>Soviet-Cuban relations appeared to lapse during the 1990s, picking up somewhat with Vladimir Putin’s official trip to the island in 2000. Coincidentally or not, this visit occurred only one year before Moscow closed down its electronic eavesdropping base in Lourdes (Google cache), a facility in the suburbs of Havana that may have provided air traffic data to Mohammad Atta and his 911 skyjackers.
Over the past two years Moscow has intensified its contacts with Havana. Current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev showed up in Havana in 2008, while Cuban counterpart Raul Castro reciprocated the visit by trekking to Moscow last year. High-level military exchanges, including the top generals of both countries, Nikolai Makarov and Alvaro Lopez Miera, have also taken place.
Nearly 20 years after the Cold War supposedly ended, therefore, Cuba is still Russia’s most important strategic partner in Latin America, followed very closely by “new communist on the bloc,” Hugo Chavez, and compliant KGB asset Daniel Ortega. Moscow has also intensified military and economic linkages with the far-left governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Guyana, and the center-left governments of Brazil, Argentina, and Guatemala. The Soviet strategists have even made overtures to Mexico, offering to help President Felipe Calderon crush that country’s out-of-control drug cartels, themselves armed by the Russian Mafia.
Today, reports Cuba’s state media, President Castro received the vice president of the Russian State Duma, Ivan Melnikov, who, not surprisingly, is also vice chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Comrade Melnikov teaches at Moscow State University and heads up the Duma’s education committee, which means an open communist controls Russia’s education system. Melnikov is Gennady Zyuganov’s second-in-command in the CPRF. Chairman Zyuganov lately urged the Putinist regime to display pics of “Uncle Joe” Stalin throughout Moscow in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazism.
Incidentally, the CPRF holds the second largest number of seats in Russia’s rubberstamp parliament, after (putatively ruling) United Russia, itself founded and controlled by “ex”-cadres of the (supposedly defunct) Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In regional elections this past March the CPRF made long-anticipated electoral gains at the expense of potemkin United Russia.
Melnikov and Castro discussed “current international affairs” and praised the “excellent state” of bilateral relations between Cuba and Russia. Commerce between the long-time allies amounted to US$400 million in 2009, while Moscow granted Havana more than US$350 million in trade credits. Also attending this communist conclave were Cuban parliament speaker Ricardo Alarcon and Russia’s ambassador to Cuba, Mikhail Kamynin.
In what might be a related story, but which sounds like the plot from a James Bond thriller, the Kremlin media contends that North Korean commandos blew up the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. This semi-submersible offshore drilling rig, which sank 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana with the loss of 11 crew, was built in South Korea in 2001, owned by Transocean and operated by British Petroleum. According to the European Union Times, citing a report allegedly produced by the Russian Navy:
The North Korean “cargo vessel” Dai Hong Dan believed to be staffed by 17th Sniper Corps “suicide” troops left Cuba’s Empresa Terminales Mambisas de La Habana (Port of Havana) on April 18th whereupon it “severely deviated” from its intended course for Venezuela’s Puerto Cabello bringing it to within 209 kilometers (130 miles) of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform which was located 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of the US State of Louisiana where it launched an SSC Sang-o Class Mini Submarine (Yugo class) estimated to have an operational range of 321 kilometers (200 miles).
On the night of April 20th the North Korean Mini Submarine manned by these “suicidal” 17th Sniper Corps soldiers attacked the Deepwater Horizon with what are believed to be 2 incendiary torpedoes causing a massive explosion and resulting in 11 workers on this giant oil rig being killed outright.
Is this conspiracy theory true? We have no idea. Is it more Soviet disinformation, designed to enflame tensions between the USA and Communist North Korea? Maybe. The Dai Hong Dan is in fact a North Korean cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in October 2007. Furthermore, Seoul has determined that the March 26 explosion that sank the Cheonan warship in waters disputed with Pyongyang was caused by an “external explosion,” possibly a North Korean torpedo or mine. Forty-six crewmen perished. However, the Republic of Korea has directed no formal charges against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
If the Kremlin media were honest, perhaps it would admit that Spetsnaz frogmen blew up the Deepwater Horizon. After all, Russia intends to start drilling for oil in Cuban waters. Communists, of course, don’t like competition. With some smugness, no doubt, Moscow, according to the US State Department, has offered technical assistance in cleaning up the oil spill that resulted from the destruction of Deepwater Horizon.