Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Russians Are Coming? (Take Two)

“Russian space center in Cuba” is a phrase that gets your attention.

Fox News conjures up images of “rockets in Cuba,” albeit without nuclear warheads, and former State Department official Lawrence Wilkerson discusses a “space launch facility.”

If you check out what the Russians are actually talking about, it’s not a Caribbean Cape Canaveral, and no launchpads seem to be involved.

This English-language opinion article from Novosti recalls last month’s visit of a Russian security chief to Cuba, the Russian desire to reassert itself in the Western hemisphere, and the Soviet-era history of space project cooperation with Cuba. What is under discussion now, the article says, is a “proposed Cuban space center [that] will process data received from Russian remote-sensing and navigation satellites,” and plans to “jointly use orbital telecommunications networks.”

See also this Novosti news article on the satellite system in question.

The whole thing sounds like a tracking, data, and communications station. But as they say, trust but verify.

More on the Cuba-Russia relationship here and here.


Anonymous said...

I think Russia is smart enough to realize Cuba won't be of much benefit. I don't even think they trust the Cuban leadership at all. What they probably will do is try to position as many of their agents as they possibly can, inside Cuba or inside the Cuban intelligence services. Plus a few other things. Perhaps Venezuela will be a better option, along with other nations in S. America, if they really wanted to "even" the power imbalance in the world. I don't think we'll see a repetion of 1962 involving Cuba once more. I least I hope not. That's the last thing a country like Cuba needs. They might try to influence whatever transition there is in Cuba, in a secret way. But both the US. and the Castro brothers are aware of that possibility. I don't think they trust the Russians. And the Russians don't trust them either. That is the way I see it.

leftside said...

This is of little interest of and by itself, but in a week where Gazprom signed a multi-billion dollar deal with Bolivia and their Naval fleet was on its way to Venezuela, some larger trend is at work. Russia is rediscovering Latin America - after the US crossed a red line in Georgia. Maybe Russia has finally devised the only thing the US understands is real-politik - power and position.

Anonymous said...

hah, those loony regimes can have the Russians. Just like the dopey Castristas they'll find out they have nothing in common, will begin to hate each other, and both sides will wind up poorer for it.