October 27, 2001

Cuba criticizes Russia after base closure announced

HAVANA, Cuba (AP) --Stinging from Moscow's announcement that it would
close its listening post here, Cuba complained Saturday that Russia was trying
to become the kind of capitalist country it once abhorred.

"An abyss separates our thinking from the opportunism, the egoism and the lack of
ethics that today prevails in the decadent field of the imperialist and capitalist system,
or of those that aspire to it," read a front-page editorial in the Communist Party daily

Havana, which enjoyed favorable trade and aid agreements with Moscow under
communism, suffered "terrible hurt, damage and suffering" with the disintegration of
the former Soviet Union a decade ago, Granma said.

Cuba wanted to develop economic ties with Moscow's new government, but they
have failed because of "the chaos that reigns there," the newspaper said.

Cuba's sense of betrayal by a traditional ally stems from Moscow's October 17
announcement that it would close the spy base outside Havana.

The Communist government here said it has not approved the closure and that more
negotiations between the two countries are needed before a decision is made.

The electronic listening station was built in 1964, shortly after the 1962 Cuban
missile crisis. Russia has said that closing the base 13 miles (about 20 kilometers)
south of Havana will help it save at least $200 million annually in rent and an
undisclosed amount in salaries.

Granma noted that political relations between Havana and Russian President Vladimir
Putin's government have been good but said economic relations have been "a

Havana and Moscow shared close political, economic and military cooperation
through three decades of the Cold War until the Soviet Union's 1991 collapse.

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press