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US Intelligence Director Creates Position for Cuba, Venezuela Intelligence

The United States' director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, has created a new position to lead U.S. intelligence efforts regarding Cuba and Venezuela.

Negroponte's office announced the move on Friday. The United States also has special missions for intelligence on Iran and North Korea.

The statement said intelligence officer Patrick Maher will serve as Cuba-Venezuela mission manager until a permanent manager is named. The manager will be responsible for overseeing data collection and analysis, filling intelligence gaps, and putting intelligence strategies into place.

U.S. focus on Cuba policy has increased since last month, when leader Fidel Castro announced he was temporarily handing power to his brother and chosen successor while undergoing health care. Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez is an outspoken critic of U.S. leadership.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.