>Cuba is a unique place to gather intelligence on the United States. I believe that the reopening of this station [Lourdes] is both possible and necessary amid the threat that the Americans are creating for Russia. Russia has every right to respond.
— Alexander Pikayev, World Economics and International Relations Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences; quoted by Novosti, July 23, 2008
In response to this past Monday’s article in the Russian daily Izvestia, related to the Kremlin’s alleged plans for stationing or refueling its strategic bombers in Cuba, former Cuban president Fidel Castro, who is still communist party chief, issued a cryptic comment to the effect that his country owes no apologies to Washington over the report. “We need not offer any explanations or excuses nor ask forgiveness,” he wrote at cubadebate.cu. Under the title “Macciavelli’s Strategy,” Castro asserted that the USA has adopted the following strategy with Cuba: “If you say yes, I’ll kill you. If you say no, it doesn’t matter, I’ll kill you anyway. That is the Machiavellian strategy the United States uses with Cuba.” In short, Castro neither denies nor confirms the accuracy of the story, which the Russian Defense Ministry officially rejects. Fidel’s younger brother Raul became president of Cuba in February.
Pictured above: Then President (now Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin and Castro stand together during the former’s official welcoming ceremony outside Havana’s Palace of the Revolution on December 14, 2000.
Bloomberg reports today that the original Izvestia story included references to Venezuela and Algeria, as well as Cuba: “‘Bombers can be deployed to bases in Cuba, Venezuela or Algeria at any time,’ Izvestia said. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky denied . . . [the] Izvestia report. ‘There’s no truth in it,” he said by telephone, calling the report ‘a fairy tale.”’
As we previously posted, US General Norton Schwartz, nominated to be the air force’s chief of staff, responded on Tuesday to the Izvestia story, which cites a “highly placed” source in the Russian military aviation establishment, by declaring that if the Kremlin pursues this course, then “I think we should stand strong and indicate that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America.” The AFP news agency reports below:
Fidel Castro says no excuses from Cuba on Russian bomber issue
July 24, 2008
HAVANA (AFP) — Fidel Castro said Havana owed no apologies to Washington over reports that Russia might start flying long-range bombers to Cuba, and warned that his country “had nerves of steel in times of genocide”.
It was the first official comment from the Americas’ only one-party communist government since a US general responded to a report in a Russian newspaper, warning Russia against basing nuclear-capable bombers in Cuba.
“What we need are nerves of steel in times of genocide, and Cuba has them. The United States knows that,” he wrote, in what appeared to be a reference to previous Cold War era confrontations between the two countries.
The flights, although they have not yet been officially announced by Moscow, have already sparked tensions reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.
The ailing Fidel Castro, 81, who in February handed over power to his 77-year-old brother Raul, made his comments in a letter to cubadebate.cu on Wednesday.
“Raul did just the right thing by maintaining appropriate silence on statements published Monday July 21 by Izvestia, related to potential installation of strategic Russian bomber bases in our country,” he wrote.
Fidel Castro said the news arose from “hypotheses developed in Russia due to Yankee (US) stubbornness about the idea of setting up radar and a missile shield near the border of that great power.”
US General Norton Schwartz, nominated to be the air force’s chief of staff, said in Washington Tuesday that if Russia “did, I think we should stand strong and indicate that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America.”
The elder Castro has been sidelined by a major intestinal illness two years ago and now spends a lot of his time writing political essays.
In his latest, headlined “Macciavelli’s Strategy”, he said that with the United States: “if you say yes, I’ll kill you. If you say no, it doesn’t matter, I’ll kill you anyway. That is the Machiavellian strategy the United States uses with Cuba.
“We need not offer any explanations or excuses nor ask forgiveness,” he wrote.
The newspaper Izvestia has reported that the Russian military is thinking of flying long-range bombers to Cuba on a regular basis, citing an unnamed senior Russian air force official, as saying such flights were under discussion.
The plan was in response to US plans to install missile defenses in eastern Europe, it reported.
But it was unclear whether they would involve permanent basing of nuclear bombers in Cuba, or just use of the island as a refueling stop.
Meanwhile, at least one Russian military expert is rightly questioning whether, from a military-technical point of view, the deployment of strategic bombers to Cuba, which is a mere 90 miles from Florida, is even necessary since both Tu-160 Blackjacks and Tu-95 Bears can launch cruise missiles from a distance of 2,200 miles. “I believe that stationing Russian bombers in Cuba would be a destructive step [for Russia] because the advantage of these bombers is that they may launch missiles from outside the effective range of an enemy’s air defenses,” insisted Colonel General Viktor Yesin, former commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, to state-run Novosti. “There is no need to deploy bombers 145 km from the U.S., where they would be easy targets for US air defenses, if they are capable of hitting targets on US soil from a distance of more than 3,500 kilometres.”
That being the case, one must ask: Why did the Kremlin media broadcast reports about possible bomber deployments to Cuba, which prompted a heated response from the Pentagon and a cryptic comment from Havana? As we previously suggested, it would appear that the Moscow Leninists are carefully gauging Washington’s tolerance factor for a superpower showdown over National Missile Defense in Central Europe.
Even as the Russian Defense Ministry pours “cold water” on the Izvestia “trial balloon,” the Kremlin media is once again, only four days later, raising the specter of a Russian military presence on Cuba, this time in the form of a revitalized electronic spy base, Lourdes, which was formally closed by then President Vladimir Putin one month after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The operational connection between Lourdes and the 911 skyjackers is considered in a previous post. The Lourdes facility covers a 28 square-mile area and until early 2002 employed as many as 1,500 Russian engineers, technicians, and military personnel. Novosti reports:
Moscow must answer U.S. shield with Cuban ‘spy’ site – analyst
18:2023/ 07/ 2008
MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia should respond to U.S. missile defense plans for Central Europe by reopening a ‘spy’ facility in Cuba to gather intelligence on the United States, a Russian analyst said on Wednesday.
The electronic monitoring and surveillance facility near Havana at Torrens, also known as the Lourdes facility, the largest Russian Sigint site abroad, was shut down in October 2001 by then- president Vladimir Putin.
“Cuba is a unique place to gather intelligence on the United States. I believe that the reopening of this station is both possible and necessary amid the threat that the Americans are creating for Russia,” Alexander Pikayev, head of the disarmament and conflict resolution department at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ World Economics and International Relations Institute, told a news conference at RIA Novosti.
“Russia has every right to respond,” he added.
Moscow has strongly opposed the possible deployment by the U.S. of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic as a threat to its security. Washington says the missile shield is needed to deter possible strikes from “rogue states.”
A Russian military source was earlier quoted as saying that Russian strategic bombers could be stationed again in Cuba, only 90 miles from the U.S. coast, in response to the U.S. missile shield plans for Central Europe.
The Lourdes facility reportedly covered a 28 square-mile area, with 1,000-1,500 Russian engineers, technicians, and military personnel working at the base.
The complex was capable of monitoring a wide array of commercial and government communications throughout the southeastern United States, and between the United States and Europe.
Lourdes intercepted transmissions from microwave towers in the United States, communication satellite downlinks, and a wide range of shortwave and high-frequency radio transmissions.
In October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to the brink of nuclear war when Soviet missiles were stationed in Cuba.
The crisis was resolved after 12 days when the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, backed down and ordered the missiles removed.
The drum beats of war emanating from the Kremlin are becoming increasingly frantic and may disguise the chilling fact that Russian missiles and other military hardware possibly never left Cuba after the First Cold War ended. After all, the Izvestia article admits that Russian military transports fly to the island gulag on a regular basis to this very day. It has now become very apparent that beginning with the fake collapse of Eastern European communism between 1989 and 1991 the Moscow Leninists purposely lured NATO and the USA into the former Soviet Bloc states for the purpose of building a seemingly legitimate case for striking the West first.