U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding recent news reports that Cuba and Russia had agreed "in principle" to re-open the Lourdes spying facility, which had been closed since 2001. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"In 2000, I authored legislation, the Russian-American Trust and Cooperation Act, which passed the House of Representatives, seeking to prohibit forgiveness of debt owed to the U.S. by Russia unless operations and the facility at Lourdes was closed.
If true, reports of a re-opening of the Lourdes spying facility in Cuba are yet another indication of Vladimir Putin's desire to deepen ties with a state sponsor of terrorism like Cuba and poses a national security threat to the Homeland. The Lourdes spying facility was used to monitor and spy on the United States in order to direct Russia's base of intelligence against our country. Re-opening this espionage facility with the Castro regime, signing a nuclear agreement with Argentina, and committing to giving more military equipment to Nicaragua illustrates the nefarious intent of Putin's latest trip within the hemisphere. We must be vigilant and ensure we minimize the damage done from any activities that stem from the re-opening of the Lourdes spying facility."