Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Russia Ramping Up Cuba -- Cold War Redux

Deja vu! Russians arming Cuba's military
Plans include sensitive electronic eavesdropping station 90 miles from U.S.

Russia is offering to modernize Cuba's deteriorating weapons systems – installed when the former Soviet Union was expanding worldwide – and it also wants to reactivate a sensitive electronic eavesdropping station on the nearby island at Lourdes, use Cuba as a base to refuel its bombers and a port to replenish supplies on its warships, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

These developments emerged following the visit to Cuba in late September by Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the Russian General Staff. Makarov met with Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana.

Cuba's Soviet-made military equipment has been falling apart. After an assessment, the Russian military has decided to undertake a comprehensive modernization. In addition, the Cuban army also will receive Russian military training....

...in August 2008 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared that Russia needed to rebuild its links to the Cuban island.

He was careful not to say that Russia was establishing bases in Cuba, even though Moscow apparently intends to use the Caribbean island as a potential refueling stop for its nuclear-capable bombers and for ports of call for its warships.

Then Russian Air Force chief Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev in March 2009 had made it clear that Cuba, as well as Venezuela, could be used to base Russia's strategic bombers, although the Kremlin was quick to add at the time that such a development was "hypothetical."

"We need to reestablish positions on Cuba and in other countries," Putin said.

The moves have been developing for some time. In December 2008 a group of Russian warships, headed by the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, visited.