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Cards about the Panama Incident

Ask yourself a simple question


how many debate camps in the world would have an afterlab with processed evidence on a subject like this only 24 hours after it took place ?... Enthusiasm is contagious.

Will hurt ties


( ) Alt cause Panama episode hurts US-Cuba ties
Orsi 13
(Peter Associated Press correspondent in Havana since 2011 The Associated Press, July 17, 2013 lexis)

Panama's seizure of the freighter, which saw its North Korean captain try to commit suicide and 35 crewmen arrested after resisting police efforts to intercept the ship in Panamanian waters, was badly timed for officials working on baby steps toward a limited detente between the U.S. and Cuba. High-ranking Cubans were in Washington on Wednesday for migration talks that are supposed to be held every six months but have been on ice since January 2011, as the nations remain at odds on issues like Cuba's imprisonment of U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross. "I don't think you can sugarcoat this," said Ted Piccone, senior fellow and deputy director for foreign policy at the Washington-based Brookings Institution. "You have a suspicious cargo of weapons going to a heavily sanctioned state, and this is bad for U.S.-Cuba relations. The timing, the same week as the restart couldn't be worse." In the past those discussions have provided a rare opportunity to discuss other issues informally in one of the few open channels of dialogue between the countries. U.S. and Cuban representatives last month also sat down for talks on resuming direct mail service. Earlier this year, a U.S. judge allowed a convicted Cuban intelligence agent to return to the island rather than complete his parole in the United States. And there have been whispers that Washington could remove Cuba from its annual list of state sponsors of terrorism. On Tuesday, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, urged a suspension of the migration talks. " At a minimum this
of long postponed migration talks,

development will decrease the chances of any change in U.S. policy," Piccone said. "Or at least postpone changes that have been discussed quietly and publicly for some time in Washington."

( ) Alt cause Panama episode hurts US-Cuba ties


Orsi 13
(Peter Associated Press correspondent in Havana since 2011 The Associated Press, July 17, 2013 lexis)

Cuba's admission that it was secretly sending aging weapons systems to North Korea has turned the global spotlight on a little-known link in a secretive network of rusting freighters and charter jets that moves weapons to and from North Korea despite U.N. sanctions. The revelation that Cuba was shipping the arms , purportedly to be repaired and returned, is certain to jeopardize slowly warming ties between the U.S. and Havana , although the extent of the damage remains uncertain. Experts said Cuba's participation in the clandestine arms network was a
puzzling move that promised little military payoff for the risk of incurring U.N. penalties and imperiling detente with Washington.

( ) Will affect US-Cuba ties

Eulich 13
Whitney Eulich is the Monitor's Latin America editor, overseeing regional coverage for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She also curates the Latin America Monitor Blog. Christian Science Monitor July 17th http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorismsecurity/2013/0717/North-Korea-missiles-Cache-of-obsolete-Cuban-weapons-seized-from-North-Korean-ship-video Bruce Bechtol, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, told USA Today that

this was the first confirmed shipment of weaponry from Cuba to North Korea since the end of the Cold War . Some observers say the seizure could impact slowly warming US-Cuban relations. Last month the cold war enemies discussed resuming direct mail services, which have been suspended since 1963, and migration talks were slated to begin today in Washington, according to an Associated Press story published last month.

Wont hurt US-Cuba ties


Wont affect US-Cuba ties
Thompson 13
Nick Thompson, CNN reporter, internally quoting Mike Elleman, Senior Fellow for Regional Security Cooperation at IISS, CNN July 17, 2013 http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/17/world/panama-cuban-missile-crisis/index.html
As Panamanian authorities continue to search the Chong Chon Gang -- a freighter with its own checkered past -they are asking the U.S. and United Kingdom to send teams to help them identify the weapons, and will invite a special commission from the United Nations to determine whether the shipment violates the organization's North Korea weapons ban. In

the meantime, experts don't expect the episode will have a lasting effect diplomatically on either country -North Korea is already "sanctioned to the hilt," says Ellemann, and Cuba's relations with the U.S. are thawing after decades of tension. "There are a good number of people who believe that the sanctions against Cuba are very outdated and that it's just a matter of time before they're lifted, and I don't see this changing that,"
Ellemann told CNN.

Cuba is a threat
( ) Panama episode proves Cuba is a threat to US National Security
IBD 13
(Investors Business Daily Editorial Staff July 17, 2013 lexis)

Cuba, long derided in international policy circles as a basket case and no threat to the U.S., has been caught smuggling weapons of war to North Korea in blatant violation of U.N. sanctions. This is a wake-up call.
Sharp-eyed Panamanian authorities, watching the North Korean freighter Chong Chon Gang since June, received intelligence it might be shipping illegal drugs, something it had been caught doing before. As the vessel lumbered into the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal from Cuba, Panamanian authorities cornered the 450-foot rust-bucket, battled a maniacally violent crew who slashed ship lines to make it hard to unload the ship, and then watched as the ship's captain tried to kill himself before having a heart attack. After subduing the crew, the Panamanians found no drugs buried beneath sloppily packed brown sugar, but did find defensive RSN-75 "Fan Song" fire-control radar equipment for SA-2 surface-to-air missiles. The discovery, and the crew's behavior, were signs of something big the North Koreans didn't want known -- weapons smuggling, a violation of both United Nations sanctions prohibiting all sales of weapons to North Korea and Panama's own laws governing the canal. "You cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal," declared Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, a U.S. ally, who tweeted a photo of the illegal shipment for the world to see. It's significant that the enabler of this violation of international law was none other than Cuba, which has worked hard to convince the Obama administration to drop all travel and trade sanctions against it -- and which is currently negotiating a migration pact with the U.S. It's time to stop that right now, and sanction Cuba further. The

brazen shipment of Russian-made weapons through Panama signaled that little has changed in Cuba -- a state sponsor of global terror that has in fact been trying to destroy the U.S. since 1962. "This is
a serious and alarming incident that reminds us that the North Korean regime continues to pursue its nuclear and ballistic programs, and will stop at nothing in that pursuit," said House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. "It also illustrates that the Castro tyranny continues to aid and abet America's enemies and continues to pose a national security threat to the United States so long as the Castro apparatchik holds control over the island." It's also the

work of a rogue state. And at just 90 miles away, one that is as chillingly close to our shores as it is warm and friendly to North Korea. And yet -- the
relationship is nothing new. Cuba and North Korea are the world's only two remaining totalitarian communist states. The New York Times initially suggested the two tyrannies' relations had gotten closer in recent years as a result of U.S. sanctions. In reality, the nations' tight ties go back to the first days of Fidel Castro's regime in 1959. Cuban-American writer Humberto Fontova posted photos of Castro and North Korea's dictators, dating from 1960, on Babalublog.com. And when Chile's military freed that country from the communist regime of Salvador Allende in 1973, General Augusto Pinochet's first diplomatic move was to cut ties with Cuba and North Korea. Why? Both had infiltrated the country with tens of thousands of "advisers" working in tandem with the Castro-controlled Allende regime. Although it's unknown why North Korea, a major weapons exporter, is importing weapons from Cuba right now, defense analysts speculate that the weapons may be making their way back to Pyongyang for an upgrade and return to Cuba. That would be worrisome given that North

Korea has said it means to strike the U.S. on its own home turf. What better launching pad could it ask for than Cuba?
Two weeks ago, North Korea's military commander visited Cuba to a red-carpet welcome. The visit raises questions as to what the two discussed -- and, given the threat we see now, whether U.S. intelligence was aware of it. Whatever

this is about, it's a threat to the U.S. that requires far harder sanctions from both the U.S. and the United Nations.

Cuba not a threat


( ) Panama episode prove Cuba is not a military threat.
Kriel 13
Lomi Kriel Reuters reporter quoting Hal Klepak, a history professor at the Royal Military College of Canada Sun Sentinel 7:40 p.m. EDT, July 17, 2013 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sns-rt-us-panama-northkorea-20130715,0,2757167.story?page=2 According to Cuba, the

weapons on the ship included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. Servicing of weapons would also be in breach of the arms embargo imposed on North Korea sanctions. A U.N. resolution
adopted in 2009 says the embargo applies to "all arms and related materiel, as well as to financial transactions, technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of such arms, except for small arms and light weapons." U.S. Democratic lawmaker Robert Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement condemning Cuba, saying it needed very careful monitoring. "The shipment ... is a grave violation of international treaties," he said. "Weapons transfers from one communist regime to another hidden under sacks of sugar are not accidental ... and reinforces the necessity that Cuba remain on the State Department's list of countries that sponsor state terrorism." Hal

Klepak, a history professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said Cuba was "using weapons and equipment of staggeringly old vintage" and that the Pentagon had long since written off the island as a military threat. Since Cuba's military doctrine was designed to deter any attack, it needs to maintain the arms it has, he added. "Cuba cannot afford to buy anything newer and does not have repair facilities of its own for such needs. Thus if it is not to scrap,
for example, the aircraft entirely, it must repair and potentially update them in some areas," Klepak said.

Politics Ros-Lehtinen Link


( ) Ros-Lehtinen wants zero-engagement with Cuba until the Panama episode

is explained.
Ros-Lehtinen 13
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, Congressional Documents and Publications July 16, 2013 lexis U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding the revelation that a ship from Cuba headed to North Korea contained sophisticated missile equipment. Statement "The

by Ros-Lehtinen: fact that missile equipment was caught being shipped from Cuba to North Korea reaffirms the dangerous threats faced by our nation due to the nefarious activities by these two rogue regimes. This revelation confirms once again that Pyongyang must be re-designated on the State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) list as
it continues to cooperate with the Cuban regime, a designated SST country, in order to undermine U.S. interests. This is a serious and alarming incident that reminds us that the North Korean regime continues to pursue its nuclear and ballistic programs, and will stop at nothing in that pursuit. It also illustrates that the Castro tyranny continues to aid and abet America's enemies and continues to pose a national security threat to the United States as long as the Castro apparatchik holds control over the island. I commend President Martinelli and his law enforcement officials in Panama for doing their due diligence and inspecting this ship carefully. This

incident should serve as a wakeup call to the Administration, which over the past few months has been leading an apparent effort to normalize relations with Cuba, that it cannot continue to engage the Castro regime . I call on the Department of State to immediately cease its migration talks this week with the Cuban regime until it provides clear and coherent answers regarding this incident."

And She hates Venezuela and brings in the Israel lobby


Madsen, 11
Wayne Madsen, Investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. Has some twenty years experience in security issues. As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. He has been a frequent political and national security commentator on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and MS-NBC. He has been invited to testify as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an terrorism investigation panel of the French government. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club., 6/20/11, http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/06/20/the-outsourcing-of-influence-peddling-to-the-israelilobby.html

The confluence of the Israel Lobby with pressure groups such as those that support the Saakashvili regime in Georgia is not an isolated situation. Before the rise to power of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in
Turkey, Israel could rely on the support of successive Turkish governments. Turkey, in turn, established its own Washington-based lobbying group, the American Turkish Council, which was modeled on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It was recently learned from Turkish government officials in Washington that the secret network of Turkish military officers, politicians, intelligence officers, professors, and journali sts known as Ergenekon, which plotted a series of coups against independent-minded Turkish governments, was a construct of the CIA and Mossad. An in-depth investigation of the Ergenekon network conducted by the Turkish intelligence service discovered that many of the key players in Ergenekon were Dnme, the descendants of Turkish Jews who converted to Islam and, to varying degrees, now practice a combination of Kabbalah Judaism and Islamic Sufism while remaining secular and Turkish nationalist in the mold of

the Israel Lobby has made common cause with the right-wing Cuban exile community in Florida, which has become as influential in the politics of south Florida as the many Jews and Israelis who live there. The convergence of interests of pro-Israelis and Cuban Gusano exiles can best be seen in the current chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who
Turkish state founder Kemal Ataturk. Similarly,

represents a congressional district in south Florida. Ros-Lehtinen, who is of Cuban Jewish descent

, is one of AIPACs and the ADLs best

friends in Congress . She is also a vociferous opponent of the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua, both of which have severed diplomatic
relations with Israel and have recognized the independence of Abkhazia, to the dismay of Israel, AIPAC, and the ADL. While Ros-Lehtinen rattles sabers against Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and other Latin American nations that have recognized Palestine within its 1967 borders, she supports continued U.S. military assistance to Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama, Israe ls last four remaining allies in Latin America. Ros -Lehtinen, while decrying alleged human rights abuses in Venezuela and Nicaragua, is silent on actual abuses in Colombia, where Israelis rou tinely supply weapons and advisers to the government in its inhumane war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), peasants, and labor unionists. The trial in New York of Russian air

the strategic alliance between Israel, its U.S. Lobby, and the right-wing Latin American exiles and intelligence operatives who call Miami their home. The
cargo services owner Viktor Bout for allegedly trying to sell weapons to the FARC is one outcome of conviction and imprisonment of former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, considered a major agent-of-influence for Israel in Russia and a one-time potential President of Russia, has placed Russia in the same category as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Abkhazia, Turkey, and other nations that

have incurred the ire of

the Israel Lobby

either directly or via outsourcing deals made with strategic allies such as the Georgians, Cuban exiles, or, now, in the case of Turkey,

the Armenians. In the past, AIPAC always ensured that Armenian genocide resolutions failed in the U.S. Congress, a payback for Turkeys support for Israel. With Turkey adopting an independent foreign policy, AIPAC and the ADL are now strategically allied with the Armenian lobby to push for Armenian genocide resolutions in Washington and elsewhere.

Israel lobby key to agenda


Petras, 6
(James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, 4/6, http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=7) The problem of war and peace in the Middle East and the role of the Israel lobby is too serious to be marginalized as an after-thought. Even more important the increasing censoring of free speech and erosion of our civil liberties, academic freedom by an aggressive lobby, with powerful legislative and White House backers is a threat to our already limited democracy. It is incumbent therefore to examine the fourteen erroneous theses of the highly respected Professor Chomsky in order to move ahead and confront the Lobby?s threats to peace abroad and civil liberties at home. Fourteen Theses Chomsky claims that the Lobby is just another lobby in Washington. Yet he fails to observe that the

lobby has secured the biggest Congressional majorities in favor of allocating three times the annual foreign aid designated to all of Africa, Asia and Latin America to Israel (over 100 billion dollars over the past 40 years). The Lobby has 150 full time functionaries working for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), accompanied by an army of lobbyists from all the major Jewish organizations (Anti-Defamation League, B?nai Brith, American Jewish Committee, etc) and the nation-wide, regional and local Jewish Federations which hew closely to the line of the majors and are active in policy and local opinion on Israel and promote and finance legislative candidates on the basis of their adherence to the Lobbys party line. No other lobby combines the wealth, grass roots networks, media access, legislative muscle and singleminded purpose of the pro-Israel lobby. Chomsky fails to analyze the near unanimous congressional majorities which yearly support all the pro-Israel military, economic, immigration privileges and aid promoted by the Lobby. He fails to examine the list of over 100 successful legislative initiatives publicized yearly by AIPAC even in years of budgetary crisis, disintegrating domestic health services and war induced military losses.

Its unique shes currently on-board for immigration reform.


LeoGrande, 12 William M. LeoGrande School of Public Affairs American University, Professor of Government and a specialist in Latin American politics and U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America, Professor LeoGrande has been a frequent adviser to government and private sector agencies, 12/18/12, http://www.american.edu/clals/upload/LeoGrande-Fresh-Start.pdf

But was Obama's success a harbinger of structural realignment in the Cuban-American community or merely a conjunctural product of Romney's flawed candidacy? The Republican ticket had its shortcomings. In 2007, candidate Romney famously ended a speech to stunned Cuban-Americans with Fidel Castro's signature closing, "Patria o muerte! Venceremos!" (Homeland or death! We shall overcome!). Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan had a record 8 of repeatedly voting in the House of Representatives to end the embargo against Cuba (on the libertarian grounds that the government should not impede free trade). "That did their ticket a lot of harm with Cubans, and allowed us to at least get a hearing with them about many other economic issues," an Obama campaign official said.9 Moreover, the Republican Party's antiimmigrant posture, which hurt it with Latino voters nationwide, hurt it with Cuban-American voters as well. The

state's most prominent national Republican elected officials Senator Marco Rubio, and Representatives Ileana RosLehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, all distanced themselves from their Party's hardline on immigration reform. In 1996, when Bill Clinton won 35% of the Cuban-American vote against Bob Dole, 10 the Republican Party was also hurt by its antiimmigration policy. That year, the Republican Platform supported making English the official language, advocated cutting off welfare for noncitizens, and deny citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens. Yet despite these 11 problems, there was growing evidence that Obama's gains might represent more than just Romney's weakness. Polling by Florida International University since 1991 has chronicled gradual changes in the Cuban-American community in south Florida, both demographically and attitudinally changes that, as they begin to manifest themselves in voting behavior, do not bode well for the Republican Party. The Cuban-American Electorate When FIU began polling CubanAmericans south Florida in 1991, 87% favored continuation of the U.S. embargo. By 2011, support had fallen to 56%. In 1993, 75% of respondents opposed the sale of food to Cuba and 50% opposed the sale of medicine. By 2011, solid majorities (65% and 75% respectively) supported both. In 1991, 55% opposed unrestricted travel to Cuba, whereas in 2011, 57% supported unrestricted travel for all Americans and 66% supported unrestricted travel for Cuban-Americans (Table 2). These changes in Cuban-American opinion were clearly linked to demographic changes in the community. Exiles who arrived in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s came as political refugees, motivated principally by their opposition to the socialist course of the revolution. Those who arrived in the Mariel exodus in 1980 and afterwards were more likely to have left for economic reasons. Recent arrivals, especially those who arrived in the post-cold war era, were far more likely to have maintained ties with family on the island. A 2007 poll of Cuban-Americans in south Florida found that 58.3% were sending remittances to Cuba, but fewer than half of those who arrived before 1985 were sending money, whereas three quarters of more recent arrivals were. The differences in age and experience among different waves of 12 migrants produced sharply different opinions about relations with the island, with more recent arrivals being far more likely to favor policies that reduce bilateral tensions and barriers to family linkages, especially the ability to travel and send remittances (Table 3).

Additional Ros-Lehtinen link ev


( ) Ros-Lehtinen link North Korea episode means shell especially backlash against Cuba.
IBD 13
(Investors Business Daily Editorial Staff July 17, 2013 lexis)

It's significant that the enabler of this violation of international law was none other than Cuba, which has worked hard to convince the Obama administration to drop all travel and trade sanctions against it -- and which is currently negotiating a migration pact with the U.S. It's time to stop that right now , and sanction Cuba further. The brazen shipment of Russian-made weapons through Panama signaled that little has changed in Cuba -- a state sponsor of global terror that has in fact been trying to destroy the U.S. since 1962. "This is a serious and alarming incident that reminds us that the North Korean regime continues to pursue its nuclear and ballistic programs, and will stop at nothing in that pursuit," said House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. "It also illustrates that the Castro tyranny continues to aid and abet America's enemies and continues to pose a national security threat to the United States so long as the Castro apparatchik holds control over the island ."

Politics Menendez
( ) Menendez link North Korea episode means hell especially backlash against Cuba.
Kriel 13
Lomi Kriel Reuters reporter quoting Menendez Sun Sentinel 7:40 p.m. EDT, July 17, 2013 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sns-rt-uspanama-northkorea-20130715,0,2757167.story?page=2

U.S. Democratic lawmaker Robert Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement condemning Cuba , saying it needed very careful monitoring. "The shipment ... is a grave violation of international treaties," he said. "Weapons transfers from one communist regime to another hidden under sacks of sugar are not accidental ... and reinforces the necessity that Cuba remain on the State Department's list of countries that sponsor state terrorism."

Politics Rubio
( ) Rubio link North Korea episode means hell especially backlash against Cuba.
Pascual and Shoichet 13
Castalia Pascual and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN reporters CNN July 17, 2013 http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/17/world/americas/panamanorth-korean-ship/index.html?hpt=hp_t1 In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Sen.

Marco Rubio of Florida, a frequent Cuban government critic, described the weapons shipment as a "flagrant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions." "I believe that this revelation, in addition to Cuba's failure to address its abysmal human rights record, should finally prompt the (Obama) administration to re-calibrate its misguided and naive Cuba policy," Rubio wrote. "The administration should immediately reverse its January 2011 decision easing restrictions on people-to-people travel and remittances sent to Cuba; as well as immediately halt granting visas to Cuban government officials."

Possible QPQ
Condition engagement on Cuba agreeing to stop military transfers to and from North Korea
Gibney 13
James Gibney is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board. Cuba's Brown Sugar of Mass Destruction Bloomberg View July 16th http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-16/cuba-s-brown-sugar-of-mass-destruction.html Panama's president, Ricardo Martinelli,

revealed yesterday in a radio interview and in Twitter posts that Panama had found "sophisticated missile equipment" on a North Korean ship bound homeward from Cuba. Such shipments would be a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1718, adopted in 2006 after one of North Korea's three nuclear tests. It forbids the import from or export to North Korea of most weapons
systems besides small arms. The blurry pictures of the illicit cargo, contained under a shipment of brown sugar, speak only to the cognoscenti. The weapons mavens at IHS issued a report saying that the containers probably held the fire-control radar for the SA-2 family of surface-to-air missiles, and speculated that the cargo was either a sale to North Korea or a shipment that was being sent for upgrading, with the brown sugar as payment. Full details on other parts of the cargo have yet to be released. The violent reaction of the crew and its captain -- who apparently tried to commit suicide -- suggest that the shipment was covert. If it does indeed violate UN sanctions, it is an ugly reminder of the real face of Cuba's leadership and its alliances with the world's worst malefactors. Although

the Cubans and North Koreans have had a fitful, and occasionally bizarre, relationship over the years, just two weeks ago the chief of staff of North Korea's army visited Havana. He probably wasn't there for the cigars. The Cubans should have their noses rubbed in this at the United Nations, at a minimum. And the Obama administration would be wise to demand an end to such transactions as an ironclad condition for any further improvement in relations.

Cuba-North Korea alliance


( ) Panama episode proves North Korea-Cuban alliance is forming now.
CSM 13
(Christian Science Monitor internally quoting Dongguk University professor Kim Yong-hyun. July 17, 2013 http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2013/0717/North-Korea-missiles-Are-North-Korea-and-Cuba-boosting-ties)

Cuba announced Wednesday that a ship seized in Panama was carrying "obsolete" Cuban missiles that were on their way for repair in North Korea, a sign that the two cold war era allies could be taking tangible steps toward boosting bilateral relations.
Officials in Panama reported that the ship, which was flying under a North Korean flag, was carrying 529,000 pounds of missile parts hidden among bags of brown sugar. The ships captain reportedly attempted suicide and the 35-member crew violently resisted Panamanian police as they boarded the ship in Colon City, Panama on Tuesday. Panamanian authorities detained the crew and have asked that United Nations investigators inspect the ship. As

two avowedly

socialist regimes, North Korea and Cuba have a history of cooperation. Though Cuba is now making moves toward introducing market mechanisms to its economy and coming out of isolation somewhat, North Korea has made no such reforms. The North Korean leadership does appear, however, interested in further developing partnerships that can reduce its reliance on China. Analysts say increasing cooperation with Cuba could be part of the Kim Jong-un regimes strategy of enhancing partnerships with other countries. Because of international sanctions, its hard for North Korea to d evelop new partnerships, so theyre more likely to boost ties with countries theyve been friendly with in the past , says
Dongguk University professor Kim Yong-hyun.