Posted on Tue, Aug. 04, 2009
Blogger posts possible images of Cuban-U.S. exercise
BY CAROL ROSENBERG
JOHN VANBEEKUM / MIAMI HERALD
Marine Pfc. Jacob Gateman lifts a cover April 1, 2009 to show an old trench beneath a road leading toward the elementary school at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The trench was part of old Cold War era defenses established on the 45-square-mile base, where the military reviewed and approved this image for publication.A South Florida blogger read about the annual exercise between the Cuban and American military at Guantánamo and posted photos he says illustrate the below-the-radar collaboration.
One of the pictures shows a Cuban military helicopter dropping water on what appears to be an area adjacent to the airstrip at the remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
Another shows American sailors from the base hospital in what appears to be a mock medical treatment drill on a rocky bit of territory just inside Cuba. A now-abandoned U.S. Marine Corps barracks is clearly visible in the background.
The blogger is Luis Domínguez, a Cuban-born Miamian who runs http://cubaaldescubierto.com, Cuba Uncovered. His name may be familiar to Cuba watchers as the man who earlier this year posed as a Colombian woman to lure one of Fidel Castro’s son into an internet flirtation.
Domínguez, who has studied the Cuban military for years, said he read about the exercise on July 20 in The Miami Herald. So he dug around archives of photos from Cuba he had pulled off the web through the years and found the images illustrating earlier cooperation.
A U.S. military source familiar with the recent exercises but not authorized to speak about them said the photos appeared to be several years old.
One shows a Cuban armed forces photographer with a old-fashioned film camera, but Cuban military media working with the Frontier Brigade, which guards the Cuban side, now carry state-of-the-art digital equipment.
Another shows a Cuban helicopter with older-style camouflage paint.
The cooperation, as portrayed in the photos, appears to show what Navy commanders have long described as a “benign relationship” across a once acrimonious fenceline made famous by the Hollywood hit, A Few Good Men.