Notorious communist Commander Ramiro Valdes, former head of Cuban State
Security, arrived in Venezuela in 2010 as Cuba’s Minister of Communication
and Information. He claimed his visit was to help solve Venezuela’s
energy crisis. Yet Valdes’ background shows no prior experience
in electrical engineering.  His trip to Venezuela
shone light into a shady world of refined totalitarian repression and
control through information technology software.
Ramiro Valdes’ trip alarmed many who were familiar with his ruthless
past and questioned the real purpose of his trip. As the Minister of
Communication and Information, Valdes continued to promote repression
by justifying the Cuban government’s Internet restrictions stating
that the Internet is “a tool of global extermination” that
must be controlled.  Concern with his visit was
also heightened by reports that, since 2005, Cuban company Albet S.A.
(Albet Ingeneria y Sistemas) was engaged in information technology
businesses in Venezuela. Valdes had signed contracts delegating Albet
the responsibility to manage Venezuela’s Administrative Service
of Identification, Migration and Alien Affairs (SAIME). 
Albet S.A. is a Cuban software company closely linked to the University
of Havana’s Information Science (UCI), a project of the
Cuban regime. The company develops software for official government
use, among other services, that are exported to Latin America with Venezuela
as the main importer.  In an interview given to
Venezuela’s daily newspaper El Nacional, former Venezuelan
government consultant Anthony Daquin assured that “Albet is a
camouflage of Cuba’s G2.”  The statement
confirmed what some already concluded, considering that all national
companies on the island are owned by the communist regime and managed
mainly by the military. In its website, Albet embraces its “commitment
to the Revolution.” 
The year after Valdes’ trip, El Nacional published a special
edition detailing that the Venezuelan government had granted Albet S.A.
the contract to provide and administer the software to manage SAIME’s
functions. SAIME’s functions include creating and issuing electronic
identification documents (ID cards and passports) and maintaining a
civilian registry. The software also manages databases for:
• Public and private registries,
• Centers to analyze information,
• Educational software,
• Project “Alba Guardia” database which keeps track
of oil rigs managed by PDVSA, Venezuela’s national oil company,
• The President’s communication office,
• Any information pertaining to the country’s prison, security,
hospital systems. 
It is particularly alarming that a non-Venezuelan company manages the
country’s civilian registry and has the ability to issue personal
identification documents. It does not only violate Venezuelan sovereignty
but it exposes the personal information of every Venezuelan citizen
to Cuban authorities.
Anthony Daquin also explained how certain clauses in the contract “provide
all data for registered Venezuelans which allow combining information
from the National Electoral Council, the Senait, and SAIME.”
 It is probable that the irregularities present in the 2013
Venezuelan Presidential elections are linked to the Cuban regime’s
manipulation of the civilian registry. Presidential candidate, Henrique
Capriles, denounced thousands of irregularities, among them the growth
of 943% more votes for Maduro compared to 2012 results for Chavez in
those same electoral centers, and the presence of more than 600,000
deceased people in the electoral registry.  It was
additionally reported that in an electoral center in Montalban, a neighborhood
of Caracas, a man had 40 Venezuelan identification cards in his possession.
Also, residents in the area noted that some of the people voting had
never been previously seen and had Cuban accents. 
Albet’s control of Venezuela’s SAIME can also be a source
of concern for the United States. In 2008, the U.S. Department of the
Treasury designated two Venezuelans, Ghazi Nasr al Din and Fawzi Kan’an,
as Hizballah supporters. Both men, together with two of Kan’an
travel agencies, were facilitating travel for Hizballah supporters.
 It can be assumed that because Albet controls
the software for SAIME, Cuba is also an accomplice in issuing Venezuelan
identification and possibly passports to terrorists.
 Ramiro Valdes entry in the official Cuban government
online encyclopedia EcuRed shows no electrical engineering background
or experience. He has extensive military training and led for many years
the island’s State Security apparatus.
Ramiro Valdés, EcuRed 2013. http://www.ecured.cu/index.php/Ramiro_Valdés
 Cuba, Informe Anual 2008- Américas, Reporteros
sin Fronteras (2008) P.49.
 “Dicen que Venezuela es la URSS de Cuba
durante la Guerra Fria” El Nacional. May 25, 2010.
 “UCI: una década de sueños
realizados” Cubahora (2012)
 “Cedula electrónica a la cubana”
Siete Dias Special Sunday Edition, El Nacional. July 17, 2011.
 Albet website, 2013. http://www.albet.cu/valores
 “Cedula electrónica a la cubana,”
 “Principales irregularidades denunciadas
por Capriles en las elecciones del 14A” Globovision
April 16, 2013.
 “Las dudas del 14A” El
Universal, April 21, 2013.
 Treasury Targets Hizballah in Venezuela, US Department
of the Treasury, June 18, 2008.
*Jennifer Hernandez is a Research Assistant
at the Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies, University
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