Moscow Building Spy Site in Nicaragua 1

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, attend a welcome ceremony at an airport in Managua, Nicaragua, Friday, July 11, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, attend a welcome ceremony at an airport in Managua, Nicaragua, Friday, July 11, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

Signals intelligence facility part of deal for 50 Russian tanks

By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon        

The Russian government is building an electronic intelligence-gathering facility in Nicaragua as part of Moscow’s efforts to increase military and intelligence activities in the Western Hemisphere.

The signals intelligence site is part of a recent deal between Moscow and Managua involving the sale of 50 T-72 Russian tanks, said defense officials familiar with reports of the arrangement.

The tank deal and spy base have raised concerns among some officials in the Pentagon and nations in the region about a military buildup under leftist Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega.

Disclosure of the Russia-Nicaraguan spy base comes as three U.S. officials were expelled from Nicaragua last week. The three Department of Homeland Security officials were picked up by Nicaraguan authorities, driven to the airport, and sent to the United States without any belongings.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the expulsion took place June 14 and was “unwarranted and inconsistent with the positive and constructive agenda that we seek with the government of Nicaragua.”

“Such treatment has the potential to negatively impact U.S. and Nicaraguan bilateral relations, particularly trade,” he said.

The action is an indication that President Obama’s recent diplomatic overture to Cuba has not led to better U.S. ties to leftist governments in the region.

State Department officials had no immediate comment on the expulsion.

The action is an indication that President Obama’s recent diplomatic overture to Cuba has not led to better U.S. ties to leftist governments in the region.

Nicaragua’s Ortega has remained close to the communist Castro regime in Cuba and the leftist regime in Venezuela. He was once part of the communist Sandinista dictatorship, and after winning election as president in 2006 has shifted Nicaragua towards socialism.

No details of the intelligence site, such as its location and when it will be completed, could be learned.

However, the site could be disguised as a Russian GLONASS satellite navigation tracking station that is said to be nearing completion. GLONASS is the Russian version of the Global Positioning System network of satellites used for precision navigation and guidance.

Article continues here:  Russian SIGINT

Editor’s Note:  While the Russians and Cubans maintain an intelligence sharing agreement, it seems Moscow isn’t satisfied with what they are receiving from the Cuban SIGINT system headquartered at Bejucal. Or perhaps Chinese Intelligence, which has had personnel embedded at Bejucal for at least 15 years, isn’t interested in seeing an expanded Havana-Moscow relationship.  

 

 

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Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega Meets President of Cuban Friendship Institute Reply

Havana, Cuba (Cuban News Agency – ACN) Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega highlighted the example and historic leadership of the Cuban Revolution as he met on Wednesday with the president of the Cuban Friendship Institute Kenia Serrano, who is visiting that sister Central American nation.

During his dialog with Serrano, who is also deputy to the Cuban Parliament, Ortega expressed his confidence that sooner than later the four Cuban anti-terrorist fighters still held in US prisons, will be released.

Kenia Serrano updated the Nicaraguan president on the case of Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero, internationally known as the Cuban Five, who were arrested in 1998 after they monitored Florida-based terrorist organizations.

Although Rene Gonzalez managed to return to Cuba after serving a three-year sentence, justice will not be fully made till all of them return home, said Serrano.

The Nicaraguan head of state was particularly interested in the situation of each of the Five, and he praised the unconditional support given by Cuba to the Nicaraguan people, which he described as a sample of the example given by the Cuban Revolution to Latin America.

Editor’s Note: Serrano head’s the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), which has a long and distinguished history of collaboration with Cuban Intelligence. Please use the search icon to review previous coverage of its spy ties.

Today in History: Career Spy Posted as Ambassador to Nicaragua Reply

March 20, 2007: The Cuban Intelligence presence in Managua grew when Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega accepted the diplomatic credentials of America Area officer Luis Hernandez Ojeda as Ambassador. The Ambassador’s arrival marked the resumption of full diplomatic relations between Cuba and Nicaragua. Previous Nicaraguan governments had suspended relations for 16 years. Hernandez had served as Chargé d’Affaires in Nicaragua during the early 1980s.

Editor’s Note: The America Area of the International Department of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC/ID/AA) is the intelligence wing of the party’s Central Committee. It is now predominantly focused on political intelligence operations. Previously known as the America Department (DA), the spy service was heavily involved in supporting revolutionaries and terrorists throughout the Cold War.

This Date in History: Legendary Cuban Spy Departs Nicaragua Reply

June 25, 1992:  Lieutenant Colonel Renan Montero Corrales [aka Andres Barahona Lopez], a member of the America Department (DA), left Nicaragua on the last “official” Cubana Airlines flight out of Nicaragua.

Montero was posted to Nicaragua in 1979 to lead the Fifth Directorate (aka Directorate V or VDIR) of the Sandinista’s General Directorate of State Security (DGSE).  Under Montero, the VDIR conducted Nicaragua’s foreign intelligence activities, influence operations, and monitored Managua’s overseas diplomats.  It had a staff of approximately 300-400 personnel.

Interior Minister Tomas Borge and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega both acknowledged that Montero headed the VDIR and worked under the direction of Borge and his deputy, Lenin Cerna.  In addition to his foreign intelligence responsibilities, a Spanish newspaper cited Montero as the Cuban ‘in charge of organizing the Sandinistas’ counterespionage unit.”  A declassified US intelligence report characterized him as “a legend among Cubans and Nicaraguans for his intelligence exploits.”

For his participation in the Nicaraguan Revolution, the Sandinistas awarded Montero the rank of Comandante in 1980. It is not clear whether this award was for his service from 1979-1980 or for some unidentified earlier period. Promoted to brigade commander in 1985, he fell ill three years later and was replaced by Comandante Jacinto Suarez-Espinosa. In 1989, Montero became the assistant to Defense Minister Humberto Ortega.

According to Sandinista defector Miguel Bolanos, Montero began working with the Sandinistas in the late 1960s.

Montero served as a consular officer in San Jose during the 1970s.  One of his duties was liaison with Sandinista military forces operating out of northern Costa Rica

During the mid-1960s, Montero operated in Bolivia, where he supported members of Che Guevara’s guerrilla column as they arrived.  There he served as the liaison between Havana and Guevara.

Note:  The “America Department (DA)” was the name used by the intelligence wing of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party from 1974 to the late 1980s or early 1990s. The DA was heavily involved in supporting revolutionaries and terrorists, but has since become more focused on political intelligence operations. This service is now called the America Area of the International Department of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC/ID/AA).