The Havana Whodunnit: What Nation Just Built An “Unprecedented” Spy Radar Base In Cuba?

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A time sequence of the construction of radome containing parabolic antenna at Bejucal sigint facility. (Source: Victor Robert Lee & Digital Globe)

 

According to a new surveillance report from The Diplomat, exclusive satellite imagery from March 2017 to May 2018 reveals a newly expanded “signals intelligence” military facility near Bejucal, Cuba.

The report focuses on a massive radome sitting on top of an elevated concrete mounting structure. From satellite imagery, the structure looks like a giant golf ball, but it is actually a protective dome housing a super sophisticated radar antenna inside. As mentioned by The Diplomat, this radome is the first of its kind among the various spy antennas at Bejucal, which have been used to intercept electronic communications, ballistic missile monitoring, and tracking of satellites from the United States. Continue reading

Raul Castro’s daughter: His successor may surprise Cubans

AP

 

HAVANA (AP) — One of the highest-profile members of Cuba’s ruling family said Wednesday that the country could be surprised by the person who succeeds her father as president.

Mariela Castro’s uncle Fidel led Cuba for a half century before he was succeeded as president by her father, Raul Castro, who has said he plans to step down in February. Continue reading

Countering ‘A Range of Enemy Actions’: Cuba Calls 5 Days of War Games

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© AP Photo/ IN Cuban State-Agency

 

 

Around the same time that Donald Trump was declared the winner of the US presidential election, Havana said that they would begin military exercises, though it is unclear whether the announcements are related.

The communist island will spend five days conducting its Bastion Strategic Exercise drills to prepare troops for “a range of enemy actions.” Historically, these exercises have been conducted during times of high tension with the United States. Continue reading

China, Cuba agree to deepen ties during PM Li’s Havana visit

HAVANA (Reuters) – Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang met with Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday during a two-day trip to Havana, and the two leaders oversaw the signing of around 30 agreements on economic cooperation in various sectors, Cuban state media reported.

Li is the first Chinese premier to visit Cuba since the two countries established diplomatic relations 56 years ago, although President Xi Jinping visited in 2014. Continue reading

Why Is the Pope Meddling in American Politics?

We need to see Pope Francis’s criticisms of Donald Trump, as well as America’s immigration and economic policy, in context.

No moment of the pope’s visit to Mexico in February was more powerful and symbolic than his trip to the American border.

Soon the pope descended to give the first-ever Catholic mass that straddled the border between two countries. About 200,000 people watched from the Mexican side of the border, and around 50,000 from the U.S. Continue reading

The Castros Are Getting Everything They Want From Obama

Raúl’s speech in 2014 sealed the deal when he mentioned that communist rule had paid off as America had given in and that communism was there to stay.

 

The White House decision to disinvite a Grammy-award winning jazz legend who is a strong defender of democracy in Cuba was nothing short of contemptible.

The fact that it has now embarrassingly backtracked and re-invited him proves it had acted like corporations that are only too happy to ignore human rights violations in exchange for future profits with Cuba until public pressure gets too intense.

In other words, engagement with the Castros is not changing them, as promised, it’s changing us—as many of us predicted. It bears repeating it: The Castros, like all dictators, are bacterial. You touch them and you become contaminated. We are diminishing ourselves, and for what? The Castros have rendered Cuba a pauperized state, with no money. Continue reading

Can Americans Finally Trust Communist Cuba?

Also don’t forget what Raúl Castro said in regards to its renewed ties to America not changing a thing about how the Communist nation is run.

 

Likening the United States and Cuba to long-estranged brothers struggling to reconnect, President Obama said in his televised address: “I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas. I have come here to extend the hand of friendship to the Cuban people.” Continue reading

Forgetting Castro’s Crimes

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Fidel Castro and Raul Castro in 1959 / AP

 

Review: Rafael Rojas, ‘Fighting Over Fidel: The New York Intellectuals and the Cuban Revolution’

Between the Old Left and the New Left, between the radicalism of the 1930s and the radicalism of the 1970s, there comes the curious figure of Fidel Castro. A celebrated revolutionary thinker. The absolute ruler of Cuba—and, for a time, the man believed to have finally solved the Communist dilemma: finding a way of being Marxist without becoming Stalinist, creating a fully socialist state that would not harden into totalitarianism.

He didn’t, of course. Soon after it seized power in 1959, Castro’s revolutionary government became a socialist dictatorship, barely distinguishable from all the other Communist states of its time. But the surprising lesson of Rafael Rojas’s new book, Fighting Over Fidel, is how brief was the time, how narrow the window, that serious leftists actually believed in Castro’s exceptionalism. Continue reading

Courting Cuba—The EU Is Eager to Move In

 

The French president’s historic visit to Cuba is part of a European effort to pursue closer relations with the island.

“I had before me a man who made history,” said French President François Hollande after meeting former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. That’s a curiously positive response to a meeting with the man who could well have ended history had the Cuban Missile Crisis gone down a little differently. But it is typical of the positive response Cuba is getting from Europe right now.

The world is going through a kind of “Cuban spring.” Except not much is actually changing in the nation’s dictatorial government. Instead, other nation’s attitudes toward Cuba are thawing.

Continue reading

Former Soviet spy: We created Liberation Theology

Ion Mihai Pacepa on Raul Castro’s yacht in Cuba, 1974. Photo courtesy of Ion Mihai Pacepa.

 

 

.- Espionage deep in the heart of Europe. Secrets in the KGB. Defection from a communist nation. Ion Mihai Pacepa has seen his share of excitement, serving as general for Communist Romania’s secret police before defecting to the United States in the late 1970s.

The highest-ranking defector from communism in the ‘70s, he spoke to CNA recently about the connection between the Soviet Union and Liberation Theology in Latin America. Below are excerpts of the interview. All footnotes were provided by Pacepa.

In general, could you say that the spreading of Liberation Theology had any kind of Soviet connection?

Yes. I learned the fine points of the KGB involvement with Liberation Theology from Soviet General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, communist Romania’s chief razvedka (foreign intelligence) adviser – and my de facto boss, until 1956, when he became head of the Soviet espionage service, the PGU1,  a position he held for an unprecedented record of 15 years.

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Chinese missile warheads found on ship en-route to Cuba

Colombian authorities found a total of 99 Chinese-built missile warheads of unspecified type on 3 March during an inspection of Chinese-flagged merchant vessel Da Dan Xiu at Cartagena.

These were due to be delivered to Cuba. Continue reading

Why Did Pope Francis Push for a U.S.-Cuba Thaw?

The surprise restoration of relations between the United States and Cuba represents a major victory for the pope. Is it cause for celebration?

“How many divisions does the pope of Rome have?” That was Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s reply after British Prime Minister Winston Churchill advised him, in the aftermath of World War ii, to consider the Vatican’s perspective while laying out a plan for the future of Eastern Europe.

Stalin respected only brute force. The Vatican had none, so he dismissed it as irrelevant.

But today Stalin and the Soviet behemoth he led are long gone, while the papal system remains. And it was actually a pope—blending politics with religion—who sparked the revolution that eventually toppled the Berlin Wall, and brought down that Soviet system.

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Castro Thanks U.S. but Affirms Cuba’s Communist Rule

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HAVANA — President Raúl Castro declared victory for the Cuban Revolution on Saturday in a wide-ranging speech, thanking President Obama for “a new chapter,” while also reaffirming that restored relations with the United States did not mean the end of Communist rule in Cuba. Continue reading

The Cuba Deal: Why Now?

At this point it time it’s a complete waste of time to ask “why?” as the floodgates have now been opened. Immigration is not the point behind the concern, although it is a concern. The main concern is that Cuba, with one of the world’s most renowned spy and espionage capabilities (after the USA/Russia/Israel), is a hornets nest of intelligence gathering. Russia has in the past, as now, state-of-the-art intelligence gathering equipment that listens over all aspects of American communication in the region. Cuban spies were also trained by Russians during the Castro revolution and have continued to be ever since. Once that floodgate to opens, you’re opening the door to this, plus inviting the Russians right in — in addition to whatever else Pandora’s Box has to offer.

 

On Wednesday, Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced the most profound change in relations between the United States and Cuba in decades.

Why now? What explains the timing of this historic change to a policy in place for over half a century? The short answer is that the decision to restore diplomatic ties between the two countries was driven by a surprising convergence of biology and technology. Biology dictated the aging of the Castro brothers and other leaders of their revolutionary generation in Cuba, as well as the graying of the Cuban exile population in Florida. This dynamic altered old political balances both inside the Cuban regime and in U.S. electoral politics. Technology—especially innovations in the extraction of shale oil and gas—allowed the United States to upend the world’s energy map and push down the price of oil, thus undermining the ability of Venezuela, a major oil-exporter, to continue providing a lifeline to Cuba’s bankrupt economy. Cuba needed an economic alternative, and the U.S. became one. Continue reading

Pope brokered Cuba deal, now set on closing Gitmo

White House: Normalization wouldn’t have happened without pontiff

NEW YORK – Having helped broker the agreement to normalize relations between the United States and communist Cuba, Pope Francis plans next to turn his attention to closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, a goal he shares with President Obama.

In a meeting last week at the Vatican with Secretary of State John Kerry, the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, second in authority to the pope, offered to assist U.S. efforts to close the facility for terrorism suspects.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Vatican stood ready “to help find adequate humanitarian solutions through our international contacts” to help place current detainees,” Agence France-Presse reported.

The White House said Wednesday that the re-establishment of U.S. relations with Cuba after more than five decades came after Pope Francis and Obama discussed Cuba at their most recent meeting, which was followed by a Vatican-hosted meeting between U.S. and Cuban officials, the White House told reporters Wednesday.

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