On route to Argentina and Brazil
HAVANA TIMES — After leaving Cuba on Friday headed to Argentina, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to change his publicised flight plan and landed for a surprise two-hour layover in, Nicaragua. He met with his counterpart Daniel Ortega as part of a tour of several Latin American countries, officials said.
Putin arrived in Managua at the end of the afternoon (local time) on Friday and was received at the “Sandino” Airport by Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, as well as their son, Laureano Ortega, director of the state investment agency ProNicaragua, reported dpa news.
Subsequently he held a meeting with Ortega and other government officials, including army chief, Gen. Julio Cesar Aviles, and the director of the National Police, Aminta Granera, reported state television.
“This is a historic visit, it’s like lightning, lightning, it’s the first time a Russian president visits Nicaragua,” Ortega said of the arrival of the Russian delegation, the government press described as “surprising”.
“We are excited to have him here on this land, his land. We are mutually committed in the struggle for peace and against poverty, for the wellbeing of our peoples, in the fight against drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism, “he said.
The Russian president said that Nicaragua “is a very important partner” but added that “we have much to do to further develop our relations, especially in the economic sector.”
Putin’s surprise arrival fueled unconfirmed rumors that Russia is somehow acting as a silent partner in the canal concession Nicaragua granted to an unknown Chinese company. The owner of that concession, enigmatic Chinese businessman Wang Jing, was in Nicaragua this week to announce the route of the canal, noted the Nicaragua Dispatch.
Putin began a six-day Latin American tour early Friday in Cuba, which continued in Argentina on Saturday and Sunday in Brazil.
In Havana, Putin met with President Raul Castro and his brother, Fidel Castro, with whom he celebrated the creation of “new conditions” for bilateral ties between the two nations.
In Buenos Aires, Putin met with President Cristina Fernandez and Brazil will participate in the summit of the emerging group of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on July 15 and 16.
On Sunday the Russian president will attend the World Cup final match between Argentina and Germany in Rio de Janeiro. The event takes on special interest for Putin as Russia will host the 2018 World Cup.