MIAMI – “The Cuban government is desperate, they have no money, no gas, no food.”
This was stated by Otto Reich, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, former US Ambassador to Venezuela and President of the Center for a Free Cuba.
Reich reacts to news that Russia and Cuba are rekindling their relationship, which had all but disappeared since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.
Back in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Soviet Union was a major player in Cuba, supporting the communist-based economy of the Castro government.
The Russians were saved when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Now they say they’re back with big promises and the Cubans have sweetened the pie.
Russia is offering Cuba lucrative deals on gasoline, emergency donations of wheat, promises to build hotels, increase the flow of tourists from Russia, and open retail stores with Russian household goods.
In return, Cuba will provide Russian entrepreneurs with real estate on a long-term lease.
Russian banks can open duty-free import of Russian equipment.
Russian business will be able to withdraw profits from the country.
“There is a promise to open a car assembly plant in Russia,” Reich quickly mentions.
“I was told that they were sending people to reconstruct the spy station,” he said.
The Russians operated the easy-to-reset spy station for years, then phased out their setup, but now they can get it back.
Cuba watchers say we should be prepared for more Russian warships in the port of Havana. Russian long-range bombers fly along the US East Coast and land in Cuba.
Russian spy ships lingered near the Atlantic territorial waters of the United States of America.
“They Russians have always seen Cuba as a permanent aircraft carrier off the coast of the United States.”
Chris Simmons, a former counterintelligence officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency and an authority on the Cuban intelligence services, helped capture one of the most successful Cuban spies infiltrating the highest levels of the DIA.
Simmons told CBS News Miami, “It won’t be a return to the Cold War, but a lot of the tactics we’ve seen before will be back.”
“Intellectually and financially, Havana is well positioned to make deals… and get some much-needed cash in the process,” Simmons added.
Cuba has always actively collected valuable intelligence and sold it for cash to persons unfriendly to the US.
And what does Cuba offer in the world of intelligence / espionage?
A bunch of.
The Cubans conduct one of the world’s best intelligence operations “on the ground.” It is important for Russia, as well as for Ukraine, they are waging a proxy war with the United States
“They can go to the Cubans and tell them what the US Special Forces are doing in the area, and the Cubans can tell them because they have been watching these units for years,” Simmons said.
According to Otto Reich, “This has to be taken seriously, we have to keep an eye on it. Before, when I was in government, we followed Cuba very closely.”