UPDATE (07-17-14): The Russian spy base in Lourdes, Cuba will not be reopening.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied reports that he made a deal with Cuba to reopen an electronic listening post on the Caribbean island,” reported the BBC.
Russia and Cuba have come to an agreement on reopening the SIGINT facility, a spy base in Lourdes, Cuba. The news of the reopening of the base come on the heels of the Europeans writing off 90% of Cuba’s debt.
The base was originally shut down in 2001 due to economic problems and US pressure.
“The facility was manned by thousands of military and intelligence personnel, whose task was to intercept signals coming from and to the US territory and to provide communication for the Russian vessels in the western hemisphere,” reported RT.
“The facility in Lourdes, a suburb of Havana located just 250km (155 mi) from continental USA, was opened in 1967. At the peak of the cold war it was the largest signal intelligence center Moscow operated in a foreign nation, with 3,000 personnel manning it,” they added.
The spy base was originally used to intercept communication within the US.
The facility’s operational peak was during the cold war, but once the Soviet Union collapsed, the base was scaled down until its 2001 closure.
Opening date of SIGINT spy base
“No detail of schedule for the reopening the facility, which currently hosts a branch of Cubas University of Information Science, was immediately available. One of the principle news during Putins visit to Havana was Moscows writing off of the majority of the old Cuban debt to Russia. The facility is expected to require fewer personnel than it used to, because modern surveillance equipment can do many functions now automatically,” reported RT.
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SIGINT will certainly give Russia better intelligence in the western hemisphere.