Russia to Reopen Spy Center in Cuba

The Lourdes spying center. Photo: www.contrainjerencia.com
The Lourdes spying center. Photo: www.contrainjerencia.com

HAVANA TIMES — Russia will reopen its electronic spying center in Cuba as the island once again assists its old ally in its renewed dispute with the United States, reports the EFE news agency.

The agreement to make Cuba an outpost in Russian spying on the USA was reached during the visit Friday July 11th of President Vladimir Putin to Havana, EFE quotes the Russian daily Kommersant.

The Lourdes base was closed 13 years ago due to the economic crunch in Russia at that time and the repeated requests from the United States.

“Our relations (with the US) deteriorated considerably well before the crisis in the Ukraine. In reality, they never really improved, except for some specific periods which have been the exception to the rule,” said a senior Russian official to explain the revived interest of Moscow to monitor communications from Washington.

The Russian parliament recently pardoned 90% of Cuba’s 38.5 billion dollar debt dating back to the now defunct Soviet Union.
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Editors Note: The following day Russian  President Vladimir Putin says the base will not be reopened

 

  • Griffin

    In July 2000, the US House passed the Russian-American Trust and Cooperation Act, which banned Washington from rescheduling or forgiving any Russian debt to the US, unless the facility in Lourdes is shut down.

    Moscow did so in 2001 and also closed its military base in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh, with both moves reported as major steps to address Americans’ concerns.

    Alas today, thanks to the feckless foreign policy of the weak and ineffectual US president Barack Obama, the Russians feel free to re-open the base. Hillary’s “reset” photo-op was a pathetic joke.

  • Moses Patterson

    I understand clearly what Russia gets out of this. Re-opening this listening post is Putin’s tit-for-tat response to the influence the US has exerted in the Ukraine. But to what advantage does this facility serve the Cuban people? The Castros have ‘whored’ themselves to the Russians before. What good did it do them? Oh yea, they got that ‘beautiful’ Russian embassy in Miramar. On the other hand, albeit a minor issue, this facility is just another pebble in the shoe that impedes normalizing relations with Cuba’s most important neighbor. This decision is analogous to the decision Fidel made to introduce the CUC to the Cuban economy. He did so in large measure to response to the passage of Helms-Burton. Now, nearly 20 years later, Raul is left with undoing this disastrous economic policy at the risk of triggering Venezuelan-style inflation. There will come a day, should this facility reopen, that the then current leader of Cuba will have to decide between going forward with improving relations with the US or maintaining an agreement with a regional power like Russia.

    • Terry Downey

      “On the other hand, albeit a minor issue, this facility is just another pebble in the shoe that impedes normalizing relations with Cuba’s most important neighbor.”

      As long as the US maintains their current policies aimed at Cuba, the US is not their most important neighbor. For the US to be their most important neighbor, the US would have to start acting that way first.

      • Griffin

        With Cuba importing more an more food from the US, the quickly growing numbers of tourists from the US (on so-called people-to-people tours) and most significantly, the $2 billion annually coming from remittances from Cuban-Americans, the US is the most important neighbour. That importance will only continue to grow.

        • Terry Downey

          As long as the US government is still at war with Cuba, I disagree. To be Cuba’s most important neighbor implies fully normalized relations…something the US government (and some here) adamently oppose. There is absolutely nothing “neighborly” about US government policy aimed at destabilizing Cuba. Is it any wonder why Cuba still continues to seek more respectful relations?

          • Griffin

            You make a good point about the negative aspects of the US-Cuba relationship, which are perhaps of greater significance than the positive. Still, the total impact of the US, for good and bad, makes the USA Cuba’s most important neighbour. Russia is an offset, but not a replacement.

          • Moses Patterson

            Don’t confuse the difference between “most important” and “most congenial”. The Castros’ continued tyrannical hold over the Cuban people triggers the ongoing icy nature of US/Cuban relations. However the negative aspects of this relationship don’t make the relationship any less important.

        • Bob Michaels

          I am seeing a large and growing disconnect between the Cuban government and the Cuban people. While Russia may be important to the Cuban government, I see no connection to the Cuban people. The Cuban people’s connection is to the US because of the large amount of direct remittances, last year some $2.8 billion which is 2 1/2 times the total payroll of the Cuban government. Then there is the $2 billion of goods that some 635,000 US visitors bring into Cuba.

          The struggles of the Cuban people are economic. While the root cause of the Cuban economic problems are political, the Cuban people want immediate relief. Currently that relief is coming from abroad, predominantly the US. If a Cuban is not receiving remittances, they typically know someone who is. Imagine getting an $18 monthly paycheck from the Cuban government and a $100 a month remittance from a overseas relative. Your allegiances are obvious.

          I see the Cuban government implementing “reform” in an attempt to slow down the rate of them becoming economically insignificant. But the government knows it is losing that battle.

          So the Russians are re-opening a spy base in Cuba. Who really cares? Technology has made geographical adjacency much less important so it is not that big a deal to US security. It means nothing to 11 million Cubans. It was a short article on page 7 of my US newspaper today. It is only something that Putin and Castro can boast about while they must ignore the fact that no one is listening.

          • Griffin

            That’s an interesting perspective.

            “While Russia may be important to the Cuban government, I see no connection to the Cuban people.

            …Your allegiances are obvious.”

            This dynamic must be very much in the thoughts of the ruling elite, who see their control of the people ebbing away. They attempt to compensate with speeches, which the people tune out, and increased repression of dissidents.

            I believe the regime is grasping at straws. Their time is coming to an end.

  • Casey Strong

    Perhaps this can help to offset the Global spying done to all of us by the NSA. Or if not at least it shows not everyone is willing to roll over and let America sodomize them.

    • Kevin

      Yeah because obviously the NSA is the only one who conducts cyber espionage. It’s not like China and Russia also do the same exact things.

    • Hugo

      So naïve and so anti-American. You really think you will be better off with your private data in the hands of the Cuban DGE and the Russian FSB? Think again…they will unhesitatingly blackmail or extort you if they think they have the info to leverage you into giving them information.

  • Kevin

    Any and all talks we are now holding with Cuba should end indefinitely until Cuba decides to stop being a pawn for Russia. Any and all trade with Cuba should also end indefinitely including any food or medical supplies we send them. Let them pay an arm and a leg to get that stuff from Russia. We should also increase spying on Cuba drastically. Then we should begin talks to build a modern missile defense system in eastern Europe targeted at Russia in response to this brazen anti-American act.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Kevin, the proposals you make would only penalise the suffering people of Cuba. They would not affect the comforts of the Castro Ruz family one iota.
      What you are suggesting is to ramp up the anti-them actions of the US thus fortifying the suspicions that many of the allies already have about US policies. The US has got enough problems already with the incompetent CIA – example the relationship with Germany which has just chucked out the Head of the CIA in Germany. Look where a mistaken policy of fire power took the US in Vietnam. They were advised in the late fifties to use the methods successfully used by the British in the ten year long Malayan campaign, but instead used their much vaunted “fire power” . Sixty eight thousand American lives later they lost. The real battle is for the hearts and minds of people and knee-jerk reaction to use force as the answer is not usually successful. The US cannot stop Putin’s Russia from establishing a naval base in Cuba, nor can it prevent Russia from having a joint air base with Argentina to meddle in the Antarctic. Although I am totaly opposed to the Castro regime