Yesterday, the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies reported that Cuban soldiers were in Syria:
The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies has received information that General Leopoldo Cintra Frias, Head of the Cuban Armed Forces, visited Syria recently leading a group of Cuban military personnel sent by Cuba in support of Syria’s dictator Assad and Russian involvement in that country.
The Cuban military contingent will be primarily deployed in Syria manning Russian tanks provided to Assad by the Russians. It will also operate as a military force against Isis and other opponents of the Assad regime.
Now FoxNews is confirming that report:
On Wednesday, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that Cuban paramilitary and special forces units are on the ground in Syria, citing evidence from intelligence reports. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Cuban troops may have been training in Russia and may have arrived in Syria on Russian planes.
An Arab military officer at the Damascus airport reportedly witnessed two Russian planes arrive there with Cuban military personnel on board. When the officer questioned the Cubans, they told him they were there to assist Assad because they are experts at operating Russian tanks, according to Jaime Suchlicki, the institute’s executive director.
The U.S. official described Cuban’s involved in Syria as similar to the “Cuba-Angola arrangement” — a reference to Cuban troops operating on behalf of the Soviets in several central African countries in the 1970’s. Cuba also sent troops to Syria in 1973 to support them in the Yom Kippur War against Israel and deployed officers to observe Israeli military tactics.
The official could not confirm whether Cuba’s top general is in Syria, or if Cuban forces are manning Russian tanks provided to Assad by Russia.
If you go back to the last years of the Cold War you will see that Cuba provided ground troops to act as a proxy army for the USSR in many areas of the world. When the 1st Ranger Battalion (1-75 Infantry) jumped at Port Salinas airfield on October 25, 1983, they opposing force was not Grenadian, it was Cuban. The Cuban army fought in Eritrea, 1500 Cubans fought in the Yom Kippur War, it was involved in the Ogaden War (Somalia-Ethiopia), it was a major force in the Angolan civil war and fought a pitched battle with the South Africans which was, arguably, a draw but looked a lot like a Cuban victory. It was in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
“If this information about the presence of Cuban troops in Syria now is confirmed, it would indicate that General Raul Castro is more interested in supporting his allies, Russia and Syria, than in continuing to normalize relations with the U.S.,” the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies said in a statement Tuesday.
“Raul Castro has expressed publicly his support for the Syrian regime and his solidarity with Russian and Iranian objectives in the Middle East,” the group said. “This new Cuban internationalism reaffirms one more time that the Castro’s brothers are more interested in their role in the world in opposition to the U.S. than in modernizing Cuba and helping the Cuban people rise above their current misery.”
This deployment shows the extent to which Obama’s Syrian policy has become a laughingstock for the world and the extent to which his much ballyhooed opening with Cuba was nothing more than abject surrender.