After presidents Obama and Raul Castro meet in Havana, the Cuban-Russian relationship went below radar of the mainstream media. Long before the historical meeting of two presidents, a Russian spy-ship docked at the port in Havana.While Obama and Castro discussed restoring a nore relationship, apparently Russia pursued the same agenda. It is not as though Cuba has to choose between US and Russia, allowing the two ex comunists countries to re-establish close ties could be serious missjudgement.
Russia may soon reopen the Lourdes signal intelligence center near Havana, Russia Today quoted a senior member of the State Duma Security Committee.“I think that in the nearest future we can restore the radio intelligence base in Lourdes that had been used first by the USSR and then by the Russian Federation,” MP Dmitry Gorovtsov (Fair Russia) said in comments to RIA Novosti.
According to Gorovtsov, the Russ-o-phobia and the neo-cold war as a result of the US pressure and anti-Russian sanctions, “cooperation with the Cuban Republic will develop in the direction of restoring the relations that our countries had up to mid-1980s.”
President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, however, refused to comment on reopening of the military base in Cuba.“I cannot tell you anything about the bases’ opening. The issue was not on the agenda,” Peskov said.In 1993, Raul Castro, then-Defense Minister of Cuba, said Russia received 75 percent of signal intelligence on America through Lourdes, Russia Today reported.The Lourdes spy base, AKA the SIGINT facility, opened in 1967, is the largest Soviet signal intelligence center abroad, Russia Today reported. It was a home of some 3,000 personnel and operatives throughout the Cold War.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, the base was downscaled, but remained operational until 2001 when United States asked that the Russian Federation to close Lourdes as a key condition for rescheduling or forgiving any Russian debt to the US.In July 2014, Russian business daily Kommersant reported that Russia had sealed a deal with Cuba to reopen the facility during Putin’s visit to Cuba. However, the Russian embassy in Cuba completely denied it, claiming the report was an attempt to blacken the improving relations between the united States and the Russian Federation.