The Lourdes spy base, located south of Havana, was originally opened in 1964 shortly after the Cuban missile crisis. Strategically placed just 150 miles from the U.S. coast, it had been ideal for gathering information about our country during the Cold War.
At the peak of the Cold War Lourdes was the largest single intelligence center Moscow operated in a foreing nation, with 3,000 personnel manning it. They gained at least 75 percent of all information about the United States through that facility.
The base was shut down back in 2001 due to economic cutbacks and heavy pressure from the U.S. after the country was attacked on September 11. However, now Patin has made a deal with Cuba to reopen the facility.This news comes on the heels of the visit to Cuba paid by Patin, in which he apparently wrote off 90 percent of the Cuban’s debt to Russia.
Detailed informations for a scheduled time of reopening the facility, which currently hosts a branch of Cuba’s University of information Science, is not available. The facility is expected to require fewer personnel than is used to have because modern surveillance equipment can do many functions now automatically.
Dmitri Trenin, who served in the Soveit and Russian miltary from 1972 to 1993, told Mashable that the move is “no surprise” given the current tension between the two countries. “Moscow needs [intelligence] on the U.S., and has no incentive to abstain from an obvious move,” he wrote in an email.
Russia has been considering reopening the base since as far back as 2004, but has just finalized the deal during the past week. Some speculate that the intention to reopen the base signals that relations with the United States are not as good as they were before Obama became the president.
So far, the White House has not commented on Russian plans to reopen the Lourdes Base.