Hillary at the Latin American Summit

President Obama got an earful about "Yankee imperialism" last week at the Latin American Summit. Nicaragua's pedophile President, Daniel Ortega, led the verbal lynch mob with a 50 minute rant no different, in essence, from the daily lectures at most U.S. colleges and Universities by most U.S. professors of Latin American History.

Alas, a few of those professors occasionally get a rebuttal. And I can think of a dandy for President Obama's next run-in with the Nicaraguan Communist/pedophile: "The U.S. military interventions you denounce, Mr Ortega, in fact kept many Latin-American nations from degenerating into even worse pestholes. As exhibit A, I present your own Nicaragua. Under the "U.S.-backed" Somoza regime (in fact Jimmy Carter imposed an arms and economic embargo against Somoza to smooth your way to power) Nicaraguans enjoyed a per-capita income almost DOUBLE the one during your Sandinista regime, not to mention the normal gamut of freedoms, from travel to employment to conducting business, to not having 20,000 of them locked up and tortured as political prisoners by you and your eager Castroite understudies."

President Obama's amazing performance at this Summit, as he strolled around with a "Kick Me!" sign flapping on his back has gotten much attention. But certain statements from Sec. of State Hillary Clinton sound more troubling still. In a crunch, the President's behavior can be chalked up to inexperience, especially with Latin American dictators. No such excuse applies for the Secretary of State:

"We have seen Raul Castro's comments and we welcome this overture... We are taking a very serious look at it. We are continuing to look for productive ways forward, because we view the present policy as having failed. Engagement is a useful tool to advance our national interests."

During her husband's administration Ms Clinton got a close look (and probably also had a hand in) some "engagement" with Cuba. Pres. Clinton relaxed the Reagan era travel ban, the remittance restrictions and shanghaied Elian Gonzalez. More importantly, President Clinton signed into law The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, which opened the process by which the U.S. became Cuba's biggest food supplier and 5th biggest trade partner, a distinction we've held for going on five years now. Clinton also resumed direct passenger flights from the U.S. to Cuba and opened the process for cultural exchanges, educational exchanges and "people to people" exchanges in general, same we see Obama doing today.

These "people to people" exchanges got so doggone chummy and cozy that in the mid 90's Mobile, Alabama and Havana became official "Sister Cities!" The touching ceremony celebrating the many business and cultural exchanges between the loving sisters saw much toasting and smiling and slapping of backs between Mobile's representative, professor Robert Schaefer from the University of Mobile, and Cuba's representative, Oscar Redondo.

Came time for the ten year celebratory bash of the sisterly relationship in 2003 and Mobile's Best and Brightest, lead by professor Schaefer, were all on hand but Mr Redondo was nowhere to be seen. Only weeks earlier he'd been nabbed by the FBI as a Castro espionage agent and booted out of the country.

"If Oscar was a spook,"said a stuttering professor Robert Schaefer at the shocking news, "he certainly neglected to tell me about it!" I am not quoting from a Saturday Night Live skit or from Steve Martin as The Jerk here. Instead I quote professor Schaefer straight from the Mobile Press Register, Oct. 13th 2003.

Apparently Professor Schaefer expects enemy agents to blurt out: "I am a spy for an enemy totalitarian nation!"

A report issued in 1998 by the Clinton-era Defense Intelligence Agency rationalized Clinton's cozying to Cuba by declaring that,

"Castro poses no significant threat to the U.S. or any of his Hemispheric neighbors. No evidence exists that Cuba is trying to foment any instability in the Western Hemisphere."

From Havana Castro immediately hailed the DIA report as "an objective report by serious people."

This report was authored by one, Ana Belen Montes, the Defense Intelligence Agency's ranking expert on Cuba during the Clinton era. She had access to all U.S. intelligence on Cuba and led briefings on Capital Hill, at the State Department and the Pentagon regarding Cuban policy. "On Cuba," one government official said. "Montes was who you went to."

On September 20th 2001, Ms Montes was arrested by the FBI as a Castro spy and charged with "Conspiracy to Commit Espionage," the same charge against Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and it carried the same potential death sentence.

Besides handing over reams of sensitive documents and photos to Castro's DGI, Montes outed 4 U.S. undercover agents working in Cuba. "Montes passed some of our most sensitive information about Cuba back to Havana" said then Undersecretary for International Security, John Bolton. The Montes case is widely considered the most damaging espionage case since the "end" of the Cold War.

"Ana Montes compromised our entire program against Cuba, electronic as well as human." admitted Joel F. Brenner, National Counterintelligence Executive.

A year after her arrest Montes was duly convicted and today serves a 25 year prison sentence. Only a plea bargain allowed her to escape the fate of the Rosenbergs.

Mobile's sister-city Cuban representative, the eminently sympatico Oscar Redondo, had been a courier for Ana Belen Montes. We can only envision the Castros and their KGB-trained Intelligence officers rubbing their hands in anticipation of more such partnerships in the upcoming "people to people" exchanges with the U.S.

Humberto Fontova is the author of four books including Exposing the Real Che Guevara. Visit hfontova.com.