago de Las Vegas and Nuevo Gerona greeting, respectively, Moisés Rodríguez and Carlos Serpa with tears of joy and pride, with hugs and kisses, with slogans to express all their political feelings.
    What a great contribution the journalists of the local Victoria digital newspaper (Isla de la Juventud) made against disinformation: They highlighted right in the very first paragraph that the uprising in their town was not to satisfy the dirty aspirations of the USA, but rather to receive Carlos.
    Cubans owe a lot to Carlos and Moisés as do all of us who fully support Cuba’s right to self-determination without any interference by the US or any other foreign power. The neighbours and Victoria (what a very appropriate name) dealt a most important blow to the latest media war being waged by the imperial powers and their pawns: A vicious and persistent disinformation campaign attempting to provoke an uprising in Cuba based on the “Egyptian model” or at least discredit the Cuban revolution and its historical leadership. Victoria did very well by paying the enemies back in kind by showing to the whole world what an uprising at the grass roots level looks like in Cuba with its noble goals and aspirations of sovereignty and socialism.
    The neighbours and the journalists also showed in most vivid terms that the slogan of the CDRs,” “Revolution in Every Neighbourhood”, is true. This is another warning to the US and all those who collaborate with it to stay out of Cuba’s internal affairs!
    Rather than trying to find fault with Cuba, the US should free the Cuban Five. The latest chapter of Razones de Cuba shows once again the cynical and persistent attempts of the US to undermine the Cuban Revolution using any means necessary. The Cuban Five are in US penitentiaries for striving to put an end to the worst manifestations of this interference and provocation, that is the use of terrorism against Cuba. Cubans and people all over the world are demanding the release of the Cuban Five and the end of interference by the US in Cuba’s internal affairs. It is only just that the Cuban Five can return to Cuba, to their families and neighbours as did Moisés and Carlos. The latter showed in their statements in the documentary and on television that the heroic work that they did in the ranks of the mercenaries — yes mercenaries, this is what they are, this film proves it once again — is linked to the need to free the Cuban Five.

    Arnold August, Canada

  12. Cheeseman … hmmmm. A blast from the past, that nick has been seen here before, and if memory serves of a very questionable orientation and lingering pungent odor, sort of like a very ripe lindberger. What brings you back around to these parts? Have you been tasked again with dropping a bit more your castro-inspired, skewed bs?

  13. Love Cuba, I just want to warn you that the documentary is not political at all….it is about corals. As I remember there will be at one point a remark about the economic situations of cubans and it is of course the fault of the embargo.

  14. Thank you Igor!

    My favorite scene from Agent 000 – On His Majesty’s Secret Service: Two secret police “repudiators” are telling the secret police “dissident” that “it’s the people who are here, not the police, there are no police here”. Agent 001 seem to have difficulty recalling his lines. C’mon guys, spend more time rehearsing, or get some training at the actor’s studio.

    The scene starts at 3:32 here:

  15. cold in chicago, “The thing about the pseudo-agents in the post is how after being exposed to the free thinking opposition for extended periods of time, they still gravitate back to the reigning caliph monarch to kiss the hem of his pants”

    I think the 000’s know that in Eastern Europe the government goons that enforced Marxism were rarely punished after the regimes fell. They all changed their ideological masks like you and I change socks in the morning. And many made out very well.

  16. Cheeseman, cute quip, but if wealth were based on honesty or courage, Yoani would be a billionaire, and all the Cuban fascist goons would starve to death.

  17. “Rome pays the traitors but it despises them.”

    Never mind, at least you get to keep the money, eh Yoani?

  18. Mazorra, good observation. The problem with reporting is that few reporters have the time or desire to research every little “fact” they’re given. So even critical reporting will contain some uncritically evaluated “facts” created by some propaganda ministry. This isn’t just a problem with reporting, but with most of the books I’ve read on Cuba as well. The author may be honest, but his experience in Cuba will be limited and he can’t escape the effects of propaganda.

  19. The thing about the pseudo-agents in the post is how after being exposed to the free thinking opposition for extended periods of time, they still gravitate back to the reigning caliph monarch to kiss the hem of his pants. No matter that dictators worldwide are falling like ripe mangoes, being picked out by their people and squashed, after overstaying their welcome.

    Having watched the documentary, I stopped counting how many times these unthinking clones repeated the word “mercenary” like a mantra given to them by the caliph brothers to be repeated when stray thoughts enter their brains. Being anointed by the high communist priests, with a machete tap on each shoulder, they go about their mission repeating “mercenary” at every step.

    The fact that the most senior member by decades, of the worldwide dictator community crossed machetes with lesser vassals like Commandante Guevara (relieved of his position and encouraged to leave the country), President Dorticos (committed suicide), Hydee Santamaria (committed suicide), Camilo Cienfuegos (disappeared without trace), and they all came out on the loosing end, is not a consideration that will ever enter the minds of any of these mindless clones.

  20. Interesting bit of misinformation in the article by the ABC correspondent Michael Brissenden where he writes: “Of course part of the reason why the digital age has passed Cuba by has been the refusal of the US to allow to the fiber optic cables in the Caribbean.” The truth of the matter is that Obama offered to “wire-up” Cuba and of course the castros wanted no part of it. The tone and content of the article was otherwise on the money.

  21. Igor, do you have the name of that Canadian documentary? It goes without saying that no one given permission to film in Cuba is capable of critical thinking. The new film Seven Days in Havana will be as real as those Stalin Era “socialist realism” films.

    There are some good articles recently by Regina Coyula, you can almost feel the fear that Cubans live with

  22. ABC:No social media revolution for Cuba-By Michael Brissenden

    A strange thing happened to me the other week. While the so called Facebook revolution was sweeping through Egypt I found myself in an almost completely net free zone, a rare black hole on the Facebook map: Cuba.

    There might be some debate about whether Mubarak was toppled by the net nerds of Cairo or not – after all he did shut the whole thing down after a while – but what seems clear is that social media certainly helped get the ball rolling. What’s also clear is that the old comrades in their battle fatigues in Havana have nothing to fear from any like-minded, touch screen freedom fighters. For most people in Cuba even the mobile phone is pretty much out of reach. Access to the internet is reserved for the ruling elite, those in favour with the regime or the relatively wealthy – which is usually the same group.

    Here’s how it works for most of the rest of the population.

    The average wage is about $20 per month, so there’s not a lot of room for discretionary spending on communications. A mobile call casts 35 cents to make and 35 cents to receive. And the mobile phone in Cuba is simply that: there’s no mobile broadband or fancy broadband network, internet access is restricted to a clunky old dial-up service that most people can only access at certain times at certain post offices for anywhere between $2 and $5 an hour.

    This has its redeeming features of course. It’s like stepping back into the 1980s. On the Cuban streets people don’t spend their entire time walking around staring into their mobiles. You can still have a conversation, indeed a whole meal, without your companion disengaging to tweet or to check the latest update from their real friends on Facebook.

    Very few people here are in a position to afford an online presence and those that are are wary of giving any would-be revolutionary free rein in cyberspace. As we’ve seen, things can get out of hand pretty quickly for autocratic regimes if they let that one loose. The ruling party to be keen to keep the focus on the textbook teachings of dialectical materialism rather than allow access to that sort of unfettered digital anarchy.

    That’s not to say they don’t appreciate its virtues. Mariella Castro, the daughter of the Cuban leader Raul Castro, spent a good deal of time in a interview I did with her for the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent telling me how much she admired Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. It was hard to disagree with her assertion that “WikiLeaks has paved a new path in the transparency of international diplomacy”. The paradox of the situation in her own country flashed by without comment.

    Of course part of the reason why the digital age has passed Cuba by has been the refusal of the US to allow to the fibre optic cables in the Caribbean. In the next few months though, an underwater cable rolled out all the way from Venezuela will finally bring broadband to the island. But apart from giving those that already have access to the net a faster service no-one expects anything much to change in the short term.

    According to the government-controlled daily newspaper Granma, Cuban officials have already made it clear that while broadband may mean a higher quality communication it will not necessarily bring “broader” communication.

    Viva la revolucion.

    Michael Brissenden is the ABC’s Washington correspondent.

  23. That movie of del Toro will not tell the real story. If it will present the hardship of cubans it will blame the embargo. This was part of the deal cut with the Cuban Government as they allowed it to be filmed on the island. I watched a documentary shot in Cuba about Cuban Corals… was mentioned that Cubans have a hard life because of the colapse of the Soviet Union and because of economic sanction. It was a movie made by Canadians…but there was no one word mention of communists, barbudos, genocide, terror, hunger strike… it does not exist.

  24. Pedro Pan, you are quite correct, but I was trying to use understatement. Maybe using “musts” would be a better effect. I’ll try it next time :)

  25. #54 Love Cuba, just a comment, just little one… some of those Cuba “cans” are actually “musts”… The USA “cans” stand as they are…

  26. By the way, I keep hearing on Cuban TV how much the Cubans love their government. I believe there has been some delays with those elections promised in 1959. Raul and Fidel, I hope you hold those elections some time soon so the whole world can see how much the Cubans love you.

  27. Cuba and the USA have many things in common:

    In Cuba, you can watch Cuban TV
    In USA, you can watch Cuban TV

    In Cuba, you can read the reflections of Fidel, Che, and Agent 000
    In USA, you can read the reflections of Fidel, Che, and Agent 000

    In Cuba, you can join the communist party
    In USA, you can join the communist party

    In Cuba, you can vote for the communist party
    In USA, you can vote for the communist party

    In Cuba, you can invent any conspiracy you want about the USA government and have it published and repeat it over and over again on TV
    In USA, you can invent any conspiracy you want about the USA government and have it published and repeat it over and over again on TV

    In Cuba, you can proclaim to the whole world that capitalism is on its last legs and demonstrate against it
    In USA, you can proclaim to the whole world that capitalism is on its last legs and demonstrate against it

    In Cuba, you can erect a statue to Fidel and Che
    In USA, you can erect a statue to Fidel and Che

    In Cuba, you can give all your money to the Cuban communists
    In USA, you can give all your money to the Cuban communists

    I’ll stop here because there are too many similarities, but I hope by here you get the picture :)

  28. Frenchy I thought you wanted to drop it? I see you haven’t got enough sense to know when to quit. You and berto scissorhands are cut from the same stone. No tienen dos dedos de frente entre los dos. Wouldn’t it be great for you two simpletons if I was damir. How could I not be damir, I write just like him don’t I. Frenchy and berto scissorhands, the Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes of Generation Y. What a concept, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must be turning in his grave at the thought.

  29. Where is our boy Damir anyway? Is there a tech convention somewhere around La Habana that MININT needs to “assist” that has free food? Just wondering…

  30. Albert! HUMOR is the ONLY things that keeps the Cubans in the Island SANE! Yoani keeps me laughing (and crying) ALL AT THE SAME TIME! SOOO GLAD, SOO SAD! But things will work out! I cannot wait till I hold that FLACA in my arms! I WILL LOOSE IT!!! BIG TIME!! SOME DAY SOON!

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