Cuban spies received secret messages by old-time short-wave
By Juan O. Tamayo
A second Cuban spy station transmits 16 messages per week in the dots and dashes of the 175-year-old Morse code – secret messages to Havana spies who may be older or less technologically savvy.
Sixteen years after the arrests in Miami of five Cuban spies who got their secret orders by short wave transmissions, Havana is still using a system that fell out of favor in the cloak-and-dagger world with the end of the Cold War.
There are many more modern and efficient ways of communicating secrets by using satellites, burst transmissions, one-time emails and other means, said Chris Simmons, a retired Pentagon counter-intelligence officer who specialized on Cuban affairs.
It transmits 11 to 14 messages per day, a total of 96 per week, on the same schedule each week but using a dozen different short wave frequencies, said Chris Smolinski, 41, a Maryland software engineer who monitors the spy stations as a hobby.
Cuba’s most famous numbers station, known as “Atención” because of the opening line of the deadpan female voice in Spanish that started its transmissions, went off the air just late last year, Smolinski.
The lack of any accent in the voice of the Atención station was explained in December by Jorge García Vázquez, a Cuban in Berlin who has been researching the links between Havana and the STASI, the former East Germany’ intelligence service.A Jan. 10 1977 letter in the STASI archives shows Cuban intelligence Maj. Eddy Herrera had requested the equipment for a numbers station, preloaded with the Spanish words for one through zero, Attention, Goodbye and Final, Garcia Vázquez reported.