Deployment of Russian troops in Nicaragua points to espionage and intelligence work

Deployment of Russian troops in Nicaragua points to espionage and intelligence work

Two experts – the former United States ambassador to Panama, John Feeley, and the civilian consultant on security and defense issues, Roberto Cajina – consider that the new authorization for Russian troops to enter Nicaragua does not represent a military threat against the United States, although They warned against what the Russian Army can do in the country, in terms of espionage and intelligence gathering.

The Gazette of Tuesday, June 7, published Presidential Decree 10-2022, which authorizes the arrival in the national territory of soldiers of nine nationalities, including Central Americans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Americans, and Russians. The comment of the Russian television presenter, Olga Skabeeva, who suggested deploying “something powerful” near the United States, and the quick response of the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, explaining that everything is a “routine procedure” , raised the level of the news, and put it on many covers.

“I think we have to look the decree and the news in context. This is not the first time that Nicaragua has issued a bulletin of this nature in La Gaceta. The difference is that this time it is much more detailed about what the Russians are going to do”, explained the diplomat, in an interview for the program This weekwhich is only broadcast online, due to censorship by the regime presided over by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

“If Russian soldiers are going to arrive in Nicaragua to carry out humanitarian activities, I invite the Nicaraguan people and any observer, to see what russian soldiers are doing in ukraine. Without wanting to be too cynical, I think it is fair to say that the Russian troops and the Russian military machine, They don’t have the slightest idea of ​​what it means to monitor for human rights or serve humanitarian causes, something that the United States Southern Command has demonstrated for more than 50 years after the Cold War, with humanitarian involvement, with hospital ships, with troop deployments to build clinics, etc.”, he detailed.

“I think that the deployments of the Russians will be low-profile, mainly for intelligence purposes, but if we see that there is a humanitarian deployment and many Nicaraguans benefit at the hands of Russian soldiers, I would be the first to say, welcome,” he ironically .

Ortega: pawn, or ally of Putin?

Instead, both Feeley and Cajina warn that the Russians could come to the country to spy on the countries and citizens of the region, even if a part of them actually carry out ‘humanitarian activities’.

The Nicaraguan expert recalls that “the Russians never really left Nicaragua,” referring to the fact that they stayed in the country throughout the administrations of Violeta Barrios, Arnoldo Alemán, and Enrique Bolaños, to maintain the helicopter fleet, AN-26 aircraft, tanks and armored vehicles (including the T-72B1 obtained in 2016), as well as various artillery weapons, or C2M portable anti-aircraft missiles.

But there are not only technicians and mechanics in the country. Cajina says that the military facility located at the bottom of the Laguna de Nejapa crater “is more important, because the Glonass system is a source of intelligence, where information provided by 24 satellites is received. It was built by Russian workers and is operated by Russian personnel. Nicaragua only put the land”, he detailed.

Feeley agrees that “Russian troops will be used to gather intelligence in the region; perhaps to work in that large building they have in Managua -no one really knows exactly what they do there, but we have good suspicions- and as always, the intelligence services and the American military, we will watch them very carefully”, he promised.

The former ambassador also ruled out any parallels with the missile crisis, which exploded when US spy planes detected atomic missiles in Cuba in 1962, bringing the world to the brink of a nuclear standoff. “I don’t expect there to be any surprises, as some in the media have said. I just don’t see it,” he reiterated.

He refers to the thesis -inspired by presenter Skabeeva’s comment- that Russia should deploy part of its military power in the vicinity of the United States, in the same way that the Soviet Union tried six decades ago, a conflict that was resolved by use Cuba as a simple negotiating card between the two superpowers.

Although Cajina also rules out that the world is going to see a new confrontation of this type, he acknowledges that “you should never say never.” The Russian presenter’s comment “is a veiled threat to install missiles in Nicaragua, although our country does not play any role in that,” she stressed.

The consultant presumes that Ortega found out about the Russian announcement until he saw it in the media or on social networks, because it was “the message from one elephant to another. From Moscow to Washington, in which Nicaragua had nothing to do, “and if the president were to open the doors to Putin’s troops -after constitutional reform- that” would put us in the elephants’ feet, “he said. .

That decision would put us in the same pawn role that the Soviet premier, Nikita Khrushchev, assigned to Cuba in 1962. “They would solve their problems and our country would remain the same. This also reveals that the Kremlin sees Nicaragua as a pawn, because spokeswoman Zakharova’s message was not for Nicaragua: it was for Washington,” he argued.

Really… what are they coming for?

By ruling out again that Moscow is planning an adventure like the one sixty years ago, because Russia cannot face two conflicts, as evidenced by the logistics and conduct nightmare of the war against UkraineCajina also referred to the capacity of the Russians to operate effectively from Nicaragua, against drug activity.

The scholar believes that “it is difficult”, that russian uniformed go fight organized crimebecause “the reality of drug trafficking in the West, and more so in Central America, is radically different from what they have to face in their environment, in addition to not knowing how the cartels work in Latin America and the Caribbean, because that is not their priority ”.

In contrast, the United States has an Interagency Task Force South, which reports to the Southern Command and operates in Florida, from where they control suspicious flights and vessels arriving from the south. On the other hand, he considers that Nicaragua does not have as much strategic importance for the maritime or air transport of drugs, which is the majority, because the quantity that moves by land is much smaller.

“The Russians don’t have a DEA [la agencia antidrogas estadounidense] for Latin America, so I think they are here for humanitarian and training tasks, without this being an impediment for them to carry out ‘other types’ of military activities”, he said without specifying which ones.

Regardless of what they are actually going to do in Nicaragua, former Ambassador Feeley acknowledges that “the United States always has the need to monitor what Russia is doing, not only in our hemisphere, but in other parts of the world,” considering that “it is a Government has different values ​​than many democracies” in the West.

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