The infamous global government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations is under fire again after its director of Latin American studies, Julia Sweig, was exposed thanking convicted terrorists in her book, calling for more brazen attacks on the Second Amendment, and having myriad close associations with Castro’s brutal communist dictatorship ruling over Cuba. Some prominent analysts, even a former military official charged with tracking Cuban-regime spies, have suggested that Sweig is actually an “agent of influence” for the autocracy in Havana. The implications are enormous.
For one, the fact that the immensely powerful CFR would employ Sweig sheds additional light on the organization, as well as on various disturbing trends that The New American magazine has been highlighting for years — particularly the ongoing takeover of Latin America by a closely knit network of autocratic, Castro-friendly socialist regimes and forces. This network, the Foro de São Paulo (FSP or São Paulo Forum), now dominates regional politics south of the U.S. border. It was founded by despot Fidel Castro, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, the Sandinistas, and an array of Marxist narco-terrorist groups.
The U.S. government, meanwhile, which according to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actually gets its orders from the CFR, has been linked to the so-called “pink tide” in more than a few ways. Among them: concealing the resurgence of communism in Latin America and overtly aiding some of the regimes at the heart of the FSP with billions of American tax dollars. Indeed, analysts say the Obama administration and previous administrations have been crucial to letting the Communist Chinese and Russian-backed dictatorial network expand its power unmolested.
Details about Sweig, who also serves as the CFR’s “Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies,” were reported most recently by Charles Johnson at the online Daily Caller in an explosive article headlined "‘Nation’s most influential foreign-policy think tank’ employs pro-terrorist Castro follower." However, as far back as 2010, prominent analysts, such as author and Cuban exile Humberto Fontova, who wrote The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro, were publicly exposing the scandalous revelations.
Among the damning points highlighted by Sweig critics is the fact that she praised convicted Cuban terrorists in the acknowledgements for her book, Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground. “In Cuba many people spent long hours with me, helped open doors I could not have pushed through myself, and offered friendship and warmth to myself during research trips to the island…. Elsa Montero and Jose Gomez Abad championed this project,” Sweig wrote, referring to two Cuban-regime terrorists whose 1962 plot to murder thousands of innocent Americans with bombs in New York was foiled just in time by the FBI.
“No ‘scholar’ in modern American history thanks six different Stalinist spies and terrorists in the acknowledgments to their book, three of whom were expelled from the U.S. for terrorism and/or espionage,” noted Fontova in a 2010 Breitbart piece exposing Sweig. “And no other scholar’s website references as an authority a Communist spy convicted for the same crimes as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and currently serving 25 years in a U.S. maximum security prison.”
Another remarkable admission regarding Sweig’s links to the Castro regime came from journalist Jeffrey Goldberg with The Atlantic. The two writers visited Cuba in 2010, and reportedly thanks to Sweig, Goldberg was able to secure an exclusive interview with the tyrant himself. “We shook hands,” Goldberg wrote about the meeting with Fidel Castro, one of the world’s most notorious mass-murderers. “Then he greeted Julia warmly. They (Castro and Sweig) have known each other for more than twenty years.”
Indeed, Sweig’s connections to the regime and the broader pro-Castro movement are so extensive that retired Lt. Col. Chris Simmons of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), whose job involved uncovering and foiling Communist Cuban plots, publicly identified her as an “agent of influence” for the dictatorship. According to news reports, Lt. Col. Simmons helped stop the operations of an estimated 80 enemy agents — many of whom remain imprisoned today for their crimes. Sweig, however, remains at the CFR, perhaps under the impression that her establishment credentials make her immune.
Other evidence on Sweig’s radical views and activities, such as what the Daily Caller referred to as her “pro-Che Guevara, pro-Castro dissertation,” also shows that she was granted special access to the Cuban regime’s files — an impossible feat for objective scholars. “Between 1995 and 1997 the Cuba Council of State, the highest governmental body in Cuba, permitted Julia Sweig unprecedented access to the archival holdings of the Office of Historic Affairs,” notes the abstract of her dissertation, entitled “The Cuban Insurrection Declassified: Strategy and Politics in Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, 1957-1959.”
Meanwhile, a brief review of Sweig’s writings for the CFR would suggest that she still lives in an alternate universe when it comes to Cuba — a world in which the long-oppressed Cuban people actually believe the lies propagated by their ruthless communist overlords. Just this summer, she referred to Fidel Castro as the “longtime president” of Cuba. “Cubans have not revolted, and their national identity remains tied to the defense of the homeland against U.S. attacks on its sovereignty,” Sweig claimed in an earlier CFR article about “Fidel’s Final Victory.”
Her claims appear weak, at best. This reporter has spoken with dozens of Cubans — including some who still live on the island, and others who managed to escape the terror by fleeing to Miami — and not a single one has ever suggested that their “national identity” was tied to the defense of the “homeland” against U.S. attacks. Indeed, despite the non-stop propaganda, even Cubans who still live there say the regime has transformed the island into a sort of open-air concentration camp ruled by brutality, terror, and fear.
Before working for the CFR, Sweig was at the Institute for Policy Studies, an outfit with a long and sordid history of advocacy on behalf of mass-murdering communist regimes. According to 1977 comments by Rep. Larry McDonald (D-Ga.) in the Congressional Record, the IPS, “is a consortium of Marxist New Leftists organizing for a 'new economic and political world order' and an America neutralized as a world power through a variety of tactics.” Other members of Congress have also gone on record calling the self-styled “source of radical scholarship” think tank a subversive communist front.
Sweig has also worked at the Arca Foundation, described by analysts as the “pro-Castro lobby’s sugar daddy.” The foundation, which also helps fund the CFR itself, has funneled huge sums of money to pro-Castro organizations and front groups. “Founded by a tobacco heiress, Arca has been on the cutting edge of radical left-wing causes, embracing Fidel Castro’s Cuba, the Palestinian cause, Saul Alinsky-inspired community organizing, and the never-ending social justice campaigns of the Left,” noted Matthew Vadum, senior editor at Capital Research Center and author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.
Of course, as The New American and its predecessor publications have been documenting for decades, the CFR represents the U.S. branch of the global establishment, with its affiliates playing similar roles in other countries. Virtually every presidential administration going back decades, for instance, has been dominated by CFR members — regardless of political party. The Obama administration is no exception, with numerous CFR members serving in the Cabinet.
The CFR has consistently worked to create bigger and more powerful government while dismantling national sovereignty around the world. Its tentacles reach across the globe. So, it is hardly surprising, especially considering ongoing developments in Latin America, to discover that the CFR’s Latin America chief would be such an ardent supporter of the very same forces quietly but effectively working to foist tyranny on the peoples of South and Central America while smashing nationhood under the guise of “integration.” In fact, it is nothing new.
“Sweig's intimacy with the Cuban government underscores the long-term continuity of CFR policy,” James Perloff, author of The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline, told The New American. “When Fidel Castro was only a fledgling revolutionary, it was CFR member Herbert L. Matthews's articles in the New York Times that persuaded Americans that Castro was an ‘anti-communist’ and democratic leader. This paved the way for Castro's rise to power, with its brutal dictatorship and Soviet missiles aimed at America.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Olavo de Carvalho, an internationally acclaimed Brazilian author and philosopher who has played a key role in exposing the shadowy FSP network founded by Castro and other Latin American revolutionaries, told The New American that the outfit “would never have accumulated so much power if its activities had been denounced from the outset.” For over a decade and a half, though, big media and the establishment in Latin America and the United States have “refused to touch upon the subject, handing to the strategists of the communist revolution the protection of silence.”
“Some of them, as the expert in Brazilian affairs [and former Latin American studies director] at the Council of Foreign Relations, Kenneth Maxwell, even openly denied the existence of the Forum,” Prof. Carvalho continued in a 2010 interview. “For several decades now, the attitude of the American government in the area has been ambiguous, to say the least.”
The U.S. government, though, is very much aware of what is going on. “The Department of State is well informed about the Sao Paulo forum and its Brazilian leadership,” Prof. Carvalho added. “When it supports Lula under the pretext that he is ‘a moderate,’ in contrast with the ‘radical’ Hugo Chavez, it is actually camouflaging the real danger so that it may grow sheltered from the sight of any intruder.”
Indeed, Lula’s handpicked successor as Brazilian president from his radical political party, Dilma Rousseff, has been regularly praised by Sweig in a series of recent CFR articles. However, now, even a U.S. ambassador has decided to speak out about the Brazilian government, the FSP, and the true agenda behind the scheming, which is becoming increasingly obvious by the day.
The Castro regime, meanwhile, continues to grow more powerful as it works with its allies behind the scenes to foist socialist tyranny on Latin America — all with the help of the CFR and Sweig, it appears. Most recently, the dictatorship was selected to lead the Communist Chinese-backed regional integration scheme known as CELAC, which includes every government and tyrant in the hemisphere except the United States and Canada.
The CFR’s “Latin American Studies” director has policy advice for the U.S. government: Work “together” with the Cuban dictatorship on “environmental” and “security” challenges. Sweig also recently called for an intensified attack on the gun rights of Americans under the bogus guise of fighting violence south of the border — much of which can be directly traced to Castro and Marxist terror groups supported by the Cuban regime. “The Obama administration can still take executive action to reduce the availability and trafficking of assault weapons and ammunition in the Americas,” Sweig claimed, promoting fingerprinting of gun owners and other measures.
Instead of following Sweig’s radical proposals, the U.S. government should immediately stop sending any foreign aid to the region — especially to ruthless regimes working fiendishly to extinguish the last vestiges of liberty in Latin America. Rather than tolerating further assaults on the unalienable rights of law-abiding gun owners, meanwhile, the American people ought to educate themselves and their representatives on the CFR and the U.S. Constitution. Real solutions would then become obvious.
Photo of the Pratt House, home of the Council on Foreign Relations
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe after growing up in Latin America. He can be reached at