US government agent detained in Cuba for ‘aiding opposition groups’

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American authorities have revealed the arrest in Cuba of a US government worker, who was allegedly supplying telecommunications equipment to opposition groups. The unidentified man, who was reportedly detained in Havana on December 5, is said to work for a Maryland-based international aid group called Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI). This little-known organization works closely with the government-owned United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and last year was awarded a major government contract in “support [of] the rule of law and human rights, political competition and consensus building” in Cuba. There are reports, however, that the contract involved the clandestine supply of laptop computers and cell phones to Cuban groups antagonistic to the government in Havana. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0137

  • Colombian paramilitaries active in Honduras. United Nations human rights officials have voiced concern at reports that right-wing paramilitaries from the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia are active in Honduras following the military coup. Last September it was revealed that the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia also participated in the planning of the failed 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.
  • Lawsuit probes US government spying on GTMO attorneys. In Wilner v. National Security Agency, the Washington DC-based Center for Constitutional Rights argued on Friday that the US government must disclose whether it has records related to wiretapping of Guantánamo attorney conversations without a warrant.
  • France arrests CERN worker with alleged al-Qaeda links. France has arrested a researcher at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) for suspected links with the al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb (al-Qaeda’s North African wing). CERN, Europe’s particle physics lab, is known for a particle collider that aims to recreate conditions of the Big Bang.

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Ex-President Carter says US knew about 2002 Venezuela coup

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Former US President Jimmy Carter has said that the US was aware of plans for a 2002 military-civilian coup against the government of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, and that it may have even provided assistance to the coup plotters. In an interview to Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, published yesterday, Carter said there was “no doubt that in 2002 the United States had at the very least full knowledge about the coup, and could even have been directly involved”. The coup attempt took place on April 11, 2002, when President Chávez was illegally detained by the coup plotters, who also dissolved the Venezuelan National Assembly and the Supreme Court, and voided the country’s Constitution. But the move ended in failure 47 hours later, after key sectors of the military and parts of the anti-government opposition refused to side with the coup leaders. Read more of this post

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