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.”