Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Cuba

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Cuba

HAVANA, February 19  The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, arrived in Havana this Monday, on his ninth visit to the country since his appointment to the position 20 years ago.The visit is carried out in the context of the greatest socioeconomic crisis caused by the totalitarian Cuban regime, whose purpose of clinging to power has led to the subordination of the country’s sovereignty to the interests of Moscow.

A brief note from the Cuban Foreign Ministry indicated that “as part of the program, it is planned that the distinguished visitor will hold meetings” with the ruler Miguel Díaz-Canel and with his counterpart, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) did not disclose Lavrov’s agenda on this trip, which takes place a few days after the suspicious death in prison of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and in the midst of a complex international panorama, with multiple sources of tension stoked by Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

“Moscow and Havana stand in solidarity regarding the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed in a statement.

Both countries “are united in their desire to move towards the construction of a just multipolar world order, based on the true equality of States,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, which took the opportunity to categorically condemn “unilateral sanctions.”

“Russia firmly supports the demands to immediately end Washington’s illegal economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba and to remove the Caribbean nation from the unilateral US list of countries sponsoring terrorism,” concluded the statement published on the Telegram platform.

What can be expected from Lavrov’s visit?

Beyond the military geopolitical alliance, the bilateral relationship between Russia and Cuba on economic issues has not just taken off, as economist Emilio Morales, president of the Havana Consulting Group and researcher at the Cuba Siglo XXI analysis center, pointed out for Diario de Cuba.

“The announced Russian rescue has been much ado about nothing. “The Russians do not trust the twisted Cuban legal system and have contained the investment impulse that initially seemed to cover several of the most important sectors of the Cuban economy,” Morales said.

Last November, Cuba and Russia signed a cooperation agreement in the commercial and economic field until 2030, to “expand and deepen collaboration in various areas, including the commercial, economic, scientific and technical spheres.”

A year earlier, Díaz-Canel visited Russia to increase Russian investment projects on the island “as well as the supply of food and inputs for its production.”

After this tour, controversial agreements emerged, such as the appointment of Boris Titov, head of the Cuban-Russian Business Committee, as an advisor for reforms in the Cuban Economy, and the offer to Russian companies of the right to use the land in usufruct. the island for 30 years.

Russia, for its part, has said that it intends to become the number one issuer of tourists to the Caribbean nation and that it will support the development of sugar harvests with machinery and credit, as well as investments in the energy, transportation and the food industry, among others.

However, none of the major announcements by the Cuban regime regarding this cooperation have materialized, except for a rebound in Russian tourism on the island and the ostensible military cooperation between both regimes.

90 miles from the United States, Cuba continues to strengthen its military cooperation with Russia while tension grows between both powers facing the Ukrainian war scene.

At the end of the year, it was known that Russian President Vladimir Putin could transfer “smart” cruise missiles to Cuba and Venezuela, with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, targeting important infrastructure facilities on US soil in case of emergency, as indicated by Kremlin spokesman Victor Baranets.

The Russian war propaganda apparatus refers more and more frequently to military cooperation with Cuba. All of this at a time when the presence of Cuban mercenaries in Ukraine increases Cuban concern about possible secret agreements between Havana and Moscow in relation to that conflict.

At the end of last September, the digital portal revealed that Colonel Mónica Milián Gómez, military, naval, and air attaché of the Cuban Embassy in Moscow and spokesperson in Russia for the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), had been identified as the high-ranking Cuban officer who would be behind the recruitment of Cuban mercenaries for the war in Ukraine.

In mid-July, a Russian Navy training ship arrived at the port of Havana while the regime was protesting the presence of a US Navy nuclear submarine at the Guantánamo Naval Base.

A month earlier, Putin decorated the FAR minister, Álvaro López Miera, for contributing to the “strengthening” of military collaboration between both countries.

“Cuban friends confirmed their attitude towards our country, they even demonstrated their full understanding of the reasons for launching the military operation in Ukraine,” said the Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, at the reception in Moscow of his Cuban counterpart.

Compromising statements by senior Russian officials, uncomfortable revelations by the press serving the interests of the Kremlin, and a large package of aid and economic cooperation awaiting the final judgment, seem to be the only results that can be expected at the moment from a bilateral relationship that has caused the greatest damage to sovereignty in the history of Cuba.