Dangers of the Cuba – Russia Security Agreement

Pedro Campos

Col. Alejandro Castro Espin signed the agreement for his dad Raul and Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES — According to recent reports, Cuba and Russia have entered into an agreement for cooperation in security matters. The agreement was signed by Colonel Castro Espin, from Cuba’s National Security and Defense Commission, and N.P. Patrushev, from the Security Council of the Russian Federation,

The publication of the instrument suggests that the parties are interested in making other governments aware of the agreement, making clear that Russia again seeks to prowl about at the very “footsteps” of the United States and that the Cuban government is willing to take part in this strategy.

This geopolitical move by Moscow aims to deliver a message to the United States: that its current and future interventions in the Ukraine could meet with a response from a nearby territory. It hints at an eventual restaging of the Cold War situation, with different political tonalities.

Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev, of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

What’s not very clear is what the Cuban government and people stand to gain from becoming involved in the US-Russia conflict, which is no longer the confrontation between the leader of imperialism and world “socialism.” If we assess the situation from the point of view of the economies of these two countries, we can only conclude it is a confrontation between imperialist powers.

This article aims to tackle this issue.

Given our experiences with the Russians and the consequences of our previous and very close ties to them, this public commitment could well prove a dangerous strategy for our hemispheric relations and our economy.

One of the aspects of this agreement which places Cuba’s national interests at risk is clearly and precisely the fact that it is being signed at a time of conflict, stemming from the difficulties that have arisen between Russia and the West over the Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea and, eventually, the Donetsk region by Russia. Whether we like it or not, this situation makes us a Russian pawn in the eyes of the West (and the United States particularly), and pawns are dispensable pieces.

We may deny that we are a “Russian satellite” again and again, but this security agreement can be interpreted as such (I stress the word “interpreted”) by our northern neighbor because of recent history, when we acted as a base for Soviet nuclear missiles and submarines and for espionage activities against the United States, becoming an objective threat to the national security of the United States.

Clouds over Havana. Photo: Juan Suarez

On the other hand, this document – whose clauses have not been made public – is being signed at a time when the Cuban government is seeking a rapprochement with the European Community and the lifting of the US blockade in order to bolster foreign investment and lift the Mariel mega-project off the ground. This, quite clearly, is counterproductive.

We can also safely assume that Brazil, which has invested billions of dollars in Cuba in anticipation of improved relations between the United States and the island, cannot be very happy with this new agreement with Russia, a move that could further delay the eventual lifting of the blockade/embargo.

I doubt the strategists of Raul Castro’s government haven’t contemplated these aspects of the situation and are unaware of the consequences of repeating past mistakes. They may be looking for international aid alternatives, having become convinced that arriving at an understanding with the European Community and negotiating the lifting of the US blockade is impossible, since they are unwilling to budge before calls for human rights in Cuba.

This would amount to acknowledging a serious error in political judgment that has severe economic consequences: believing that the United States would lift the blockade and authorize investment on the island without first seeing fundamental changes in its domestic policies. This is something we have been suggesting for a long time, even before the Mariel project began operations.

One could also think of this agreement as a means for Cuba to assume a more “solid” position in any negotiation aimed at the lifting of the blockade and at applying pressures in this direction, but I doubt it will be seen in this light by the United States. It is more likely for Obama to feel more pressure from those interested in stepping up the embargo and in having him give up on the idea of “updating” Cuba policy.

We are constantly demanding the lifting of the blockade, and now we throw everything to the fire.

An old Havana building. Photo: Juan Suarez

I wonder what the more pragmatic types within the Cuban government and army, interested in a form of capitalist development based on US investment (the kind an eventual relaxation or lifting of US sanctions would allow), think about all of this.

In this connection, the presence of Raul Castro’s son, who “signed” the agreement, is probably aimed at delivering a clear message to all internal circles, letting them know this move is fully in keeping with the interests of the top leadership and, as such, no one should question it.

I have addressed the issue elsewhere: national security matters must be addressed globally, considered not only in the short term, but in the mid and long terms as well. In addition to the military and security dimensions of such agreements, diplomatic factors, international economic and political relations, the satisfaction of citizens with domestic economic and social policies, the democratic participation of citizens and other factors must be taken into account.

Once again, steps that are of huge importance for everyone are being taken without consulting the population.

Today’s Russia has nothing to do with the former Soviet Union. We could also point out that the Cuban government is very different from that of the 1960s that sought to establish socialism.

Russia is yet another economic, political and military giant of the imperialist age. Today, Cuba is a stray electron of a failed “State socialism”, in search of international support.

Dangerous phone call. Photo: Juan Suarez

Perhaps the explanation is as simple as the fact that this stray electron, in need of significant economic aid, cannot find any other nucleus to orbit around than that afforded by its former ally, today pitted against its “age-old enemy”. Perhaps Cuba is simply sticking to the old maxim that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

One thing is clear: Russian oil could prove an alternative to Venezuela, today saddled by political problems.

Russia would again have to pay a high price for supporting its former Caribbean ally. It isn’t clear how much Cuba would have to pay.

This security agreement with Russia and the tightening of the blockade by the United States and other reprisals against our country would naturally entail serious consequences and could result in the increased repression of Cuba’s opposition, a paralysis of the slow “reform” process and more suffering for the Cuban people in general.

In my humble opinion, this strategy may serve the interests of the political and military elite, which seeks to prolong its full control over the country’s politics and economy, but it involves many dangers and eventual complications for the future of the Cuban nation.

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43 thoughts on “Dangers of the Cuba – Russia Security Agreement

  • May 26, 2014 at 9:13 am

    It is a pretty poor argument to say that if you are critical of country you should leave. By the same token Yoani should move to Miami or back to Switzerland. Also, just because you admire another country doesn’t mean you have to go and live there. You have said you admire Mexico and Colombia, for example. This is just your totalitarian and intolerant attitude to anyone who disagrees with you.

  • May 25, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Mr. Goodrich, if you consider the Castro family and Cubans to be synonymous you have little knowledge and experience of the people of Cuba. Speak to young Cubans away from the prying ears of the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution. Ask those who are trying under the new regulations allowing them to sell their casas what they would do with the money. Moses Patterson speaks of the Brazilian investment in the port of Mariel. There is no increase in the traffic volume on the westbound part of the Autopista from Havana. The very odd container bearing the word ‘Hamburg’. It is Cubans who are seeking capitalism despite the almost hourly exhortations on the five TV channels, all of which are controlled by the regime.

  • May 25, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Mr. Goodrich. My “fantasy” is based upon my knowledge of European history – I was at school prior to the start of the Second World War, my father was one of the first two Britishers to enter Vienna in May, 1945 and owned an apartment there until 1997 and I have personal memory of the Russians behaviour when Vienna and Austria were quadropartite and the disappearence of many citizens following being taken from their homes at gunpoint by the Russians. I recall having dinner at the home of the Head of the CIA in Austria as long ago as 1952 – as you with what you consider to be your superior knowledge will know, the CIA was a post -war creation. Prior to emigrating to North America in 1981 I was a member of a British Parliamentary Committee. Although interested in the world at large, I have to admit to only visiting 32 countries. I have a home in Cuba and spend more than half my time there – in consequence only being able to contribute to conversations like this intermittently as the doctrine of “Socialismo” is frightened of tthe distribution of knowledge. May I also humbly suggest that if you wish to have serious discourse with others, that it is possible to do so without being boorish or abusive. Cubans have every reason for detesting the Spanish for their barbaric history as a Colonial power – a quick look at the GDP of former Spanish colonies demonstrates just how bad they were, and many reasons for similarly despising successive US Governments. My comments about the US seeking “open free elections and tthe restoration of human rights” was a direct quote from the CDA which instructs the President of the US to lift the embargo under given conditions. Equally there are now many Cubans who seek the introduction of “Capitalismo” to lift them out of their poverty and dreary lives. That I think is why President Raul Castro Ruz visited Vietnam and China two years ago to see how they had adopted capitalism. Similarly it is why he forced so many to enter the “private sector” in February 2012.

  • May 25, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Selling intelligence and data has long been a good business for Cuba. In the lead up to the Iraq War, Cuba sold intelligence on the US military to Saddam.

    The Cubans still have agents in the US, perhaps even in the military & CIA. They have in the past, such as Ana Montes.

  • May 25, 2014 at 7:26 am

    It’s not a big mysterious conspiracy. It’s simply an interesting coincidence: Raul’s Soviet mentor was also Putin’s KGB mentor.

    Raul met with Leonov many times. There is no doubt that Raul was the most pro-Soviet member of the Revolution leadership. Leonov was one of the many Soviet agents & advisors sent to guide Raul & Fidel in setting up their Marxist-Leninist dictatorship.

  • May 25, 2014 at 3:40 am

    When are Cuban authorities going to be held to account for the thousands they murdered for political causes, just as members of the Pinochet regime have. After all remember the millions starved to death in Ukraine in 1931/32 on orders of Stalin in the name of Socialism but we have had no one tried for this crime against humanity!

  • May 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    So, does it mean that Cuban spies living in the USA are now sending information to the Russia?

  • May 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Nikolai Leonov met with Raul and Che once. So what? He was off pursuing his university course and had no influence whatsoever on events in Cuba. According to wikileaks Yoani Sanchez has met with a CIA operative and has met the US Special Interests section on several occasions. Does that mean she is planning to turn Cuba into a US colony?

    Cuba has relations with these countries, but not uncritical. The US and UK have also had close relations with some of these countries and even worse eg Equitorial Guinea. So what?

  • May 24, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Vladimir lashing out by re-establishing a needle at US door step. The down side to collecting economically depressed nations as friends is how much they cost. Obama won’t play along. The smart play is to ignore the ploy while letting Russia bleed out as it’s third world resources based economy struggles to support it’s ambitions. What Vladimir is missing is that the threat is not from the US. It is the rise of superpower China. China will be the unmatched Super Power at Russia’s door step. The Middle East is a basket case, but Iran/Iraq coalition will in time also be a major player at Russia’s door step. Under Obama, the US is receding from world leadership. Odd time to deploy resources against it at cost of wreaking other fronts. Vladimir’s power moves are fun to watch, but he has a weak hand to play.

  • May 24, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Vladimir Putin is not into national charity. What ever deal he made, he got better than he gave. What could Cuba offer Vladimir, but to yet again play the puppet ?

  • May 24, 2014 at 5:48 am

    That is a lonely quest you are on to re-brand “Communism”. I take no issue with your conclusion that Cuba is a state-run economy. But it is more, the state seeks to run more than the economy. The pursuit of equality reached absurd levels and the vestiges linger. Raul has figured out that the road to national extinction needs to be reversed. Incentive based economies are just more effective at building national wealth. National wealth is power.

  • May 23, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I agree that re-opening Lourdes is a part of the deal. I don’t believe that buying arms is though. Cuba still owes Russia hundreds of millions in rubles despite a huge amount of debt just recently forgiven two years ago. Instead, I surmise that Cuba is hoping to repay the remaining balance by offering access to port facilities and the Lourdes listening post. Why would Cuba buy weapons? OK, maybe the kinds of things used to put down civil unrest but anything more than that is a waste of money.

  • May 23, 2014 at 10:24 am

    So despite your beliefs and convictions, your priority is to maximize your earning power in a market-based economy. Despite your outward anti-US rants, there’s a capitalist inside of you running the show. Conversely, if you are given to believe that Cubans love their families and elderly parents as much as you do and still choose to leave them behind to seek a better life for themselves and ultimately, through remittances, for their loved ones in Cuba, then surely you can understand how bad life in Cuba must be. Based on the same reasons you swallow your convictions and remain in the US, they choose to migrate to the US. Must not be too bad here after all, eh?

  • May 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Exactly. You have a comfortable life and have no intention of throwing it away for the sake of your lightly held political convictions. Still, you insist the Cuban people should continue to live under conditions you would never accept for yourself.

  • May 23, 2014 at 10:13 am

    The Communist Party of Cuba uses the word “Communist”. Young Cuban militants who join the Party declare themselves “Communists” who believe in “Communism”. The official Cuban discourse declares that Cuba is a Socialist society, on the way towards a future Communist utopia, as per the standard Marxist-Leninist dogma. We all know they will never arrive at the destination, that all similar countries run by Communist Parties become permanently stuck at the Socialist Dictatorship of the Proletariate stage.

    I get it that you have a different definition of what that word means, but so what? Worlds are labels, and labels can be applied to different things. Who is to say you are right and Raul Castro is wrong? He was a Communist (his version) for longer than you have been alive.

  • May 23, 2014 at 7:36 am

    I live here because I was born here, my family and elderly parents live here, and I could not practice my profession which I paid tens of thousands of dollars to acquire the right to practice, elsewhere.

  • May 22, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Do you REALLY consider the “Castros” and the Cuban people to be the same thing? My many Cubans friends would be offended to hear that. The US is “demanding” that the Castros surrender control of the Cuban people to the Cuban people. It looks like the “re-imposition” of capitalism is already in play so that would not be a goal of the US, just common sense.

  • May 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    On re-opening Lourdes: http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/10/1008836_re-g3-russia-cuba-mil-russia-s-top-mil-commander-visits-cuba.html

    There are reports about Cuba allowing the Chinese to use the radar station, too: http://www.inatoday.com/cubadragoneye132012.htm

    The recent visit of a Russian warship was on new media sources around the world, including a piece here at HT.

    That Russia promotes the sale of their military hardware cannot possible come as a surprise to you. Cuba has a lot of old Soviet era equipment that is in desperate need of spare parts and servicing.

  • May 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Source for this information ?
    Ex-Cuban’s website ?

  • May 22, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    The only thing the “Castros” (read: the Cuban people ) do to piss off the GOUSA is to continue their resistance to U.S. re-imposition of capitalism on the island.
    If the U.S. is demanding that the Cubans surrender their revolution and the Cubans refuse , that’s what you call torpedoing negotiations.
    Not too dissimilar to how you would say the Palestinians are torpedoing the Mideast peace talks because they won’t give up their land to Israeli settlements .

  • May 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    We all know you hold a narrow & exclusionary definition of the word “socialism”, and those countries I listed do not fit your definition. But you will have to face reality that there are other people in the world who have other opinions. Many of them use a very different definition of the word “socialism”.

    The fact is the governments of those countries use the term “socialism” and “socialist” to describe their systems and policies. You can go down to Havana and convene a meeting with Raul Castro and the entire Communist Party of Cuba and demand they stop misusing your favourite word. They will laugh and shake their heads at the silly Americano. You can then stamp your feet and tell Raul he has “shit for brains”. See how well that goes over.

    Or you can accept the fact there are different definitions of the word socialism, just as their are different definitions of many other words. There are also many different species of squirrels, for example. You may like red squirrels the best, and that’s your right. But that does not mean that grey squirrels aren’t real squirrels. Likewise, there can be different species of “socialism”

    I accept the world as it is, with many, many people in it, who all have different points of view, different experiences and different opinions, and not as a fantasy in which I dictate how other people are suppose to talk, what words they can use and what those words mean.

  • May 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    You need to cite the source for your post which does not resemble your normal writing.
    Plagiarism is not nice. .

  • May 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I hate to put the kibosh on your little fantasy BUT the government of the United States not only has no interest in establishing democratic institutions anywhere in the world but rather has a foreign policy which has been dedicated to eliminating and preventing the rise of democratic societies for over 100 years.
    In 1918 the U.S. along with a few European countries invaded the nascent Soviet Union to overthrow the ostensibly communist revolution there and reimpose capitalism .
    My guess is that you have no idea of this history given what you posted .
    Here’s some more grist for your mill, between 1945 and the mid-90s, the U.S. committed some 54 separate interventions EXPLICITLY for the purpose of denying or preventing democracy. and not one of those was to establish democratic forms in those countries. Your mention of Guantanamo is apropos as it is the norm and not the alleged exception to the rule as far as U.S. foreign policy tactics go.
    Please do go to the “Killing Hope” website and read the (lengthy) introduction and a few of the free chapters ) to get some idea of actual U.S. foreign policy history which is vastly at odds with your posted assessment .
    I would also recommend regular reading at Znet to get alternative perspectives to the fictional narrative of the corporate media whence you derive your information.
    The government of the U.S. IS imperialist and as such is not likely to have its really dirty laundry aired by the complicit corporate media .
    You have to look elsewhere for the truth of things ..

  • May 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Can you please define communism as YOU understand it because your definition , your examples do not appear in any scholarly teachings on communism .
    Further, no communist society has EVER existed on this planet.
    You need to correct your terminology.

  • May 22, 2014 at 11:59 am

    For the sake of clarity and so that we are all on the same page when discussing Cuba , you cannot use the word communist to mean what Cuba is .
    It is not at all accurate and , in fact, the undemocratic aspects of Cuban society make it antithetical to communism which demands a bottom up structure .
    Leninism ( rule by cadre) is antithetical to communism as well and any top-down structure is automatically disqualified from calling itself communist.
    Totalitarianism in any form has no place in a communist society or structure. If its totalitarian and not democratic, it’s NOT communism
    Most Americans pronounce the word “forte” as for-tay when the correct pronunciation is “fort” and this has become the accepted pronunciation .
    This is just one word and its mispronunciation has no real effect on much but having the meaning of “communism” scattered all over to the extent that totally non-communist forms : the polar opposites are now called communism makes any serious discussion difficult.
    Cuba has a STATE ECONOMY with some socialist aspects but it can a only be called socialist STYLE because it is not run from the bottom up but dictatorially from the top down.
    As you noted the word communist has a bad smell to it with the general public but were this simple explanation to be kept in mind , it might change that thinking:
    communism=direct democracy
    capitalism= totalitarianism
    state-run economies such as Cuba= totalitarianism
    Why not drop the terms socialism and communism altogether from any discussion involving Cuban society and call it what it factually is which is a State-run society .
    I know that defaming Cuba by calling it that dirty word is too big a tool for the ignorant right in the U.S. to let go of and that they’d rather be seen as mental midgets than lose that hammer but it would be far better to deal with the actual philosophies and economic forms as taught in universities rather than what one hears from Fox News.

  • May 22, 2014 at 11:58 am

    And I have been accused many, many times here (including by John G) of hating Cuba and all Cubans when I criticize the Castro regime.

    The comparison you make lacks symmetry. I live in Canada and I support the political system we have. I also admire the US, although I do acknowledge it’s faults.

    But the Castro-regime apologists such as yourself & John admire and support the Castro regime (although, to be fair John does offer some tepid criticism of it from time to time). You also criticize the US in loud, angry and hate-filled diatribes. Yet you chose to live in the US, which you denounce, and not in Cuba which you praise?

    I suspect it is because you know Cuba is a nasty depressing place to actually live, as distinct from short visits and vacations. And you know that your comfortable home in the hated USA is actually very nice and you don’t really want to give it up for your socialist ideals.

  • May 22, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Now why couldn’t I have just said what you did and have saved my (now) wasted time ?

    A perfect response.

  • May 22, 2014 at 11:35 am

    It is not really possible to hate an entire country as you would have it .
    You’re quoting terms used by those who cannot adequately respond to criticisms of the GOUSA (which is not America ) and so you resort to ad hominems or attacking the bearer of bad news because you have no valid counter argument.
    I may hate the imperialist policies of the United States which I have delineated in great detail on a great many occasions and to the extent that it would be impossible for anyone who does not have shit for brains to misunderstand my position as you have .
    Neither Cuba , nor North Korea nor Venezuela nor Laos nor Zimbabwe are socialist by definition.
    Anyone who does not have shit for brains would know this as well and would not post such idiocies
    What’s sad about this little back and forth is that you always fail to absorb the facts, the reality that puts the lie to your beliefs and retreat ever deeper into your fantasy world.
    You then come back and repeat the same nonsense.
    You can repeat your historical, philosophical and sociopathic nonsense as many times as you’d like but you’re still dealing with fantasies you can’t let go of..

  • May 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

    By the same token you and Yoanni Sanchez hate Cuba.

  • May 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

    I deal with the issues. I’m merely suggesting John deal with his.

    The problems that exist between Cuba & the USA are a two way street. The US has attempted, on several occasions, to improve relations with Cuba. The Castro’s have rebuffed the American overtures every time.

    That Fidel Castro decided to align Cuba with the USSR was his decision alone. The US was not to blame for that. Contrary to the popular myth, Castro did not turn reluctantly to Moscow for help when the Americans made him an enemy. Raul & Che had already been in contact with the Soviet Union through the KGB agent Nikolai Leonov, back when they were in exile in Mexico. Fidel figured out that he would need the diplomatic, economic & above all military backing of the USSR if he was going to succeed in his plan of turning Cuba into a Marxist Socialist dictatorship.

    Recently, Cuba has strengthened diplomatic relations with some of the world’s most odious regimes: Bashir al-Assad’s Syria, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, and up until recently, the Libya of the psychopathic dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

    So if today Raul Castro decides to align Cuba with a resurgent and blatantly imperialistic Russia, that will be his “fault” alone. Birds of a feather, as they say.

  • May 22, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Cabildo Mr. X. You confuse the sausage with the Gherkin. They are similar in form, nothing more. By offending why do you try and minimize the criteria, criticisms and proposals of a Cuban left fighting for socialism in Cuba? ‘Is it because you do not share our positions? Then simply discuss with respect? How do you see in Russia today a reflection of the former USSR? Don’t you realize that this is a new imperialist pole?

  • May 22, 2014 at 5:17 am

    Cuba is a Communist Country.

    In Spanish and technically speaking “A glass of Water“ is in reality “A Glass with Water”. However everybody calls it “A Glass of Water”, it is accepted and no one will be able to change it, even if you are an expert and try to convince everybody to call it otherwise. The term ‘Glass of Water” is correct because is accepted. I have to admit that I haven’t asked if this is the same in English.

    Cuba is a communist country, we want to call it like that and they want to be called like that. The members of the communist party dream and fight to have a society where they control everything and the individual has to obey their decisions. They will never accept to be peacefully challenged; if you try to do it you will be repressed.

    With the time, and being an ideology so despicable the term communist
    has become a derogative word. This term is of course less derogative and cynical that the one they used to call the Cuban opponents: “Gusanos” (worms). I now realize that for many years I thought that the invisible opponents to the Cuban government were not humans so it was ok to step on them and kill them…. so what… they weren’t humans…just worms.

    But if someone wants to know a bit more about the political system
    in Cuba this is how it was explained:

    To be a communist you need to read and understand the Communist Manifesto and the Capital. If your dream was to achieve the goals set on those books you could call yourself a communist. The Dialectic of Hegel and Materialism of Feuerbach had to be combined with the economic theories of Engels and Marx and of course Lenin practical experience. You needed to agree with the Law of “Quality Changes and Quantities Changes”, the law “Essence and Content” and the law of “Negation of Negation”, even if you didn’t know what they meant. You needed to answer affirmatively to the question, Is the world cognoscible or not? and more…

    There was not a communist country in the world. For a country to be a communist state it had to be well developed, among other things money was no necessary in a communist state. Even the communists knew it was a utopia.
    The Soviet Union was only a Socialist State; it was well developed but could
    not be called communist yet.
    Cuba wasn’t communist neither socialist, it was “in a period of transition from capitalism to socialism”.

    So maybe, we all accept that there has never been a communist country but Cuba is a communist country. Like we accept to say ‘A Glass of Water “.

  • May 22, 2014 at 2:30 am

    In the past Cuban spies have been caught spying on US military installations that have no relation to Cuba. The Avispa spy ring, run by the 5 spies Cuba now has decree “heroes”, was one of them. At the time it was alleged that Cuba traded intelligence with “friendly” regimes.

  • May 22, 2014 at 2:24 am

    How about actually dealing with the issues raised. John is right. The US have had 25 years to make up and mend fences with Cuba following the end of the cold war. If Cuba ends up on the other side of a new cold war the US will only have themselves to blame.

  • May 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    What are they sharing? So, the many Cuban spies living in
    the USA will be passing information to the Russian to protect Cuba?…..What
    are the Russians doing with that information?

    In the heart of every Cuban communist is to go backwards, they will not hesitate to reopen the Lourdes Centre, close churches, ban private enterprise, force people to ask permission to travel or even to change jobs, send thousands to fight overseas when they don’t want to go. They will impose longer jail terms to dissidents and increase repression.

    If you have live among them you know that’s their dream (they are only in an impasse because the pressure put on them). Communist as a social system must disappear.

  • May 21, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Russia wants to use Lourdes again to track US communications, they want to US Cuban ports for Russian Navy ships, and they want to sell Russian weapons to Cuba. The Russians are prepared to spend money for the first two, and make money on the latter.

  • May 21, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Dear John,

    It’s clear you have a deep and unrelenting hatred of America. It must really be hard on you to live your entire life in America, work in America, enjoy the freedom and affluence of your lifestyle in America. It must all be so very difficult for you.

    I have a suggestion: why don’t you go live somewhere else, somewhere more to your liking? Cuba perhaps, or North Korea, maybe Venezuela or Laos or Zimbabwe? All lovely so-called socialist countries (I know, I know… give it a rest) where the governments hate America just as much as you do. I’m sure they have many like minded cognoscenti you can discuss your favourite topics with. You will feel right at home.

  • May 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    God bless the handsome young, knight, Colonel Alejandro Castro Espin, who has now been passed the glorious torch of the defense of Cuba. The ideological fifth columnist operating as some super-revolutionary and basking in the glory of mediatic narcissism to condemn every step taken by the Cuban leadership whilst never offering a details of his super-revolutionary hodge-podge must be assured that Cuba is not seeking a patron but is acting proactively to pre-empt the extension of the naked, worldwide imperialist aggression that masquerades as promoting democracy, using the tools of political and theological fascism. As the world has seen, Russia has been completely surrounded with the last leg being regime-change in Ukraine through Neo-Nazis – $5 billion spent on “Maidan cookies” (with the sons of Biden rewarded with lucrative board positions on Ukranian oil companies) while atrocities are committed against the anti-fascist and self-determination forces, democracy in Libya and Syria through known theo-fascist terrorist groups. Venezuela is surrounded by 5 US military bases in Colombia and generous dollars to the opposition, through the well-known sources, to engage in Maidan-style street disorder and subversion of all public order, a pivot to Asia that has meant surrounding China with bases notably in Australia, The Cuban leadership is not stupid – it sees the dangerous geo-political chess game of aggression of international imperialism being played clearly. Long live the security cooperation agreement between Russia and Cuba! Cuba will not be anybody’s cakewalk.

  • May 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks to the commenters. You may have noticed lately that I’m exchanging with you, because I appreciate your criteria although many do not share my views. For me that’s no problem and I hope not for you.

  • May 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I am more than bemused by John Goodrich suggesting that Russia is not the problem and tha Cuba is not the problem, all problems apparently emanate from the United States. Why not add all he other friends who are non problems? Bashar Assad of Syria, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Kim Yung Un of North Korea, Madura of Venezuela and other dictatorial types. Paranoia runs rife in the dictatorships. Putin determined that as most of the people in The Crimea speak Russian he therefore should annex it. Exactly the same reasoning as Hitler a National Socialist used to annex the Sudetenland. Madura braodcast that there had been a fascist attack upon the Venezuelan Embassy in Aruba when in fact a drunken Venezuelan who had been in Aruba for 24 hours had swerved and hiis hire car hit the window. I personally think that the embargo is counter-productive and it is used effectively by the Castro regime to alleviate potential criticism of their inepttitude. The US for better or worse has clarified that it seeks open free elections in Cuba and the restoration of human rights. (Presumably not of the Guantanamo type). Europeans are well aware of the history of the Russian bear whether under the Tsars, tthe Communists or Putin. Why do none of Russia’s neighbours trust Russia? Yes, the Castro regime seeks friends able to provide financial support as it has proven to be unable to sustain itself. Russia under Putin appears appropriate.

  • May 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    The United States has shown no intentions of lifting the embargo and/or ending its 54 year attempt at crushing the Cuban economy ( and revolution) .
    The Russian penchant for totalitarian governments is now solidly enhanced by their adoption of feral (totalitarian) capitalism to replace the socialist-style state economy it had in the USSR.
    As such , the Russians are about as despicable and as poor a model for the Cubans to emulate as would be the similar U.S. totalitarian systems .
    That said, Cuba has few allies in an otherwise capitalist planet largely under the hegemonic control of the American Empire and “the enemy of my enemy” thinking on the part of Cuban leadership is quite operative and necessary until the U.S. ends its hostile attitude vis a vis Cuba.
    The added possible loss of Venezuelan oil subsidies makes this alliance with Russia a no-brainer for the Cuban government .
    If the U.S. does not like Cuba allying with the Russians, it should reconsider its counter-revolutionary policies so as to make that alliance unnecessary.
    Russia is not the problem.
    Cuba is not the problem .
    The long-standing U.S. policy of overthrowing governments it does not like is the problem.
    You should know this.

  • May 21, 2014 at 11:33 am

    There’s a curious connection between Raul Castro & Vladimir Putin.

    Raul Castro’s travels and contact with Soviet KGB agent Nikolai Leonov—whom he met in 1953 during a trip to the Soviet-bloc nations and again in 1955 during his exile in Mexico City—facilitated Cuba’s close ties with the Soviets after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Leonov would later become the USSR’s KGB man in Havana.

    In February 1960, he accompanied Soviet Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan on his visit to Havana, where he renewed his contact with Che, to whom he gave a precision marksman’s pistol, “on behalf of the Soviet people”. During the 1960s he served as a senior KGB officer stationed in Mexico. During the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, he received regular reports from agents in Floridawith respect to American military preparations. He felt sure at the time that a nuclear confrontation would not be the result of the crisis. He served as interpreter on Fidel Castro’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1963.

    Between 1983 and January 1991, Leonov was Deputy Chief of the First Chief Directorate of the State Security Committee (KGB) of the Soviet Union, the second most important post within the KGB structure. Previously he was Sub-Director of the KGB’s Analysis and Information Department (1973-1982) and Sub-Director of its Latin American Department (1968-1972). Leonov has a Doctoratein Latin American History, from the USSR Academy of Sciences.

    In December 2003, Leonov was elected to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, as a member of the nationalist Rodina party. He is closely identified with the current Kremlin administration and is a long-time friend and mentor of his former KGB subordinate, former President Vladimir Putin.

  • May 21, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Excellent article. As has happened many times in the past, when the stars have aligned and the US has begun to move toward warming relations with Cuba, the Castros do something to torpedo the possibility. It should be clear to even the casual reader here at HT that the Castro elite have no interest in lifting the embargo. It is also a huge ‘middle finger’ to their Brazilian partners that in the continuance of the embargo, the Port of Mariel will remain underutilized and Cuba’s ability to repay the $900 million in loans will remain dependent on pimping medical services. So how does a Russian/Cuban security agreement work? If NATO tanks roll into the Ukraine, the Castros counterattack Miami? That’s a death sentence for Havana! If Russia threatens into a NATO country, and US jets respond, does that mean Cuban jets lift off for Texas? They would never make it to dry land. The agreement isn’t worth the paper its printed on and only fuels the wrath of anticastristas. Sounds a lot like the shooting down of the unarmed Brothers to the Rescue Cessnas in international waters. What a stupid plan!

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