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Cuba: Relations With Russia
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > The Revolutionary Armed Forces > Relations with Russia


Following the departure of the last Russian troops in 1993, the SIGINT facility at Lourdes remained one of the only practical vestiges (apart from the extensive Soviet-origin materiel in the FAR's inventory) of the once-close security relationship between Cuba and the former Soviet Union. Nevertheless, it provided a reason for continuing regular interaction between the leaders of the two countries on issues related to security concerns through the remainder of the 1990s. During this period, the Lourdes facility was maintained and staffed by Russian intelligence personnel of the Federal Security Service (Federal'naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti-FSB), a successor entity to the Soviet-era Committee for State Security (Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopastnosti-KGB). An estimated 810 Russian military personnel were in Cuba in 1999.

Under the first bilateral agreement pertaining to Lourdes that was reached in 1993, it was agreed that the facility would remain in operation and that "rent" would be paid in the form of spare parts for the FAR. At that time, the Russians agreed to pay Cuba for the next twenty years for both the Lourdes operation and for a since-closed submarine support facility at Cienfuegos on the southern Cuban coast, but the amount of the rent was not set. In March 1995, the agreement finalizing the terms for remuneration for Lourdes was signed in Moscow by FAR First Vice Minister Division General Julio Casas Regueiro. It provided for an annual rent in the range of US$200 million, much of which would be in the form of bartered military materials. Although the Russians, owing to their own domestic problems, had difficulties in providing the Cubans with the bartered goods during the first years that followed the agreement's signing, the supply problems were thought to have been resolved by the end of the 1990s.

According to the Russians, the "listening post" is used to monitor compliance with international arms-control agreements. Yet notwithstanding its likely utility in this regard, the Lourdes facility also is capable of intercepting and monitoring communications along the eastern coast of the United States as well as the circum-Caribbean region. Although the Cubans do not have access to the "raw" intelligence data obtained by the Russians, they are routinely provided intelligence summaries on issues that are thought to affect their interests.

Last Updated: April 2001

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Cuba was first published in 2001. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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