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Tag: Cuba

U.S. Sets Another Record for Border Patrol Arrests

Migrant arrests are on the rise again. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

A record number of migrants have been arrested along the Mexico border with nearly 2.4 million detainments in the last 12 months. 

By comparison, 1.7 million migrants were take into custody in the previous fiscal year. That represents a 37% increase. 

An average of 540,000 migrants were arrested between 2012 and 2020. 

“CBP and DHS will continue to work with our partners in the region to address the root causes of migration, expand legal pathways, facilitate removals, and take thousands of smugglers off the streets,” CBP Commissioner Chris Mangus said in a statement. “No matter what smugglers say, those who do not have a legal basis to remain in the country will be removed and people should not make the dangerous journey.”

A growing number of migrants from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are crossing the border, creating a significant challenge for the Biden administration. 

“While failing regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua continued to drive a new wave of migration across the western Hemisphere, the number of Venezuelans arriving at the southern border decreased sharply nearly every day since we launched additional joint actions with Mexico to reduce irregular migration and create a more fair, orderly and safe process for people fleeing the humanitarian and economic crisis in their country,” Magnus said. “Over the past week, the number of Venezuelans attempting to enter the country fell more than 80 percent compared to the week prior to the launch of the joint enforcement actions. While this early data is not reflected in the latest report, it confirms what we’ve said all along: when there is a lawful and orderly way to enter the country, individuals will be less likely to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and try to cross the border unlawfully.”

Republicans blame the surge on Biden’s immigration policies.

FBI Agent Who Worked Near Russia Has Symptoms Consistent with Havana Syndrome

By Steve Neavling

A former FBI agent said he’s suffering from a mysterious and often debilitating affliction known as Havana Syndrome. 

Now the bureau, which had not previously acknowledged that some of its current or former employees could have the syndrome, is offering access to medical care for agents who have symptoms, NBC News reports.

The former agent was originally denied medical treatment for the syndrome, according to an email from an FBI official that said the bureau “is not authorized to give any medical advice and there are not any medical programs in place for current and/or retired employees” for potential brain injury symptoms. 

The agent said he had suffered from migraines and dizziness about a decade after he served overseas in a country near Russia. 

When NBC News asked the bureau about the email, the FBI said it was “one part of a larger exchange taken out of context and does no reflect the FBI’s commitment to supporting its personnel, both current and former.”

The Havana Syndrome dates back to late 2016, when dozens of American officials and family members who were in Cuba or China reported symptoms consistent with the Havana Syndrome. They include headaches, nausea, vertigo, memory loss, bloody noses, and hearing bizarre sounds. 

Some authorities believe the syndrome is the result of weaponized microwave radiation, while others say it may be from pesticides or a psychological illness. 

The FBI’s statements added that the bureau “does not have the authority to provide direct medical treatment, we now have a process to guide current and former employees to the interagency medical treatment and evaluation options that are available to them.”

“Anomalous Health Incidents is a top priority for the FBI, as the protection, health and well-being of our employees and colleagues across the federal government is paramount.”

FBI Investigating Whether Cuba Attacked U.S. Diplomats with Covert Sonic Device

cubaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating claims that American diplomats in Cuba received severe hearing loss from a covert sonic device.

The allegations prompted the U.S. to eject two Cuban diplomats from Washington, drawing a strong denial from Havana that anyone targeted Americans with a covert device.

The Associated Press reports that a group of U.S. diplomats began suffering hearing loss in the fall of 2016. 

A months-long investigation by the U.S. concluded that diplomats had been exposed “to an advanced device that operated outside the audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences.”

The Cuban government issued a strong denial.

“Cuba has never permitted, nor will permit, that Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, with no exception.

TSA Admits Air Marshals Aren’t on Flights to Cuba As Promised

airport lineBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When commercial flights to Cuba resumed for the first time in 50 years, President Obama’s administration pledged that air marshals would be onboard.

Turns out, that’s not happening, CBSMiami reports. 

“As of today, are there any federal air marshals allowed on any non-chartered flights between the United States and Cuba?” Rep. John Katko, R-New York asked a TSA official.

“No sir,” a Transportation Security Administration official responded.

Katko called out the TSA for providing false information to the American public.

“Federal air marshals serve as a last line of defense against terrorism,” Katko said. “You mislead the American public when you issued that press release saying that it was going to be on select commercial flights and you did it at a time when flights were about to start.”

Other Stories of Interest

Homeland Security Deputy Director to Visit Birthplace of Cuba to Help Ease Tensions

Alejandrom Mayorkas

Alejandrom Mayorkas

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The second-ranking Homeland Security official will visit his hometown in Cuba to help ease tensions with the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security deputy secretary, was 6 months old when his family fled Havana and moved to Miami.

For the first time, he is returning for a three-day visit intended on restoring diplomatic relations.

It’s part of a larger effort by President Obama to ease restrictions on U.S. travel and investment in Cuba as Congress considers dropping the decade-long trade embargo.

Myorkas said his father longed to visit Cuba.

“He always dreamed of returning with his children and sharing Cuba with them,” Mayorkas said in an interview, his eyes beginning to tear up. “It was always my hope and intention to return with him, so this visit will be quite emotional.”

Will First Woman on FBI’s Most Wanted List Be Extradited from Cuba?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

As relations between Cuba and the U.S. continue to improve, a big question lingers: Will the first woman on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List be extradited to face life in prison in America?

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Assata Shakur, who was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, may be extradited because of the improved relations.

Shakur was a member of the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panther Party and was welcomed into Cuba as a fellow socialist with asylum.

It remains unclear whether Cuba would turn over Shakur, but some legal experts said it’s unlikely since she was labeled a political refugee.

New Jersey Senator Says He’s Victim of Cuban Plot to Smear Him with False Allegations about Prostitutes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Robert Menendez is urging the Justice Department to investigate what he claims was an elaborate smear campaign by Cuban operatives to destroy his reputation with lies about prostitutes, the Washington Post reports.

The New Jersey Democrat, a vociferous critic of Castro’s regime, said Cuban officials created a fake tipster to claim that Memendez was partying with underage prostitutes while vacationing at his Dominican Republic home of a friend.

According to officials familiar with the case, the CIA found evidence that Cuban agents fabricated a tipster.

The allegations came out publicly in November 2012, when a conservative website quoted two Dominican women who claimed to have sex with Menendez.

FBI Spied on French Philosophers Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre Over Their Politics

Albert CamusSteve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

What does it mean to be alive? Who are we? What is our purpose?

Those weren’t the question the FBI was interested in answering while agents spied on French philosophers John-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.

Instead, the FBI was concerned about their politics and whether they were a danger to the U.S., the Melville House reports.

Camus raised suspicions because he was a member of the French Communist party. Sartre was involved in Cuban politics and protested the Vietnam war.