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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lourdes, Cuba

Came across a story about Russia's Prime Minister visiting Cuba. I wanted to post an excerpt that covered the salient points, but there are a bunch of them, practically one in every other sentence, so we have more than just a short blurb:
    The effort was kicked off in February when Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that Moscow is canceling most of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt, estimated at close to $30 billion, while he denounced the U.S. embargo against the communist island nation.
    The closer ties also appear related to Russian efforts to maintain influence in the region after the death of leftist Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and the expected retirement of Cuban President Raul Castro in the coming months.
    Russian military ties with Cuba were bolstered during a visit to Havana in April by Russian Chief of Staff Gen. Valeri Gerasimov.
    U.S. officials said Gen. Gerasimov’s visit included stops at Cuban military and intelligence sites and was viewed as an indication that Moscow wants to step up both its military and intelligence presence in Cuba.
    During the Soviet period, the Russians operated a large electronic spying facility at Lourdes, near Havana, that was capable of intercepting most U.S. communications in the southeastern United States. It was less than 100 miles off the coast of Key West.
    Now there are signs that the Russians want to return to Lourdes for more electronic spying.
    The Russians also are assisting the Cubans economically with offshore oil prospecting, plans for a new international airport near Havana and deliveries of Russian passenger jets. - Bill Gertz in The Washington Times
Evidently Russia has recovered from their economic debacle and are feeling their oats once again. I went looking for pictures, hoping to find at least some satellite images of massive Russian antennae installations and found bupkis. The best I could come up with is this picture of the modern art sculpture on the Plaza Niemeyer at the Universidad de las Ciencias Inform├íticas, which is supposedly the former site of Russian's listening post. No sign of the town of Lourdes, if there ever was one.

The monster on the left is the USA, breathing fire (or maybe just bad breath) on poor little Cuba. And, yes, I suppose those tall thin things could be antennas disguised as light poles, but I think they really are just light poles.

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