Monday, July 21, 2014

Same old Cuba

Same old Cuba
By The Tribune-Review
Sunday, July 20, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Are those who would normalize U.S. relations with Cuba intelligent
enough to decode the signal being sent by an agreement to reopen a
Russian "signals intelligence" base there?

Cuban dictator Raul Castro and Russian President Vladimir Putin
reportedly struck the deal in Havana this month (though Mr. Putin later
denied it). Russia supposedly gets to reopen the electronic spying post;
Cuba gets off the hook for about 90 percent of its Soviet-era debt to
Russia — about $32 billion, according to The New York Times.

Ironically, debt played a role in Mr. Putin's closure of the base in
2001 — because Congress linked its abandonment with restructuring of
Russian foreign debt. Technological updates to the listening post in
Lourdes, outside Havana and about 150 miles from Florida, could bolster
its former capabilities.

At its height, says The Times, Lourdes monitored the U.S. Navy, the U.S.
space program and "microwave transmissions of telephone conversations in
the southeastern United States" while facilitating communications with
Russian spies in America. Heading Cuba's armed forces in 1993, Mr.
Castro claimed Lourdes then produced 75 percent of Russia's strategic
intelligence on the U.S.

Questions abound over what's left of the old Lourdes facility and to
what extent it can or will be constituted, given Russia's struggling
economic situation. Thus, whether this spate of power projection is real
or faux remains difficult to discern. But the signal for Castro
apologists should be that the more things appear to change in Cuba, the
more they stay the same.

Source: Same old Cuba | TribLIVE -

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