NSA Official: Obama Just Opened the Door for Castro’s Spies

Saturday, October 15, 2016
By former NSA analyst and counterintelligence officer, John Schindler, in The Observer:

Obama Just Opened the Door for Castro’s Spies

Cuban intelligence will have a field day in the United States thanks to Obama’s latest outreach to Havana

Normalization of relations with Fidel Castro’s Cuba has been one of the big foreign policy initiatives of Barack Obama’s presidency. During his two terms in the White House, Washington has overturned more than a half-century’s worth of American policies toward the Communist regime in Havana.

Calling that legacy a “failed approach,” Obama’s outreach to Havana, particularly in his second term, has been pronounced, including a visit by the president and the first lady to Cuba. By the time he leaves office in three months, Obama will have substantially re-normalized relations with the Castro regime.

Obama has pressed forward over the opposition of many Cuban-Americans and human rights groups, who note that Washington’s gifts to Havana have not been reciprocated with greater respect for democracy and the rule of law in Cuba, as many had anticipated. In the words of Amnesty International, “Despite increasingly open diplomatic relations, severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and movement continued. Thousands of cases of harassment of government critics and arbitrary arrests and detentions were reported.”

Obama seems unperturbed by all this, and today he issued revised guidance for the U.S. Government in its re-normalized dealings with Havana. Presidential Policy Directive 43 is likely to be this president’s last push on Cuban matters, and its call to Congress to drop the Cold War-legacy embargo on the Castro regime seems like to fall on deaf ears.

Most of PDD-43’s guidance won’t impact average Americans, unless they happen to travel to Cuba. Obama has now permitted them to bring back as much Cuban rum and cigars as they like—something Americans were last able to do when Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House.

There’s the usual Obama boilerplate about promoting democracy and human rights in Cuba, though there’s nothing in PDD-43 that seems likely to make any impression on Havana. The document omits the word “Communist” entirely. Cubans expecting this president to demand concessions from the Castro regime in exchange for trade favors and diplomatic recognition have been let down yet again by Barack Obama.

Obama has unilaterally declared a truce in our half-century SpyWar with Cuba, but there’s no indication Havana has done the same.

Some of PDD-43’s guidance will have important national security implications. It directs the Defense Department to expand its relationship with Havana, especially in “humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and counternarcotics in the Caribbean.” It further orders the Pentagon to “support Cuba’s inclusion in the inter-American defense system…which will give Cuba a stake in hemispheric stability.”

It’s far from clear that Havana’s Communist rulers—whose entire worldview for more than a half-century has been based on resistance to Yankee hegemony—actually want to be part of any American-led defense apparatus in our hemisphere, but the Pentagon follows orders, so we can expect the U.S. military to have more meetings and conferences with Cuban counterparts at the table.

Perhaps the most curious aspect of PDD-43 is what it tells our Intelligence Community to do. Obama has ordered American spies “to find opportunities for engagement on areas of common interest through which we could exchange information on mutual threats with Cuban counterparts.”

That wording is intentionally vague, as spies like it, and it’s not clear if anything will come of it, beyond low-level information sharing. Nevertheless, it’s apparent that Obama is declaring a truce in the SpyWar that’s raged between Washington and Havana since the early 1960s. In PPD-43, the White House has omitted important facts about the intelligence relationship between the United States and Cuba—namely how hostile it has been for more than 50 years.

For Havana, America possesses the only two existential threats to their Communist system: the U.S. military, which outclasses Cuba’s armed forces a hundredfold, and the Cuban exile community, which Havana has long considered a regime-change cadre in waiting. Cuba therefore has spied intensely on America practically from the moment Fidel Castro took power in 1959.

It needs to be said that Cuban espionage against the United States has been impressive. Well trained by the Russians in spycraft, Havana’s intelligence services have consistently beaten Americans in the SpyWar, displaying a discipline and seriousness that the regime lacks in other areas.

Although it’s practically unknown to the American public, Cuba has consistently ranked among the Big Four counterintelligence threats to our government (the others are Russia, China and Israel, in case you wondered). Havana punches well above its weight in espionage and poses a real threat to our national security—not least because the secrets it steals from us with depressing ease don’t always stay in Havana. Perennially short of cash and lacking much of a legitimate export economy, the Castro regime has a well-developed habit of selling purloined American information to third countries such as Russia, China and Iran.

Just how badly we’ve been beaten by Cuban spies is something Americans should know. Our spy operations inside Cuba have been a bust from Day One. It was bad news for our Intelligence Community in 1987 when the highest-ranking Cuban intelligence defector to ever come to our side revealed that every single agent run by the Central Intelligence Agency since Castro came to power was actually fake. Some four dozen sources in all, they had all been detected by Cuban counterintelligence and turned into double agents for Havana.

This spy debacle, which revealed that the CIA had been decisively outfoxed by Havana, made too little impression on Congress or the public. Needed Intelligence Community reforms did not follow. Neither is there any indication that things have gotten much better for the CIA in the SpyWar against Cuba since 1987.

Even worse is the fact that Cuban intelligence has consistently managed to beat our counterspies inside the United States, too. Lacking much of a diplomatic presence in this country, Cuba for decades has nevertheless done an impressive job of recruiting and running agents on American soil, right under the noses of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Havana’s secret tentacles extend deep into the émigré community and its Miami base. There’s really nothing happening in the Cuban-American world that the Castro regime isn’t aware of, and Havana has never lacked for volunteers eager to spy on fellow Cubans. The only limit to Cuban intelligence penetration of the émigré community, explained a top Cuban intelligence defector to me, is the limited number of case officers that Havana can infiltrate into the United States. There were always more willing volunteers than Cuba could handle.

Indeed, Havana’s penetration of émigré ranks is so deep and pervasive that it can sometimes be difficult to determine what’s really going on. Cuban agent provocateurs are plentiful in Miami, and it can be safely assumed that a significant percentage of the craziest-sounding exiles—the ones agitating for violence and extremism—are really working for Havana to discredit the Cuban-American community.

The so-called Wasp Network, consisting of five Cuban intelligence officers and their many agents, which the FBI rolled up in 1998, stretched deep into the Cuban émigré community in Florida. The Cubans had even orchestrated the deaths of four anti-Castro activists in a notorious 1996 incident. However, the Wasp Network had also penetrated U.S. military installations in Florida, including U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which is the Pentagon’s headquarters for most of its Latin American operations.

Havana has consistently been able to recruit agents inside the Pentagon and our Intelligence Community. The remarkable case of Ana Belén Montes, a Defense Intelligence Agency senior analyst who spied for Cuba her entire Pentagon career, caused less public waves than it merited, in part because she was arrested just 10 days after the 9/11 attacks, when media attention was elsewhere.

However, Montes did enormous damage to the Defense Department and our spy agencies, since she was actively stealing secrets to pass to the Cubans for more than 15 years. She was recruited by Castro’s spy services when she was a graduate student in Washington, and underwent espionage training in Cuba before she joined DIA. In fact, her Cuban handlers told her to get a job inside American intelligence, and Montes faithfully complied.

She was unmasked thanks to diligent counterintelligence analysis by several of our spy agencies, over years, and we learned from the Montes case that she was only one of several Cuban moles lurking inside the Beltway. One of those spies was caught in 2009. That was Kendall Myers, a retired State Department analyst, who spied for Havana for three decades, with his wife’s assistance. His motivation, like Montes, was ideological, not financial: Myers had a serious man-crush on Fidel Castro.

Other Cuban moles remain undetected. One may have been Alberto Coll, who left the Naval War College in 2005, where he was a dean, under a cloud. Coll, a former Pentagon senior official, was caught lying on official forms. A Cuban émigré who came to the United States as a child, Coll had taken trips to Cuba that he failed to tell security personnel about, while he had friendships with Cuban spies he likewise did not disclose, as he was required to. Coll was never charged with espionage, but many Washington counterspies think his ties to Havana went deeper than has ever been publicly revealed.

American counterintelligence hands who know the Cubans best have no doubt that some of those moles remain active in and around Washington. What’s worse is that President Obama has now opened the door to increased Cuban espionage against our country. Soon Cuba will have brand-new diplomatic missions all over the United States and, per standard practice, they will all contain a hefty number of spies posing as diplomats.

Given how successful Havana has been at conducting espionage against us, on our own soil, without such large embassies and consulates, there’s every reason to expect Cuban spying to get more aggressive—and effective—in the near future. President Obama has unilaterally declared a truce in our half-century SpyWar with Cuba, but there’s no indication Havana has done the same.

John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. 

Rubio: Obama's Cuba Policy Puts Castro's Interests, Profits First

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding the Obama Administration's new economic concessions to the Castro regime:

"The Obama Administration is making more concessions to the Castro regime, and the United States is getting nothing in return. Cash makes the Castro regime's grip on power stronger, its repression harsher and its exportation of misery throughout the hemisphere, especially Venezuela, easier‎. The Obama Administration, in collusion with American companies, is now responsible for essentially bankrolling a communist dictatorship which works each day to undermine America's security and national interests. By encouraging U.S. companies to do business with Cuban military-owned entities, the Obama Administration is giving them an open invitation to violate existing U.S. law.

After two years of President Obama's Cuba policy, the Castro regime has made out like bandits and received numerous concessions from the U.S. without lifting a finger to return the fugitives it is harboring from American justice, pay Americans for their stolen property, or allow the Cuban people to exercise their God-given freedoms. Today's announcement reaffirms the fact that President Obama's Cuba policy puts the Castro regime's interests first, profits ahead of America's national security, and the Cuban people's rights and dignity dead last."

Menendez: Obama's Cuba Regs 'Blatantly Violate' U.S. Laws

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) issued the following statement in reaction to the latest regulatory changes announced by the Obama administration regarding the U.S.–Cuba relationship:

Once again, the Administration has it wrong about what’s right for the people of Cuba. Today, the Administration has announced new regulations that blatantly violate the laws of the United States in a legacy-attempt to further normalize relations with Cuba in the next 100 days, supposedly to benefit businesses, but the only beneficiaries of the Administration’s legacy-largesse are the Castros themselves.

Since the announcement of the change in American policy toward Cuba nearly two years ago, the Castro regime has only grown stronger. It has continued its policies of repression, has continued to jail the Ladies in White, has continued to suppress the freedom of expression, and the promotion of anything resembling democracy.

Today’s regulatory economic changes from the White House not only benefit state-owned Cuban businesses and bolster the coffers of the Castro regime, but mark a profound shift away from our own commitment to the rule of law and the processes of democracy as we have always known them.

The new regulations simply and blatantly violate both the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 and the Cuban Liberty and the Libertad Act of 1996, which codified the embargo against Cuba, and indicate that the United States government will now actively ‘authorize contracts and violations currently prohibited by the embargo.'

While the Administration may not like the embargo or agree with it, it remains the law of the land. At the end of the day, it is outrageous that our own government would seek to break the law and blatantly acknowledge its intent to do so.

Pence: Cuba Executive Orders Will Be Overturned

From Politico:

Pence: Cuba executive orders will be overturned

Mike Pence on Friday vowed a Trump administration would overturn President Barack Obama’s measures to expand ties to Cuba, seeking to court members of the Cuban-American community here that still loathe the Castro regime.

“When Donald Trump and I take to the White House, we will reverse Barack Obama’s executive orders on Cuba,” the GOP vice presidential nominee said at a Miami-Dade County Republican Party dinner.

The Indiana governor also promised a Trump administration would maintain the five decade-long trade embargo until “real religious and political freedom” comes to the communist island nation.

Ros-Lehtinen: Pleas of Cuba's Democracy Leaders Fall on Obama's Deaf Ears

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement in response to the Cuba regulatory changes announced by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce:

"This latest round of regulatory changes, like the ones before it, will do nothing for the suffering Cuban people and will instead further enrich the coffers of Castro state owned entities while crushing the hopes that 11 million Cubans have for freedom, democracy and human rights. While the Castro communist dictatorship keeps an iron grip on the people with one fist, the other hand is extending its dictatorial power as it receives more and more dollars from these rollbacks of regulations. For years, through hunger strikes and peaceful marches, the Cuban people have pleaded for their voices to be heard and are risking their lives in record numbers to flee the island as changes like these make their lives worse but, unfortunately, their pleas are falling on deaf ears.”

Curbelo: Obama's Cuba Regs Undermine Property Rights, Spirit of U.S. Law

Statement from U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) on the Obama Administrations latest Cuba policy changes:

"I am deeply disappointed that the Obama Administration continues to make concessions that solely benefit the Cuban regime while receiving nothing in return. The new regulations announced today only benefit state-owned business entities that enrich the coffers of the Castro family and their loyalists. I am concerned that these new rules, which facilitate the trafficking of stolen trademarks and property into the United States, undermines the spirit of the Libertad Act. The law’s goals are to choke off resources to the dictatorship and protect the legal rights of American citizens that have had their private properties confiscated by the communist thugs. These actions do not serve the national interests of the United States, nor the aspirations of the Cuban people to be freed of the oppressive chains."

Diaz-Balart: False to Pretend Biz With Castro Regime Helps Cuban People

Congressman Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after the Obama Administration announced further concessions to encourage business with the Castro dictatorship:

"Once again, the Obama administration seeks to appease the Castro dictators with weakened sanctions, and justifies the policy by conflating the Cuban people with the brutal dictatorship that oppresses them. It is false to pretend that doing business with the Castro regime helps the Cuban people. Instead, and in contravention of U.S. law, the new regulations provide a boost to the Castro brothers’ state-owned monopolies.

Right now, the American people are preparing to exercise the fundamental right to vote. In contrast, the illegitimate Castro regime will continue to suppress expression, tighten its grip on power, and harass, beat, detain, and imprison pro-democracy activists. Just last month, there were 570 documented political arrests in Cuba, for a total of at least 8,505 so far this year. President Obama should pursue a policy that empowers the Cuban people and encourages pro-democracy activists, rather than enriching and embracing those who oppress them.”

New Regs: Obama Betrays Cuban 'Entrepreneurs', Contravenes U.S. Law

Friday, October 14, 2016
Caving to pressure from the Cuban government, the Obama Administration has issued a fifth round of regulatory changes that solely benefit enterprises owned and operated by the Castro regime.

The new regulations seek to benefit Cuba's state-owned pharmaceutical companies; its stolen rum and cigar brands; and foreign trade (shipping) sector from which Cuban citizens are strictly prohibited. Moreover, there are no safeguards in the new regulations to protect the American victims of stolen property, providing an open invitation for trafficking in such stolen property. 

These new regulations are inconsistent with provisions of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 ("Libertad Act"), which codified the embargo into U.S. law. They even specifically invite American companies to negotiate contracts with state-owned entities, even if their actions would be in direct violation of U.S. law. Not only is this legally and ethically concerning, but represents the greatest betrayal of the Cuban independent "entrepreneurs" that Obama has purported to champion.

Over the last few weeks, Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been running advertisements in South Florida on the importance of respecting U.S. law, namely the Cuban embargo, even if one disagrees with the policy. We call on Secretary Clinton to be consistent and denounce the Obama Administration's latest regulatory effort, which contravenes U.S. law and invites American companies to violate it.

If the Obama Administration seeks to immediately change the U.S. embargo (as codified by the U.S. Congress into law), without respect for the fundamental rights of the Cuban people or the democratization of the Castro dictatorship, it should simply follow the process set forth in the U.S. Constitution. 

Amid Graft Probe, Brazil Freezes Credit for Cuba's Mariel Port

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Brazil's state development bank ("BNDES") has frozen loan disbursements for Cuba's Mariel port and "special economic development zone" ("SEDZ"), as part of a major corruption investigation.

As we all know, the Mariel port and SEDZ project was built pursuant to a shady deal between Cuban dictator Raul Castro and former Brazilian president Lula da Silva.

Pursuant to the deal, Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht would receive nearly $800 million in financing from BNDES, in partnership with a shadow company of the Cuban military called Almacenes Universales, S.A.

This past Monday, Brazilian prosecutors charged Lula da Silva; Odebrecht CEO Marcelo Odebrecht, who is already serving a 19-year sentence for separate corruption charges; and nine others over allegations that Lula secured BNDES funding for Odebrecht projects in Angola. In return, prosecutors said, Odebrecht bribed Lula and some people close to him.

Have no doubt, Cuba's Mariel project will be next.

(We've been warning about the Lula-Odebrecht-Castro-Mariel project since 2011. See here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)

To date, the biggest shipment from the Mariel port has been an illegal cargo of 240 tons of weapons (also see here) to North Korea. No joke.

And yet, this is the same Port that Obama Administration officials shamefully tour and propagate.

Just last week, Obama's U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, spent two-days in Cuba touring the Mariel port and SEDZ.

Must have been to celebrate graft and corruption.

Quote of the Day: Bucket of Cold Water for Obama's Cuba Policy

I have no desire to make any financial investment in Cuba. We have not seen the rapid change that many of us thought we would see.
-- Jorge Perez, CEO of real-estate development firm, The Related Group, and early supporter of Obama's Cuba policy, Forbes, 10/5/15

Iran Agrees to Restructure Cuba’s Debt

Obama's bad deals -- and sanctions relief -- are helping America's foes expand economic ties among each other.

It's foreign policy malpractice.

From Global Trade Review:

Iran agrees to restructure Cuba’s debt

Cuba’s debt to Iran has been restructured following an agreement between the two countries.

The agreement was signed on September 20 by Iran’s export credit agency Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI), the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) and Banco Exterior de Cuba.

According to EGFI’s deputy CEO Arash Shahraini, Banco Exterior de Cuba will start repaying the outstanding loan next month, and has with the agreement committed to settle the full loan by 2019.

“The debt relates to a credit line extended to Cuba 10 years ago to import goods and services from Iran,” he tells GTR.

The credit, he says, was given to public entities in Cuba, mainly in the agriculture, equipment and medicine sectors. The loan was backed by the Cuban government’s sovereign guarantee and EGFI covered the repayment.

But the loan was not repaid on time, partly due to the economic sanctions against Iran. EGFI would not reveal the amount of Cuba’s debt to Iran, but according to the Iranian news site the Financial Tribune, Cuba has a remaining debt of about €43mn to Iran, €50mn with interest.

The agreement to restructure Cuba’s loan forms part of a wider strategy to strengthen ties between the two countries. Last week Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made an official visit to Havana, where he met with Cuba’s President Raul Castro and former president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

According to Shahraini, Iranian exports to Cuba amounted to US$2mn during the previous Iranian fiscal year. He says the sanctions against Iran, as well as Cuba’s payment default, has affected the volume of trade between the two countries. “But now we are reviewing our cover policy on Cuba,” he says. “The two countries have good political and economic relations and they are interested in expanding their relations especially in economic fields.”

Shahraini adds that EGFI is working to pave the way for the presence of more Iranian companies in Cuba, especially those active in the export of techno-engineering services who are looking to take part in infrastructure projects. “There are a lot of Iranian companies who are very capable in implementing projects such as dams, power plants, roads, housing etc., who are now engaged in such projects in different parts of the world,” he says.

The lifting of the economic sanctions against the country in January this year has allowed Iran to revive and establish links with foreign banks and export credit agencies, and to recover its funds globally, but the road to full financial transfer capacity remains long.

In Cuba, Dr. Jill Biden Chose Propaganda Over Civil Society

Sunday, October 9, 2016
Today, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, concludes her official visit to Cuba. Accompanying her was Catherine M. Russell, the U.S.'s Ambassador-at-Large for Women's Issues.

This 3-day trip could have been an opportunity to 'empower' Cuba's courageous female democracy activists and civil society leaders. Instead, the highlight of the trip was Dr. Biden and Amb. Russell attending a men's soccer game.

The trip was basically composed of Castro-regime led propaganda tours of 'cultural and educational' centers.

At the very least, we had hoped during Dr. Biden's three-day trip, she would have met with:

-- The Ladies in White, the courageous wives, daughters, mothers and other relatives of Cuban political prisoners, who will be brutally beaten and arrested again this Sunday.

-- CUBALEX, the independent legal center, which is led by a courageous woman, Laritza Diversent, whose headquarters were recently raided, its staff stripped naked, humiliated and arrested.

-- Sirley Avila Leon, the former Cuban National Assembly delegate-turned-dissident, who had her hand severed in a machete attack as a result. Upon her return to Cuba this month, after receiving medical treatment in the U.S., Sirley's home has been confiscated and her life threatened.

-- #Otro18, the female activists from the Partido Arco Progresista, who were stopped, beaten and stripped of their clothing for wearing T-shirts that reflect a movement to allow opposition groups to present candidates for election in 2018.

Or advocated for the growing number of female political prisoners, including members of The Ladies in White, such as Yaquelin Heredia Morales, Marietta Martinez Aguilera, Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda and Aimara Nieto Muñoz.

To add insult to injury, even the licensee of the most popular paladar ('private restaurant') in Camaguey, Restaurante 1800, which Dr. Biden was scheduled to visit, has been arrested. Yet, silence from the U.S. delegation.

Unfortunately, this trip further confirms that the Obama Administration is not interested in helping Cuban civil society, which is led by extraordinary women.

The Obama Administration is solely focused on the President's hollow 'legacy' and kowtowing to Castro's dictatorship.

Tweet of the Day: Obama's 'Alternative Reality' on Cuba

The Danger of Russia Reopening Its Electronic Espionage Base in Cuba

Both significant and concerning, here's what Putin's analysts at Sputnik News have to say about the reestablishment of Russia's electronic espionage base in Cuba:

On Friday, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said that the Defense Ministry was looking into reestablishing Russian bases in Cuba and Vietnam. Analysts speaking to one of Russia's leading online newspapers suggested that if Russia does return, its bases will be a cost-effective deployment compared to that of the old Soviet juggernaut.

Asked whether the Defense Ministry has any plans to reopen Soviet-era bases in countries including Vietnam and Cuba, Pankov confirmed that "we are engaged in this work." The deputy minister did not go into detail, but noted that the military was 'rethinking' the decision taken in the early 2000s to end the Russian military presence in these countries [...]

Pondering the significance of Deputy Defense Minister Pankov's comments, and the likelihood of a serious redeployment of Russian forces to Cuba and Vietnam, independent online newspaper Svobodnaya Pressa turned to several respected Russian military analysts for their thoughts on the issue.

Speaking to the paper, Vladimir Karjakin, a professor at the Military University of the Russian Defense Ministry of Defense, suggested that reopening the Lourdes SIGINT facility would significantly improve Russian radio intelligence, whose effectiveness is low compared to that of the US.

"In its own time, the intelligence center at Lourdes kept virtually the entire Western Hemisphere in its view, monitoring the US at a depth of several thousand kilometers," the retired Air Force colonel recalled.

"The facilities in Cuba allowed for the collection of information on the US's adherence to arms control agreements, to conduct the interception of telephone conversations in the US, to track submarines and engage in industrial espionage," Karjakin added.

Moreover, "according to Raul Castro, the [Cuba-based] radar system gave Russia three-quarters of its intelligence on the US. In turn, the Cubans received information necessary to ensuring the island's security." After the collapse of the USSR, the base stationed staff of Russian military and foreign intelligence. In 1997, the base had its equipment modernized.

The expert suggested it it's entirely possible that Pankov's comments "may be only a demonstration of intent, and an element of information warfare against the background of deteriorating relations between Moscow and Washington. But really the present is a very opportune moment to return to Cuba as far as politics is concerned. It would be better to settle in in Cuba today, while the Obama administration is packing its bags, and get a trump card in our hand, than to do it after the elections, while we sort out our relations with the next president."

Andrei Frolov, editor-in-chief of Russia's Arms Export magazine, agreed with his colleague, suggesting that "in spite of developments in satellite technology, the radar at Lourdes would allow us to capture a great deal of information, including cellular communications, whose analysis could be of interest." In its own time, the Lourdes complex was even said to be capable of recording the takeoff and landing of US military planes. Restoring this capability would certainly be a benefit, Frolov noted [...]

For his part, Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, suggested that when it comes to any talk of a possible return of Russian military forces to Cuba and Vietnam, the key question is: "Are the Cubans and Vietnamese ready to have us?"

"I think that the Cubans would happily agree to the restoration of the Lourdes station," the expert noted.