Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Posted on Sunday, 05.27.12

Some of Cuba's secrets are not so secret

Once-secret phone lists and other sensitive leaked information have been

linked to a contract IKEA had with Cuban prison factories.

By Juan O. Tamayo

How can the Cuban government, all but obsessive about its need for

secrecy, protect the privacy of the cellphone used by one of Fidel

Castro's best-known sons?

And how can it prevent embarrassing leaks when it needs to send a camera

crew into Havana prisons to shoot a film promoting the high quality of

its prison labor?

Both those questions may have been answered after a German newspaper

reported earlier this month that furniture giant IKEA had contracted for

Cuban prison labor to make thousands of sofas and tables in 1987.

The report lifted part of the veil of secrecy that the communist

government has long cast over information from economic data to the

details of the emergency surgery that led Castro to pass power to

brother Raúl in 2006.

Cuba's side of the IKEA deal was identified as EMIAT, an import-export

firm owned by the Interior Ministry, in charge of national security.

MININT runs two of Cuba's key spy agencies, the Directorates of

Intelligence and Counterintelligence.

EMIAT also is the owner of record of the cellphone number used by Fidel

Castro's son, Antonio Castro Soto del Valle, in 2009, according to a

once-secret list of more than 70,000 telephone numbers for important

government officials and offices.

The list shows 1,543 numbers assigned to EMIAT. It does not list Antonio

Castro's name, but does include his cell number and the notation:

"Client Classification: Especial Services Defense."

Miami blogger Luis Dominguez obtained the number when he passed himself

off as a Colombian woman on the Internet and flirted for eight months

with Castro, a physician well known for his involvements with Cuba's

baseball teams.

The cell numbers for two of Fidel Castro's less well-known sons were

also on the list, but without the secrecy. Alejandro Castro Soto del

Valle was listed under his own name, and Alex was listed as "Alex Castro

Soto del Valle MININT."

The list of sensitive numbers was briefly published, accidentally or on

purpose, on the Web pages of Cuba's state-run telephone monopoly,

ETECSA, a few years back. Dominguez and others made copies before it was


A man who answered Antonio Castro's cell number Thursday said "He's no

longer here" and hung up. There's been no indication that Castro had any

business dealings with EMIAT or IKEA. El Nuevo Herald calls to EMIAT

offices in Havana seeking comment were cut off when the caller

identified himself.

"The Cuban government tries to hide all the information, but in the age

of the Internet it can't do that well at all," said Dominguez, whose Web

page, Secretos de Cuba, publishes the private telephone numbers and

addresses of government officials.

An Internet report on the IKEA deal for Cuban prison labor also led a

defector from the film section of MININT's Counterintelligence

Directorate (DCI) now living in Florida to contact El Nuevo Herald last


His DCI bosses ordered him to shoot a 10-minute film showing the high

quality of the manufacturing shops at the Combinado del Este prison for

men and Manto Negro prison for women, both in Havana, in 1986 or 1987,

the defector said in an interview.

A DCI camera crew was put on the job because it could be trusted to keep

quiet about what it saw or heard in the prisons, he added. Cuba does not

allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit its

estimated 200 prisons.

"If they had sent in a regular government film crew, the word would have

been all over Cuba the next day," said the man, who provided evidence of

his MININT work but asked to remain anonymous for personal reasons.

The defector said his crew — two cameramen and one person who handled

lighting —shot for several days as male prisoners made furniture, like

stools with designs burned into the leather, and women inmates sewed

jeans and made tourist-type handicrafts.

Prison factories throughout the island are run by Provari, a firm also

owned by MININT that makes everything from clay and cement building

blocks to playpens and insecticides, El Nuevo reported earlier this month.

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