Russians restart spy operations in Cuba to carry out espionage on the U.S.

While concern over China opening a spy base in communist Cuba is justified, it appears the Russians are back and already have an espionage operation running on the island.

Via The Insider:

The Insider: Boys in Cuba. Judging by the GRU specialists arriving on the island, Russia has revived the base for spying on the United States

On June 20, materials appeared in the American press that the United States was seriously concerned about the construction of a spy center in Cuba by Chinese intelligence services. However, as The Insider found out, it is not only China that the US should be worried about: Russia has reanimated the Soviet spy center Lourdes in Cuba, officially closed by Putin in 2001. Under the guise of diplomats, “hearers” from the GRU and graduates of narrow-profile universities related to rocket science, computer technology and exact mathematics are secretly transferred to the island. It was possible to calculate them, among other things, thanks to students at the embassy school: the fathers of these children turned out to be not diplomats, but career officers of special services with a specialization in electronic intelligence and related fields.

Base in exchange for oil

The first reports of secret agreements between Moscow and Havana on a sharp increase in espionage against the United States appeared in July 2014. It all started with the resumption of work at the Lourdes Radio Electronic Center (REC) on the outskirts of Havana. The REC was built in 1967 and was under the control of the GRU, as well as the PGU, the KGB unit responsible for foreign intelligence. Its capabilities made it possible to intercept data from American communications satellites, telephone conversations, and messages from the NASA mission control center in Florida. The number of military personnel, including civilians, reached about three thousand people. A business trip to the island was signed up several years in advance, or those who had good connections with the KGB were sent there.

In the mid-90s, rumors spread about the closure of the REC, which cost the Russian treasury $200 million a year. There was no such money in the budget, and the staff began to delay salaries. The Americans insisted on closing the spy center, tying it to the restructuring of the Soviet debt, but Boris Yeltsin did not dare to take such a step, leaving this problem to his successor. In December 2000, Putin, at a meeting with Fidel Castro, raised the issue of the fate of the REC. Castro was categorically against the closure of the center since the money for its rent brought considerable income to the Cuban treasury and part of the payments was made by Russian oil supplies. “We will not close anything,” Putin reassured the officers of the 6th Directorate of the GRU (radio intelligence) serving at the Lourdes REC and even made an entry in the book of honored guests. The center closed a year later.

The “hearers” were returned to Russia, part of the expensive equipment was smashed with sledgehammers, and the rest was transported to Klimovsk near Moscow, where another GRU radio interception center (military unit 47747) was located. Hundreds of Cubans gathered at the gates of the REC “Lourdes” and chanted after the departing GRU officers: “Traitors!” In place of the REC, the University of Information Technologies of Havana was opened. Some of the premises were rented out to Chinese and North Korean intelligence officers, who, according to legend, studied Spanish there.

However, since 2014, high-ranking visitors from Russia have been frequenting Cuba. Putin was the first to arrive and write off 90% of the Cuban debt of $ 35 billion. Dmitry Medvedev, Sergey Shoigu, Sergey Lavrov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Nikolai Evmenov, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko (curator of Cuba from the government) visited the island after him, Speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin. Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev twice visited Havana and held “enhanced Russian-Cuban interdepartmental consultations on security issues.”

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