A Military Base??
This is Russia's powerful Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. When he speaks, everyone listens because he doesn't make major statements without the full concurrence of Russia's ultra-powerful President Vladimir Putin. The agonizing war in Syria has dramatically raised tensions...and near military confrontations...between the U. S. and Russia, the world's two top nuclear superpowers. Russia's two foreign military bases are in Syria. Last week Mr. Shoigu made international headlines when he mentioned that Russia is "in discussions" concerning military bases in...Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Vietnam. In regards to Cuba, Mr. Shoigu's comment provides fodder for the anti-revolutionary cabal in the U. S. that busily seeks nails to hammer shut President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with the island. Just the mention of a Russian military base in Cuba is indeed A HUGE NAIL for the anti-Cuban Miami hardliners.
When Sergei Shoigu, Russia's 61-year-old Defense Minister, tossed out the idea of a military base in Cuba, he well knew just the mention would fuel the vicious anti-Cuban forces in Miami and Washington. That's fine with Mr. Shoigu because America's major enemies and/or competitors around the world do not want to see President Obama's normalization plans with Cuba succeed. So, whether Shoigu's inclusion of Cuba was a bluff or a threat, it gained the expected traction. The Oct. 11-2016 Miami Herald included a major article written by Franco Ordonez entitled: "Russia Considers Opening Military Base in Cuba." Ordonez wrote: "Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia has come up with a list of countries where it's considering opening military bases. They include Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Vietnam. Cuban state media has cited the Russian military overtures, but the Castro administration has not offered any public indication of whether they've welcomed it." Although anti-Cuban venues such as the Miami Herald would not be likely to admit it, Cuba will not "welcome" Mr. Shoigu's overture although Revolutionary Cuba's survival since 1959 has repeatedly involved turning to other options whenever it has felt most threatened by the United States and Cuban exiles in Miami.
The top two military powers in Russia -- President Putin and Defense Minister Shoigu -- are far more formidable foes/competitors than North Korea, Iran, or even China, another Cuba-friendly superpower that is drastically upgrading its conventional and nuclear capability. Russia's ultra-modern offensive and defensive nuclear arsenals -- and its delivery systems -- will, for the foreseeable future, remain America's biggest concern. Adding military bases in any of the four countries Shoigu mentioned -- Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela or Vietnam -- would be a game-changer. But it won't happen in Cuba -- at least not as long as Cuba can hold out hope for better U. S. relations. It won't happen in Communist Vietnam either because that prosperous nation would have too much to lose economically on the international stage. And it won't happen in Venezuela because the Cuba-friendly but teetering Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro faces far too much political opposition.
But it could happen in Cuba-friendly Nicaragua.
Study this photo. It was taken by Cesar Perez for the Associated Press on July 11, 2014. It shows Nicaraguan President Danny Ortega and his equally powerful wife Rosario Murillo greeting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the airport in Managua. It was a significant visit. Shortly thereafter Russia sent 50 modern tanks to Nicaragua and Russia got access to Nicaraguan airspace and ports. After you study this photo, Google Latin American history. It will tell you that, in their youth, Danny Ortega and Rosario Murillo were fierce Sandinista guerrilla fighters against powerful U.S.-backed forces -- with the Sandinistas eventually winning. Inspired by the Cuban Revolution and still idols of Fidel Castro, Ortega -- with his wife always at his side -- has been elected and re-elected President of Nicaragua. Neither Ortega nor Murillo have ever disguised their hatred or distrust of the United States. Putin knows that history and thus he probably believes Russia's best bet to have a military base in the Americas is in Nicaragua.
This photo was taken in 1961 shortly after Fidel Castro led Cuba's successful defense at the Bay of Pigs when the Cuban exiles and the U. S. attempted to overthrow him. Fidel's heroics at the Bay of Pigs powerfully impressed Nikita Khrushchev, the dictator of the Soviet Union. It also powerfully impressed Fidel Castro who realized that the military attack as well as terrorist acts against Cuba and assassination attempts against him would never cease. The Soviet Union and the United States in 1961 were the world's only two nuclear super-powers. One was undeniably trying to kill both him and his revolutionary government and the other was offering to support him and Cuba. The Cuban narrative in the U. S. since 1961 maintains that aligning Cuba with Khrushchev and the Soviet Union was Fidel's plan all along. History refutes that assertion. In April of 1959 Fidel spent 12 days in the U. S., barely three months after the triumph of the Revolution, believing the Eisenhower administration -- instead of continuing to support the overthrown Batista-Mafia exiles -- would be Cuba's friend. Vice President Nixon famously told Fidel face-to-face that the exiles and the U. S. would regain control of Cuba within weeks. The rest is history. So are other attempts over the years, even during the Cold War, when Fidel personally tried -- for Cuba's sake -- to ease tensions with its northern superpower neighbor. During the Johnson administration, for example, Fidel personally sent LBJ a letter that pinpointed 12 capitulations Cuba was willing to make to the U. S. in exchange for "friendlier" relations. In that letter Fidel famously told President Johnson that, if it would hurt his upcoming re-election, any consideration of the proposals could be kept secret. Fidel's 12-day mission to the U. S. in April of 1959, his 12-stage proposal to President Johnson, etc., don't compute with the Batistiano-directed Cuban narrative in the U. S., so Americans -- unless they do some Googling -- wouldn't know about such things. But they indeed are historic, just as the 1961 photo above in which Fidel Castro warmly embraced Nikita Khrushchev, choosing the only nuclear superpower not trying to kill him.
Study this photo too. That's President John Kennedy in 1962 sitting in his heavily cushioned rocking chair to ease his chronic back pain. He is talking to four ultra-powerful U. S. Generals, with Curtis LeMay closest to him. The Cuban Missile Crisis -- the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear holocaust -- in October of 1962 followed the April-1961 Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba and Fidel Castro's alignment with the Soviet Union. President Kennedy in 1960 had inherited from the pro-Batista Eisenhower-Nixon administration a bevy of covert plans to attack Cuba and to assassinate Fidel Castro, plans secretively labeled "Operation Mongoose," etc. Kennedy enthusiastically carried through on the assassination plans against Fidel and tepidly on the Bay of Pigs attack. But by 1963, gearing up for what would have been his re-election, Kennedy detested the CIA and his war-mongering Generals far more than he detested Fidel Castro. In November of 1963 Kennedy informed his top aides -- such as Pierre Salinger and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. -- that his "top priority" when he returned from his trip to Dallas was to "normalize relations with Cuba." However, he returned to Washington from Dallas on Nov. 22-1963 in a coffin and, at least prior to the current Obama administration, no U. S. President had come close to trying "to normalize relations with Cuba" since Kennedy. Also, shortly before his ill-fated trip to Dallas, Kennedy famously bellowed, "If I could I would blow the CIA to Smithereens!!" During the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962, it is abundantly clear that Kennedy felt the same way about his war-mongering Generals. Curtis LeMay, closest to Kennedy in the above photo, was among those not only advising Kennedy but beseeching him to nuke Cuba and then follow-up with an annihilating ground assault to end both the missile crisis and "the Cuban problem," an act that would likely have resulted in a massive nuclear retaliation from the Soviet Union. Several historic documentaries aired on the BBC as well as the Smithsonian and AHC networks offer chilling de-classified audio recordings of Kennedy being besieged with such advice. So, the Fidel-Khrushchev 1961 photo and the Kennedy-LeMay 1962 photo were harbingers of the never-ending U.S.-Cuban conundrum that presaged the more modern Putin-Ortega 2014 photo and the Defense Minister Shoigu October-2016 photo in which he mentioned a possible Russian military base in Cuba. In other words, what historically goes around often comes around again.
From 1962 till 2002, the old Soviet Union and modern Russia greatly irked the U. S. with this massive Lourdes listening devise in Cuba. Both the U. S. and Russia considered it a giant spying apparatus.
When he visited Cuba in July of 2014, Russian President Putin reportedly discussed closer military ties with Cuban President Raul Castro but by then Raul had already had two positive but secretive phone conversations with President Obama about normalizing relations, and that superseded Putin's plans.
In an apparent effort to go over Raul's head, Putin visited Fidel.
According to a source very close to Fidel, he told Putin, "I am still a revolutionary but now it's all about the climate, the environment and food production." It is unknown how Putin deciphered those words.
Ironically, in October of 2016 as Russia is making headlines about putting a military base on Cuban soil, the United States -- much to Cuba's chagrin -- maintains a massive military base on Cuban soil. Back in 1962 during the famed Cuban Missile Crisis, the U. S. secretively agreed to remove its nuclear missiles in Turkey aimed at the Soviet Union If the Soviets would remove their missiles in Cuba aimed at the United States. Also, the U. S. secretively agreed never to attack or invade Cuba. So, would the U. S. now secretively agree to remove its military base in Cuba if Cuba agreed never to allow Russia to have a military base in Cuba? Sorry, that superfluous question disregards Batistiano influence in Congress.
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