Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

Cuba escapes UN sanctions in North Korean weapons transport scheme

| July 30th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

But it puts a North Korea ship-operating company on its sanctions list.

BY JUAN O. TAMAYO

The United Nations has sanctioned a North Korean shipping company but spared Cuban entities in connection with a Cuban weapons shipment seized aboard a Pyongyang-bound freighter in violation of a U.N. arms embargo.

Ocean Maritime Management Company, Ltd., a North Korean company that managed the freighter Chong Chon Gang when it was seized in Panama last summer, was added Monday to the list of violators of the embargo.

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) committee that enforces the embargo said the company “played a key role in arranging the shipment of concealed cargo of arms and related materiel from Cuba.” Inclusion in the list carries banking and travel sanctions.

But the committee did not add to the list any of the Cuban enterprises or individuals involved in the shipment of 240 tons of Cuban MiG ... Read More

Everything We Know About The Huge Spy Base In Cuba That Russia Is Reopening

| July 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Business Insider

BY COREY ADWAR

Moscow and Havana have agreed to reopen a Cold War-era signals intelligence (SIGINT) base in Lourdes, Cuba. An agreement was reached during Putin’s visit to Cuba last week to reopen the base, Russia business daily Kommersant reported last week. That was confirmed by a Russian security source who told Reuters: “A framework agreement has been agreed.”

The base was set up in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis had brought the U.S. and Soviet Union close to confrontation over Moscow’s proposal to place nuclear weapons on Cuban soil.

Havana shut it down in 2001 because of financial issues and American pressure.

Located south of Cuba’s capital Havana and just 150 miles from the U.S. coast, the base left many parts of the U.S. vulnerable to Soviet communication intercepts, including exchanges between Florida space centers and U.S. spacecraft.

Here’s what a Congressional report from 2000 said about the facility:

• The Secretary of Defense formally ... Read More

Editorial: Oswaldo Payá’s death in Cuba two years ago still awaits a proper investigation.

| July 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

Two years ago Tuesday, a blue rental car was wrecked off a deserted road in eastern Cuba. In the back seat was Oswaldo Payá, one of Cuba’s best-known dissidents, who had championed the idea of a democratic referendum on the nation’s future. Mr. Payá’s voice was not the loudest against the Castro dictatorship, but it was one of the most committed and determined. On the day of the car crash, he had been trying for more than a decade to bring about a peaceful revolution, one that would empower Cubans to decide their own fate and end the half-century of misrule by Fidel and Raúl Castro.

Mr. Payá endured harassment and intimidation for his efforts. Many of his friends and allies were jailed. He received threats by phone and other warnings, some violent. But he did not give up. On the day of the crash, Mr. Payá was traveling with a young associate, Harold ... Read More

China’s Xi eyes increased investment in Cuba

| July 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

Havana (AFP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Cuba with hopes of expanding political and economic ties in the fellow communist nation.

The tour of the Americas’ only one-party communist nation is the last leg of a weeklong trip in the region that has already taken Xi to Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, as he reaches out to resource-rich countries often shunned by the United States and Europe.

The Chinese leader arrived in Havana late Monday from Caracas for the two-day official visit.

Xi aims to make his country — already Cuba’s second-largest trading partner after Venezuela and its primary source of credit — a major investor on the Caribbean island.

Coinciding with his trip, about 50 Chinese entrepreneurs traveled to Havana to explore business opportunities, attracted by foreign investment incentives and the future Mariel free trade zone outside the capital.

“We want Chinese businessmen to invest in Cuba and partner with Cuban companies,” said ... Read More

Putin’s hemispheric charm offensive

| July 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
The China Post-01

By John J. Metzler

It’s been a momentous week for Russian President Vladimir Putin. While the major media focused on his trip to Brazil to accept the handover for the next FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in Russia as well as his participation in the Summit of the BRIC economic powers, the real story was the largely overlooked wraparound of his Latin American charm offensive. Here’s the background.

Cuba

Before flying to Brazil for the final soccer match and the FIFA handover for the 2018 World Cup, Putin first stopped in Cuba to renew the spark of the old cold war alliance between Castro’s communists and the Soviet Union. While Russia’s political system has witnessed significant change since 1991 following the formal collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba remains in a kind of tropical torpor time warp. The Castro brothers still run the island but the revolutionary zeal is long gone and replaced ... Read More

Russia Rejoins Cuba’s Espionage Apparatchik in the Americas

| July 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Mexi Data

By Jerry Brewer

In order to effectively monitor aggression, hostile intelligence acts, interference, and other forms of insurgency within their homelands, democracies throughout the Americas must immediately address their governments’ counterintelligence missions against those rogue and dictatorial style regimes that pose obvious threats.

Russia’s recent decision to reopen its electronic spying center in Cuba is once again an obvious act that aggressively demonstrates support for the Cuban Castro regime, and a shared dispute versus the United States.

The Lourdes base closed 13 years ago, having been built in 1962. The closing was reportedly due to the economic crisis in Russia, along with repeated requests from the United States.

Lourdes served as a signals’ intelligence (SIGINT) facility, among other applications, located just 100 miles from the United States at Key West, Florida. During what has been described as the Cold War, the Lourdes facility was believed to be staffed “by over 1,500 KGB, GRU, Cuban DGI, and Eastern ... Read More

Putin’s Pirates Of The Caribbean Tour

| July 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
IBD

Geopolitics: Vladimir Putin blew through Latin America last week, handing out goodies to anti-U.S. regimes. But he insists he doesn’t want to reopen an old spy base in Cuba, which we find disingenuous.

The scope of the Russian president’s visit took the U.S. by surprise. Instead of just attending the World Cup final and a summit of BRICS countries, Putin made an unexpected visit to Nicaragua, with talk of a military land base there. He then flew to Argentina, reportedly with promises for two nuclear plants, and on to Venezuela to offer a credit lifeline.

Last but not least, Putin stopped in Cuba to sign deals on everything from electricity output to exploration for oil with Rosneft (the company whose unsavory oligarch, Igor Sechin, was the target of Wednesday’s sanctions over Ukraine). There was also a dramatic announcement that Russia would forgive 90% of Cuba’s $35 billion debt.

But on Thursday, Putin denied that ... Read More

China, Russia leaders seek South American inroads

| July 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By JOSHUA GOODMAN

It’s enough to make an aging U.S. Cold Warrior shudder.

During overlapping visits to Latin America, the leaders of China and Russia have been welcomed with open arms by governments that are among the most hostile to Washington, including Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Together with stops in Argentina and Brazil, which both have distanced themselves from the U.S. in recent years, the tours underscore the mix of ideology and economics that’s allowing the two superpowers to expand their influence in America’s backyard.

“These are all countries the U.S. has some real question marks about,” said Kevin Gallagher, a Boston University economist and expert on Chinese-Latin American ties. “It’s going to require some PR so as not to be interpreted in certain, phobic circles as an overt alignment with left-leaning governments at odds with the U.S.”

Both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin said their visits were focused on ... Read More

Report: Russia will reopen spy base in Cuba

| July 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JUAN O. TAMAYO

A report that Russia will reopen a Havana base that eavesdropped on U.S. communications from Key West to Washington has triggered fresh warnings of Moscow’s expansionism and predictions of a continued freeze in U.S.-Cuba relations.

Until its closure in 2002, the Lourdes base was Moscow’s largest intelligence facility abroad, with up to 1,500 KGB and GRU military intelligence officers manning an array of antennas and computers in the super-secret 28-square-mile base.

“If the report is true, there’s no question Washington will put Cuba engagement on the back burner,” said Andy Gomez, a retired Cuba specialist at the University of Miami and now senior policy advisor for the Washington law firm Poblete Tamargo.

Alvaro Alba, a Miami expert on Russia, said reopening Lourdes would underscore President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions and cast a pall on U.S.-Cuba relations as dark as that caused by Havana’s imprisonment of U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross since ... Read More

Russia’s Ambitious Energy Diplomacy in Latin America

| July 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Oil Price

By Nick Cunningham

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking to build alliances to counter Western influence, signed several energy deals in Latin America this past week.

The first stop on Putin’s six-day tour was Havana on July 11, where he met with Cuban President Raul Castro. The two sides reached an agreement that could see Russia exploring for oil in Caribbean waters, which would build up Cuba’s offshore oil industry. Putin also decided to wipe away 90 percent of the $32 billion worth of debt Cuba owes Russia, most of it dating back to the Soviet era.

The agreement was no doubt motivated by Putin’s desire to push back against what he views as U.S. meddling in Ukraine. Exploring for oil only a few dozen miles from the U.S. coast is a finger in Uncle Sam’s eye. “We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba,” Putin said on July ... Read More

Vladimir Putin y Raúl Castro destapan base de la Guerra fría, en La Habana

| July 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

POR JUAN O. TAMAYO

Un reporte de que Rusia reabrirá una base en La Habana que espiaba las comunicaciones de Estados Unidos desde Cayo Hueso hasta Washington ha provocado nuevas advertencias contra el expansionismo de Moscú y predicciones de una continuada frialdad en las relaciones EEUU-Cuba.

Hasta su clausura en el 2002, la base de Lourdes fue el mayor centro de inteligencia de Moscú en el extranjero, con más de 1,500 agentes de la KGB y de la inteligencia militar GRU manipulando una serie de antenas y computadoras en la base supersecreta de 28 millas cuadradas.

“Si el reporte es cierto, no hay duda de que Washington pondrá en pausa el mejoramiento de las relaciones con Cuba”, dijo Andy Gómez, especialista retirado sobre Cuba de la Universidad de Miami y ahora asesor político del bufete legal Poblete Tamargo de Washington.

Alvaro Alba, experto en Rusia, dijo que la reapertura de Lourdes subrayaría las ambiciones ... Read More

Russia ‘agrees to reopen Cuba spy base’

| July 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

Moscow (AFP) – Russia has provisionally agreed to reopen a major Cold War listening post on Cuba that was used to spy on the United States, a Russian daily reported Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin visited the island last week.

Kommersant reported that Russia and Cuba had agreed “in principle” to reopen the Lourdes base, mothballed since 2001, citing several sources within Russian authorities.

“The agreements were finalised while President Vladimir Putin visited Havana last Friday,” the respected daily wrote.

Russia had closed the Lourdes spy base south of Havana on Putin’s orders to save money and due to a rapprochement with the United States after the September 11 attacks.

But Moscow has since shown a new interest in Latin America and its Cold War ally Cuba and relations with the West have deteriorated amid the Ukraine crisis.

The base was set up in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis ... Read More

China’s Shaky Latin American Liabilities

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The National Interest

By Matt Ferchen

China may have been a no-show for the 2014 World Cup, but at next weeks’ 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, all eyes will be on President Xi Jinping. While the summit is likely to result in important announcements such as a Shanghai-based BRICS Bank, the rest of Xi’s Latin America visit, which will include stops in Cuba, Venezuela, and Argentina, is bound to attract even more headlines.

Pundits inside and outside of China will either trumpet or decry the trip as a grand tour of China’s Latin American socialist and statist friends and a slap in the face to the United States. However, no matter how much socialist solidarity and “South-South” diplomatic back-slapping is offered up for public consumption, President Xi’s trip will actually be less about deepening already healthy ties with strong regional allies than seeking to mitigate deep anxieties about its commercial and diplomatic relations with dysfunctional friends.

In contrast ... Read More

Chinese President leaves for Latin America

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Xinhuanet

BEIJING, July 13 – Chinese President Xi Jinping left Beijing on Sunday morning for statevisits to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.

Xi will visit the four countries at the invitation of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff,Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Raul Castro, president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba.

Xi will attend the sixth BRICS Summit and the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Summit in Brazil.

Xi’s entourage includes Wang Huning, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Policy Research Office of theCPC Central Committee; Li Zhanshu, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC CentralCommittee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and director of theGeneral Office of the CPC Central Committee and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.

Click here for original article.

Read More

Putin Meets With Fidel Castro During Latin American Visit

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

HAVANA (AP) –  Russian President Vladimir Putin began a six-day Latin American tour aimed at boosting trade and ties in the region with a stop Friday in Cuba, a key Soviet ally during the Cold War that has backed Moscow in its dispute with the West over Ukraine.

The two countries signed about a dozen accords in areas such as energy, industry, health and disaster prevention. Russian companies will participate in petroleum projects around Boca de Jaruco on the island’s north coast, and that cooperation will extend to offshore oil deposits, Cuban government website Cubadebate said.

Another agreement covered infrastructure at a big new port project that Cuba hopes will become a regional shipping center and attract much-needed foreign investment.

“We are talking about the possibility of creating in Cuba a grand transportation hub with a possible modernization of the maritime port of Mariel and the construction of a modern airport with its ... Read More

Cuba cracks down, arrests 100 women dissidents

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
msn

Cuban authorities arrested an unusually large group of about 100 dissident marchers Sunday, breaking up a march by the Ladies in White opposition activists.

Shouting “Freedom! Freedom!,” the women offered no resistance as they were put on buses by dozens of police and plainclothes agents of the only communist-ruled country in the Americas.

A group of about 100 government supporters, who arrived along with the authorities at the scene in Havana’s Miramar district, angrily shouted “Viva Fidel, Viva Raul” as the women were whisked away.

The women’s group, formed in 2003 by wives and relatives of political prisoners, marches with the government’s permission every Sunday in the Cuban capital after hearing mass at Santa Rita parish church.

Since theirs is the only group that has government permission for a regular protest, arrests are few and infrequent.

But on Sunday, dozens of police moved in and surrounded the large crowd of marchers two blocks from ... Read More

Strengthening of Russia-Cuba relations to be priority of Putin’s visit to Cuba

| July 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Itar Tass

MOSCOW, July 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Strengthening of trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation between Russia and Cuba will be in the focus of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cuba, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov has said.

Putin’s agenda for the visit to Cuba

Putin will arrive in Havana on Friday, July 11. He will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro and leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro.

Putin’s informal talk with 87-year-old Fidel Castro will open his visit. “Fidel Castro did not take any state or party posts. But he is leader of the Cuban Revolution and observes the development of the situation in the world,” Ushakov said adding that the conversation might be very interesting.

During the talks with Raul Castro, it is planned to touch upon a wide range of issues, including the implementation of agreements reached during previous visits, as well as to determine the priorities for further development of bilateral ... Read More

Cuba prosecutes Canadian after he denounced corruption – company

| July 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Daniel Trotta

HAVANA, July 7 (Reuters) – Cuba has prosecuted and is likely to send Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian to prison after he denounced corruption in the Havana government’s awarding of contracts, his company said on Monday.

“Cy Tokmakjian spoke out against corruption as it was clear the company was losing contracts to others for unexplained reasons. It’s possible this outspokenness led to what is now happening,” Lee Hacker, vice president of finance for the company, said in a statement on Monday.

Tokmakjian and two other Canadian citizens from his transportation company, the Tokmakjian Group, which has done business in Cuba for 22 years, stood trial on charges of bribery and other economic crimes in June.

A verdict and sentencing in the closely watched case are expected soon.

Cuban prosecutors are seeking a 15-year prison term for Tokmakjian and 12 years each for his managers, fellow Canadians Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche. All three ... Read More

Sen. Robert Menendez seeks probe of alleged Cuban plot to smear him

| July 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Carol D. Leonnig and Manuel Roig-Franzia

Sen. Robert Menendez is asking the Justice Department to pursue evidence obtained by U.S. investigators that the Cuban government concocted an elaborate plot to smear him with allegations that he cavorted with underage prostitutes, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In a letter sent to Justice Department officials, the senator’s attorney asserts that the plot was timed to derail the ­political rise of Menendez (D-N.J.), one of Washington’s most ardent critics of the Castro regime. At the time, Menendez was running for reelection and was preparing to assume the powerful chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

According to a former U.S. official with firsthand knowledge of government intelligence, the CIA had obtained credible evidence, including Internet protocol addresses, linking Cuban agents to the prostitution claims and to efforts to plant the story in U.S. and Latin American media.

The alleged Cuba connection was laid out in an intelligence ... Read More

Putin to visit Cuba and other LatAm nations

| July 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
From AFP

President Vladimir Putin will next week begin a major Latin America tour that will take him to Cuba, Argentina and Brazil as he seeks to counter Russia’s growing international isolation over the Ukraine crisis.

Putin will begin his six-day tour with the July 11 visit to Cuba, the Kremlin said on Friday, where he will meet President Raul Castro and the 87-year-old father of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

The visit to the Communist-run island will come as tensions remain high between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis. Havana has sided with its old ally Russia in the conflict.

Putin and his Cuban hosts are expected to discuss cooperation in energy, transport, aviation, space and health, the Kremlin said.

He will then travel to Argentina for trade and energy talks with President Cristina Kirchner, before moving on to a summit of the BRICS group of developing countries in Brazil.

The highlight of the ... Read More

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