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Russia raises profile in West

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WASHINGTON – The Russians are showing an increasingly strong presence with an impending naval task force port of call visit in Havana on an official visit. The task force will be led by the Moskva missile cruiser, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The Russian warships then are expected to will visit Caracas, Venezuela and Managua, Nicaragua, underscoring Russia’s growing influence in Latin America, which the United States considers to be in its sphere of influence.

Moscow’s increased presence in Latin America comes as Iran, China and now North Korea similarly are seeking to expand military, political and economic access to America’s Southern Hemisphere countries.

Russian military ties with Cuba were increased after Russian Chief of Staff Gen. Valeri Gerasimov visited Havana in April.

The Russians have been seeking naval port facilities and air bases on the island, just 90 miles from the U.S. coast. Related to this is the deployment of Russian nuclear ballistic missile submarines in the Southern Hemisphere which also could use Cuba for refueling and stocking up on supplies.

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Talks also are under way for the Russians to open up a new international airport near Havana and provide the island with Russian passenger planes.

Cuba was the location for a sophisticated Russian electronic spying facility at Lourdes, near Havana, during the Soviet period.

It was capable of intercepting most U.S. communications in the southeastern U.S. There are indications the Russians want to return to Lourdes to reopen its facility to resume efforts to intercept U.S. communications.

In addition, talks are said to include the possibility the Russians will be able to use Cuban airbases to refuel Russian strategic aircraft so they can better monitor U.S. activities, including reconnaissance and communications intercepts.

The Russian naval task force visit follows the recent seizure in the Panama Canal of a North Korean ship with Soviet-era Cuban SA-2 missiles.

Indications are that Cuba still has a stockpile of some 100 of these missiles. The nuclear-capable SA-2s are surface-to-air missiles designed to down aircraft. Indeed, the Cubans used an SA-2 to shot down a high-flying U-2 reconnaissance during the height of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

U.S. experts have raised concerns that the SA-2s armed with a low-yield nuclear weapon designed to emit more gamma rays than cause destruction could be launched off of the U.S. coast and exploded at a high altitude to create an electromagnetic pulse effect designed to destroy the U.S. electrical grid system.

Such destruction would have a cascading effect on all of the other life-sustaining critical infrastructures that depend on functioning of the national grid, which could result in death and starvation over a wide geographical area.

Such a high-altitude detonation over the highly populated Boston-to-Washington corridor would effectively knock out the Eastern grid and cascade into the Western and Texas grids. The Eastern grid alone services some 70 percent of the U.S. population.

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