Social media posts on various platforms including encrypted channels within WhatsApp have shown what appears to be planned terrorist attacks against Cuba. Some influential users have been describing it as a “bloody end of 2023for the island nation. Now, Cuban government officials claim to have thwarted those plans.

In early December, Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior (MININT) published a list of 61 “terroristactors living in the United States and allegedly sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The list includes several social media Influencers who have left the island and have built a platform for themselves on the premise of attacking the Cuban government, and in many cases, the Cuban people.

Two affiliated groups were mentioned in Cuba’s report: “The New Cuban Nation” (La Nueva Nacion Cubana) and “The New Cuban Nation in Arms” (La Nueva Nacion Cubana en Armas).  The New Cuban Nation Facebook Group’s About page says it’s a “recruitment group”. The page is riddled with far-right misinformation and anti-science posts such as claiming that chemotherapy doesn’t help cancer patients.

Members of the New Cuba Nation in Arms militia based in the United States

The New Cuban Nation’s media arm emphatically supports far-right actors like former president Donald Trump and newly elected president of Argentina, Javier Millei despite their divisive and charged rhetoric. The media arm’s embrace of far-right xenophobic policies stands out. The site regularly republishes content from the Gatestone Institute which has been outed for posting conspiracy theories and fake news to justify their Islamophobic and xenophobic ideologies. The website is linked to the “Democratic Nationalist Party” (Partido Nationalista Democratico).

One of the people listed by the Cuban government is Manuel Milanés who regularly called for armed anti-government attacks in Cuba. He often uses charged language like calling for “war” and cites how he and many others are well-funded, armed, trained, and ready to fight against Cuba. In a 42-minute YouTube video posted in September of 2022, he lamented the inaction by Cuban armed militia members in the U.S. during the July 11, 2021 protests on the island. He continued by saying that the next uprisings would be much worse.

Screenshot of Manuel Milanés in a Facebook post the day before he was named as a suspected terrorist in the Cuban investigation into planned attacks. The translated caption reads: “We understand that to overthrow communism all forms of struggle are important, especially armed struggle.”

Before adopting a more clean-cut look, Milanés regularly posted videos with the Gadsen Flag in the background. It should be noted that the Tea Party movement appropriated the flag after the election of Barack Obama. Since 2009, the flag has been associated with the movement’s right-wing populism and the overt racism seen at many of the movement’s rallies.

In the September 2022 video, Milanés boasted about not experiencing any repercussions after receiving non-profit status in Florida for a group called the “Council for the Anticommunist War” (Consjeo Para La Guerra Anticommunista Inc). Using himself as an example, he argued that Cubans in the U.S. shouldn’t worry about pushback from authorities or criminal charges for organizing armed attacks against Cuba.

Another person listed in the Cuban government’s investigation uses the reported alias of Willy Gonzalez. He has regularly posted videos over the last two years using militaristic and charged language similar to that heard among members of anti-government militias in the U.S. While the success of his recruitment efforts appears to be limited, it’s worth noting that he has found some support and it seems to be growing. 

Image of Willy Gonzalez via Facebook. The translated caption reads: “Do not fear a glorious death, for to die for one’s country is to live. The New Cuban Nation in Arms, the army of Jehovah will remain in the history of Cuba as glorious Warriors and if not one day at a time”

Based on social media posts, it appears Gonzalez and another man who uses the alias Kiki Naranjo are the creators and leaders of the New Cuban Nation in Arms (NNCA). Gonzalez has posted videos of NNCA members training in Florida and many photos of himself with various members holding high-powered rifles and dressed in military-style gear.

On July 31, 2022, a fire broke out at the Court of Archives in Central Havana. A video posted on social media and shared by Milanés shows a man starting the fire and saying, “This is not an accident, this is fire against the dictatorship.” As the fire grows, he continues, “This is justice against injustice. This is the new Cuban nation executing injustice in Cuba.” The logo for the NNCA is shown at the beginning of the video indicating the group’s responsibility in the fire. Three people were arrested in connection with the fire and several others. They are each facing up to 30 years in prison after being charged with terrorism-related crimes.

Cuba has been tracking the actions of members and leaders of the NNCA for more than two years. In September of 2022, the Cuban government denounced anti-Cuban groups that are financed in the United States and are attempting to recruit Cubans on the island to carry out terrorist attacks on government and agricultural facilities as well as homes and businesses.

The U.S. Embassy in Havana issued a warning in late November about possible terrorist attacks in Cuba

In November, the U.S. Embassy in Cuba issued a worldwide caution to travelers headed to the island. The warning specifically cited the potential for terrorist attacks. In what seems to be a clear sign of the United States taking the warnings from the Cuban government seriously, it also seems that U.S. intelligence has been able to confirm the validity of the threats.

Department of State advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution,” reads the Cuban Embassy’s announcement on X (formerly Twitter). U.S. citizens should: Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists and commonly used locations for demonstrations; Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive information and alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency overseas.”

As the U.S. continues to keep Cuba on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list for harboring 10 leaders of the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) for allegedly bombing a Bogotá police academy that killed 22 people and injured 87 others, those warrants along with the extradition requests have since been suspended by the Colombian government. Meanwhile, it appears that terrorists are living on U.S. soil and plotting attacks against Cuba.

Given the current discourse suggesting U.S. citizens and citizens around the world are no longer buying into Western lines about “terrorism,” this double standard highlights precisely why the politicization of the word has taken us into a world of exposing propaganda. Lies used to justify wars and the deaths of innocent civilians in countless conflicts around the world the U.S. has its hands and its taxpayer dollars involved in.

NOTE:  We have been tracking many of the individuals mentioned for more than a year. Most have not posted on social media since early September.

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Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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