A Russian complex located at the edge of a volcanic crater in Nicaragua is now being closely monitored by the U.S. The facility which was built near Laguna de Nejapa in Managua, capital of Nicaragua, is believed to be a satellite station.
The local government said that the complex only acts as a “tracking site of the Russian version of a GPS satellite system”, however skepticism on the presence of the facility as well as a reported increase in Russian activity has triggered the interest of the intelligence community.
A U.S. official and expert on Central American affairs told the Washington Post that “Clearly there’s been a lot of activity, and it’s on the uptick now,”
Other officials have also expressed their concern as they indicate that the facility may be acting as a “dual use” complex that could conduct surveillance against U.S. as well as American citizens.
A local resident in the area when asked of rumors about the facility being used as a spy center, he said “I have no idea.” He further adds: ‘They are Russian, and they speak Russian, and they carry around Russian apparatuses.
Juan Gonzalez, a former deputy assistant of state for Western Hemisphere told the Post that: “The United States and countries of the region should be concerned,” as he adds: “Nicaragua offers a beachhead for Russia to expand its intel capabilities and election meddling close to the United States.”
U.S. officials however told said that there is no cause for alarm at this point, precautionary measures were put into place. A State Department staffer at the Russian desk was placed as a desk officer in charge of Nicaragua. Also evident was the deployment of Russian experts to Nicaragua.
Security experts estimate that there are currently about 250 Russian military personnel in Nicaragua.