Cuba Begins Massive Military Exercise

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba kicked off a large military exercise on Tuesday known as “Bastion 2013,” a nationwide deployment in preparation for any foreign invasion.  Originally called for 2012 it was suspended after the country was hit by Hurricane “Sandy” in October of last year.

President/General Raul Castro officially the launched maneuvers, covering the whole island and to be held through Friday, reported dpa news.

“Over the next four days we will carry out strategic exercise Bastion 2013,” said the 82-year-old president in a speech broadcast on state television.

The exercises held since the 80s, were due to take place last year, but were postponed due to the ravages of hurricane “Sandy” in the east of the island. Eleven people were killed in the provinces of Santiago and Guantanamo after the hurricane, which damaged or destroyed more than 226,000 homes.

The maneuvers of “Bastion” include a massive military deployment that includes the population. Former President Fidel Castro defined the strategy as “a war of all the people”, designed especially for a possible confrontation with the United States.

Havana and Washington have a hostile relationship since the triumph of the 1959 revolution. The escalation reached a peak with the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, in which Cuban exiles attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro with US support.

“Bastion” was held for the first time in 1980 after the arrival to the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who supported a tough policy against the Castro regime .

The Cuban military maneuvers were repeated in 1983, 1986, 2004 and 2009 . The current edition, is second with Raul Castro in power.


25 thoughts on “Cuba Begins Massive Military Exercise

  • December 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm
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    Cuba holds a strategic position in reference to the Golf of Mexico. Cuba has militarily invaded 4 times. One by the British under Francis Drake, another by Spain during the Cuban war of independence (1995), and two more by the United States Marines, and last but not least, the invasion of Bay of Pigs in 1961. Given this, it is understandable of Cubans living in fear of military invasions. In any case, it is the duty of any country’s military to be prepare for that eventuality.

  • November 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm
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    Former US allies Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin are gone. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    Unfortunately, the Taliban and Al Qaeda are far from gone.

    The US got their butts kicked in both countries and have beat a hasty retreat. Both countries remain as violent as ever with little prospect of any kind of peaceful normalcy even in the distant future.

    The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan. And Al Qaeda, absent from Iraq prior to the US invasion, is now a growing threat there — after the US, ahem… “set things right.”

    I guess, when the only thing in your toolbox is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  • November 26, 2013 at 8:36 am
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    And Kennedy decided at the last minute to change the location of the landing to a location they had not studied and to deny air cover, thus dooming the invasion from the start. It would have been better to have scrubbed the whole damn thing than to have sent those men to their certain deaths.

  • November 25, 2013 at 4:48 pm
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    The Bay of Pigs invasion was carried out by a group of Cuban exiles, not US Marines. Look it up.

  • November 25, 2013 at 5:23 am
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    Saddam is gone and the Taliban are gone.
    Extremists still exist, but gradually these countries will sort themselves out.
    The US made the strategic mistake not to go all the way in the first gulf war. They set things right in the second.

  • November 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm
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    So the Bay of Pigs invasion was successful? Yea Right!

  • November 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm
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    These grandmas, along with every man, woman and child on the island are already the targets of genocidal US trade sanctions. The US regime shrugs off the near universal condemnation of these cruel and inhumane sanctions every year at the UN General Assembly. It seems they will stop at nothing to punish those uppity Cubans.

    If they thought carpet bombing the island from one end to the other would be the Final Solution to the Cuban Question, I don’t think they would hesitate, the staggering political costs be damned. They have to be continually reminded that even this would not be enough to break the legendary fighting spirit of the Cuban people.

  • November 23, 2013 at 11:51 am
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    SPEAKING OF CUBA, circumstances are quite different than in any of the other places you named. First, there is a financially solid, well-organized expat community ready to return to Cuba in a COOPERATIVE way and not as conquerors. Second, Cuba has not endured and therefore has not grown accustomed to several generations of bombings, civil unrest and urban guerrilla warfare. Returning to a peacetime footing after an invasion would be welcomed more readily. Third, the leadership in Cuba is old and corrupt. Their appetite to sustain an underground resistance to a post-invasion reform government is doubtful. Most of them will be on the first flights to Venezuela as soon as the lights go out. Anyway, this is an academic discussion as the US will NEVER invade Cuba. Too many Cuban grandma’s (including my wife’s) would be in harm’s way. It is politically untenable.

  • November 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm
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    That’s just the kind of of thinking that lead to your defeat in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Your leaders assured you would be welcomed as “liberators” and that you would have an easy time of it. You are Americans after all! Drop a few tons of bombs and it’s “Mission accomplished and back home by Christmas to a hero’s welcome!” Well, not exactly. It never really quite worked out that way, did it?

  • November 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm
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    You write “you” and “your” in the mistaken belief I’m American. I’m not. I am Canadian, just like you.

    In Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, there were indeed tangible results, but the domestic political left, and their media allies, deliberately lied with the intention of having the US lose those wars, or undermining the results.

    For example, in Vietnam, after soundly defeating the NVA during the Tet Offensive, Walter Cronkite gravely declared, “The war in Indochina is lost”. That was a big surprise to the North Vietnamese gov’t, but they adroitly acted to capitalize on that propaganda gift.

    In subsequent talks, the US negotiated a peace treaty with North Vietnam. In the treaty, the US agreed to withdraw their military and the North Vietnamese agreed to end their war against the South and to end their support for the Vietcong (which was all along a branch of the NVA). But the US Congress later voted to cut off all military support for South Vietnam and two years after the US had fully withdrawn their forces from Vietnam, North Vietnam again invaded the South. This was a violation of the peace treaty they had signed, but they correctly calculated that the US would not send their military back. In the event, more Vietnamese would die during this final phase of the Vietnam War, than died during the entire time the US were involved. Millions more Vietnamese would die after the Communists took control of the whole country and sent millions to work as slaves in re-education camps. Countless Vietnamese Boat People would die while trying to flee the country.

    You may not like religious fanatics, but you openly admire the Leftist fanatics who have murdered tens of millions this past century.

  • November 22, 2013 at 8:09 am
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    You are hilarious! So now you think that because an undersupplied, undermotivated army of Cuban conscripts led by a cabal of octogenarian generals whose recent combat experience is limited arranging merchandise in the Carlos III shopping center has participated in four days of ho-hum drilling, that the finest volunteer military organization on the planet is having second thoughts? Okay, Dan, its time to move away from the computer to take your meds.

  • November 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm
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    As gratifying as it must have seemed to you, in the end, it made no difference militarily. Likewise the killing of Bin Laden. In the end the US got their butts kicked with little of any lasting value to show for all those young lives and trillions of dollars wasted over the years.

  • November 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm
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    …no not really. The US simply has no interest in Cuba. At the end of the day I think that’s what bothers Cuba the most…it’s irrelevance

  • November 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm
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    Lets be clear here. The USA dragged a dirty and bedraggled Saddam Hussein from a spider hole after the US military rolled over the Iraqi Army in just over a weeks time. Indeed I remember the consternation of Soviets and Chinese after the USA made quick work of Saddams vaunted Republican Guard the first time around (Desert Storm) The Soviets in particular were tripping all over themselves trying to excuse away the failure of there equipment and training (Soviet provided of course) it was quite the wake up call. Turns out our fears of the Soviet s streaming across the Fulda Gap and rolling right over us were unfounded; we would have trounced them (nuclear weapons aside of course)

    I also seem to remember a couple of A Teams on donkeys, some Army Rangers, and a bunch if rag tag Tajiks kicking the Talabans arse ….I should know, I was there.

    The lesson here is that all who served did so proudly

  • November 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm
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    The American public would have been fully supportive if they could have seen tangible results. Unfortunately for you, your “victories” were, well… not very tangible. There’s only so much you can do with even the biggest and smartest killing machines. You still haven’t learned that lesson have you?

    It is not with glee that I report these defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can’t stand religious fanatics of any kind. The point is, you should learn from these defeats.

  • November 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm
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    From my favourite movie:

    Kilgore: Smell that? You smell that?
    Lance: What?
    Kilgore: Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like… victory! Someday this war’s gonna end…

    Let’s hope these military exercises have the US regime thinking twice about getting stuck in yet another unwinnable quagmire.

  • November 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm
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    The US military won every battle in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. In each case, however, the US was defeated by domestic political opposition to these wars. In essence, the US military was defeated more by the US media than by the armies they fought.

    As for invading Cuba, which the US won’t ever do that, but hypothetically, if they did, the US military would win every battle and then the US media together with opportunistic politicians would ensure ultimate defeat at the strategic level.

    You seem to look upon the purported US defeat in Iraq & Afghanistan with glee. I trust you are enjoying the daily reports of the Taliban murdering school girls & bombing markets, or the various sects bombing each other’s mosques in Iraq. Perhaps it was naive of the US not to expect the Iraqis would fight the US occupation, not by attacking the US military, which they rarely ever did, but by killing their fellow Iraqi citizens with unparalleled brutality.

    Still, it does give you & your fellow leftists something to cheer for, eh?

    Oh, while we’re at it, how about Syria? Since Obama has opted not to send US troops into that doomed nation, which side of that horrific slaughter are you cheering for there? The increasingly jihadist rebels or the the Syrian government forces, allies and dear friends of the Castro regime?

  • November 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm
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    A loss in the “strategic” sense??? For all your bombers and cruise missiles, you just got your butts kicked in Iraq and Afghanistan in the “strategic” sense by the same little guys in black pajamas! All for nothing, it seems.

    How many more fine American boys will have to die before you learn your lesson?

  • November 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm
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    Hahaha! Dan, don’t be ridiculous. First of all, there has only been one Vietnam. (Only one was necessary!) Cuba’s military prowess is not even half of what Iraq possessed with Saddam’s Revolutionary Guard and is about equal to Qaddafi’s Libyan forces. Both of these military victories were won within days, with a handful of American casualties and both of these countries are half a world away. Imagine the impact of “Shock and Awe” just across the Florida Straits. The truth is after a few days of cruise missiles, drone strikes, electronic jamming, laser-guided deep penetration bunker buster bombs, and everything else the military industrial complex would donate for live testing in the field, the Castros, if left alive, would have to waive the white flag. What’s worse, pimply-faced twenty-somethings sitting behind computer screens in a bunker in Arizona would conduct the entire invasion well out of harms way. Now, admittedly, after winning the invasion, then comes the ‘occupation’. Putting US Marine boots on Cuban soil simply requires troop helicopter flights out of Guantanamo. But after such a conflagration, winning the hearts and minds of the Cuban people would be a horse of a different color and at least as tough as what we have experienced in Afghanistan. BTW, don’t exaggerate to make your point. I am married to one of those Cuban ‘school girls’. They are not taught to use rifles.

  • November 21, 2013 at 11:17 am
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    Despite your caustic response, America’s overwhelming global military might is indisputable. In all possible spheres of conflict the US is simply an overwhelming Juggernaut….and frankly I like it that way.

    As The US has proven time and again it will “roll over” any military on earth. Even Vietnam, although a loss in the “strategic’ sense, consistently had the US winning all it’s tactical engagements. I know of no losses the US has suffered after UN forces (led by the US) successfully repelled the Chinese at the battle of Chosin Reservoir. The US has simply won every engagement it’s been involved in. …and you can thank this era of PAX Americana for your freedom to post your idiotic comments on this site.

    So no, I don’t see the Cuba’s hold off American solders with some outdated Kalashnikovs

    …The question you should be asking is why Havanatimes.org is verboten in Cuba. hummmm? ….Is that the world you prefer?

  • November 21, 2013 at 9:22 am
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    Despite their prowess at killing and torture, the US regime’s military record over the past half-century is not very impressive — for every Grenada, there was a humiliating Vietnam. The trillions wasted would have been better spent on education, a national health care program and sustainable energy.

    The US regime needs to be reminded from time to time that an invasion of Cuba, where even school girls are taught to use a rifle, will almost certainly fall into the humiliating defeat column.

  • November 20, 2013 at 11:58 am
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    You´ve said it all!

  • November 20, 2013 at 10:44 am
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    News flash for Raul Castro: the US signed a treaty in October 1962 in which they promised never to invade Cuba. Ever. Of course, Raul knows that, even if the Cuban media won’t inform the people.

    Not that the purpose of these exercises is to deter a foreign invasion. The true purpose is to help maintain a constant state of paranoia and to remind the oppressed Cuban people that the FAR is still the boss.

    This exercise is an enormous waste of precious economic resources whihc could be better spent on improving the lives of ordinary Cubans.

  • November 20, 2013 at 10:23 am
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    I was in Havana in 2009 for the last “Bastion”. As it happened, my casa particular was located on the Malecon near Calle Hospital. What I saw from my third floor balcony was pitiful. There were these guajiro cops and army guys in faded blue uniforms sprawled on the Malecon in prone shooting position armed with 40+ year old soviet single-shot rifles! They were facing the sea to simulate a defense against enemy invasion. In an era of cruise missiles, drones, laser-guided bunker-busting bombs and who knows what else, it was like a Monty Python movie watching these kids go through their exercises. They might as well have issued waterguns to these conscripts. Even the tanks they rolled out were identical to the ones used by the North Vietnamese over 40 years ago. Cuba would be far better off using what little resources they devote to the military to fixing the plumbing or shoring up the dilapidated buildings. The truth is no reasonable Cuban believes that Cuba stands a chance to resist a real invasion. These exercises are really intended to intimidate Cubans and suppress any ideas of an internal revolt.

  • November 20, 2013 at 7:49 am
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    Who would invade Cuba? And what for? Stealing cigars?

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