Partnership between Cuba and Russia presents new threat to Latin America

Nothing good can come from a partnership between Cuba’s communist Castro dictatorship and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Via Dialogo Americas:

New Era of Cuba-Russia Relations Threatens Latin America

With its anti-aircraft guns, the Russian Navy training ship Perekop docked in Cuba on July 11, raising concerns in the region. The ship arrived with more than 200 cadets on board at the port of Havana, where it stayed for three days. “This is the first official visit by a Russian warship to Cuba in years and another sign of the renewed relationship between the two Cold War-era allies,” CNN en Español reported.

In the past few months alone, several top Russian officials visited Havana. Among those were Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Igor Sechin, executive director of the Rosneft oil company, AFP reported.

According to experts, the renewed Russian-Cuban ties could mean new threats for Latin America. “The main threat I see for the countries of the region is the expansion and strengthening of extreme dictatorial regimes in countries where dictatorships [Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua] or potential dictatorships exist,” Latin America expert Luis Fleischman, a sociology and political sciences professor at Palm Beach State University in Florida, told Diálogo.

Russian ship Perekop also made stops in Nicaragua and Venezuela. “I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Russia is involved in a disinformation campaign aimed at strengthening subversive extremist political groups or parties in the region,” Fleischman said.

Nuclear weapons

In addition to receiving Russian naval vessels, Cuba also allowed the Kremlin to use much of the Cuban territory. In an agreement announced in May, Cuba offered Russian companies the right to make use of Cuban land for 30 years, “an unusual concession to foreign companies in the communist country,” Reuters reported.

According to Fleischman, the possibility of using such land for military purposes should not be ruled out. “Russia could place missiles on Cuban soil or in any other allied country in the region,” he said.

Journalist Manolo González Moscote, former CNN correspondent in Moscow made a similar warning. “Apparently, the biggest thing [the Russians] may be doing is studying the possibility of two things: a very important telecommunications center, like the ones they have in Nicaragua, and bringing back new-generation nuclear weapons,” González Moscote told news channel America TeVé Miami.

“That moving about of ships, of giving Russia ports as free-use… all of that has a basis. It’s simply a cover, just like in Tartus,” González Moscote said, referring to the military base that Russia maintains in Syria under the façade of a maintenance center. “Here they want to use Cuba as a weapons center.”

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