WikiLeaks: Cuba confides in Coast Guard

Aug. 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM

MIAMI, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard has developed into a productive middleman between American and Cuban officials, diplomatic messages released on WikiLeaks revealed.

The Coast Guard has had a so-called Drug Interdiction Specialist based in Havana since 1998, and the job has unofficially grown into a point of contact between the two governments.

"Both sides have discreetly and quietly used this relationship to communicate," Randy Beardsworth, a retired Coast Guard officer who took part in establishing the DIS office in Cuba, told El Nuevo Herald. "It is in our national interest to understand their bureaucracy. In chaos, who do we talk to?"

The U.S. newspaper said Sunday American diplomats in Cuba are restricted to Havana and can only interact with Foreign Ministry officials. The DIS, however, can accompany Interior Ministry personnel on trips outside the capital.

According to the WikiLeaks material, the Interior Ministry provided the American officer with valuable insights on Havana's negotiating stances on immigration matters and hurricane relief.

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