“HAVANA — President Vladimir Putin pledged to help revive Cuba’s struggling offshore oil exploration at the start of a six-day tour of Latin America as Russia aims to reassert its influence on the communist-ruled island.
Putin also promised to reinvest $3.5 billion of Cuban debt with Russia into development projects on the island, part of a deal in which Russia forgave 90 percent of Cuba’s debt, or almost $32 billion, most of it originating from Soviet loans to a fellow communist state.
Both measures inject much-needed foreign investment into Cuba and demonstrate an act of defiance against the U.S., which maintains a 52-year-old economic embargo that effectively shuts out many Western companies from doing business in Cuba.
“We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba,” Putin said Friday.
Now we’ll start hearing and reading incessantly how the embargo is “Putin’s best friend….because it provides him the perfect foil to reassert Russian influence in Cuba …blah…blah…”
Mark my words.