Cuba Pleased with Russia’s “Firmness”

Summary of Putin’s visit to Havana

Isaac Risco (dpa)

Vladimir Putin and Raul Castro in Havana on July 11, 2014. Foto: Ismael Francisco/

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s President Raul Castro praised the new “international firmness” of Russia, during the one-day visit by his counterpart Vladimir Putin to boost the economic ties between the two former partners of the socialist bloc.

Putin arrived in Havana early Friday in the context of a six-day trip to Latin America that will also take him to Argentina and Brazil. On his first stop, a visit of less than 24 hours to Cuba, the Russian leader met with Raul Castro as well as his older brother, former President Fidel Castro. In the afternoon he continued his journey to Buenos Aires.

Earlier, the Russian President and Raul Castro were quoted by the official media after holding talks at the Revolution Palace in Havana. They welcomed the establishment of “new conditions” for bilateral ties between the two nations.

Putin’s trip to the island was preceded by the Russian parliament’s pardoning of 90 percent of a 35 billion dollar debt that Havana had with Moscow since Soviet times. Before reaching the island, the Kremlin leader had also pointed to the expansion of economic ties as a “primary task” of the bilateral agenda.

Castro expressed his appreciation for the gestures and also praised Russia’s position regarding the crisis in the Ukraine.

“We are very pleased that in the international arena we fully agree with Russia’s current policy of firmness and political intelligence,” said Raul Castro while appearing alongside Putin.

The 83-year-old president also praised the resurgence of Moscow in a new “multipolar world”, a process attributed to the arrival of Putin to the Russian presidency in 2000 for his first term in the Kremlin.

Events such as the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc in the 90s, “obviously unbalanced world power, the force that held the balance,” said Castro. It had also brought a near total collapse of the highly dependent Cuban economy.

Now “this force begins to recover internationally, and in the new bilateral relations,” he said.

Putin’s visit to the island comes amid tensions with the West over the crisis rocking the Ukraine over the last several months. The United States and European countries blame Moscow for the situation in the former Soviet republic, which seeks to move away from Russian influence and closer to the European Union.

The Cuban president also thanked Putin for the recent cancellation of most of Havana’s huge debt with Moscow, a hold over from Soviet times, when the Caribbean island was a strategic ally of the Kremlin.

The Russian president also met with Fidel Castro at his home in Havana.

It was “a great example of generosity to Cuba,” said Castro. “We want to express our gratitude to the people and government of Russia for all these agreements and the decisions that President Vladimir Putin has just informed us,” he added.

Havana will still have to repay a remaining 3.5 billion dollars over ten years, which will be deposited into a special fund for Russian investment in the Cuban economy.

“Both countries are creating new conditions for the development of bilateral relations,” Putin noted.

According to the official Cuban media, Moscow and Havana on Friday signed a dozen agreements in energy, industry and health and other fields.

The bilateral projects include the participation of Russian companies in oil fields and “the supply of four energy blocks for two thermoelectric plants at a cost of 1.2 billion euros, according to the official website Cubadebate.

Before the visit, the Kremlin had announced that both sides would explore projects in the fields of industry and high technologies, energy, civil aviation, the peaceful use of outer space, medicine and biopharmaceuticals.

As part of his visit to the island, Putin also met with Fidel Castro at his home in Havana. It was a “long and very interesting conversation” the Russian media quoted the Kremlin leader as saying. Cuban State television showed footage of Fidel alongside Putin.

Although he retired from office in 2006 after falling seriously ill, Fidel Castro, 87, often receives high level foreign visitors. He is also considered President Raul Castro’s senior advisor, especially on foreign affairs.

Moving on to Argentina, Putín is scheduled to meet on Saturday with President Cristina Fernandez. He will then travel to neighboring Brazil to catch the finals Sunday of the World Cup and to participate at the summit of the emerging group of nations known as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on July 15 and 16. Russia is the host of the 2018 World Cup.

26 thoughts on “Cuba Pleased with Russia’s “Firmness”

  • Russia hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Obviously homosexuals will not be welcome as spectators.

  • The Old Age pension is $8 permonth!TIM,
    Although the native people of North America – especially those in the USA have much to reproach the immigrant peoples for, the last thing they need to acquire is Cuba’s history with its own native people. They were the Taino and have virtually been eradicated. Some at least of the native peoples of Canada have treaties, land rights and recognition as first nations. The Taino have NOTHING! my wife teaches in Cuba, my son-in-law is Cree so I can make a reasonably fair assessment. Also I have worked in conjunction with some of the aboriginal peoples – the Bloods, Sarcee, Blackfoot and Cree. You are correct in suggesring that as a result of being in an economic time warp for fifty five years and agriculture in particular being so backward that land is reverting to bush. But, the people of Cuba are suffering. Much of the housing is worse than that on the Canadian Reserves.

  • Every candidate is a member of the Communist Party of Cuba. Try to debate that Mr. Goodrich. Your problem is wilful blindness. I did not ask what was your right to criticize the USA – READ what I wrote!
    “You say that the USA has no moral right to criticize any other countries’ (sic) foreign policy.” So what gives you that right?”
    As far as your country and you as a citizen are concerned, you have every right enshrined I believe in the US Consitution to criticize your elected government or other aspects of US society. I am not a US citizen and I have no desire whatever to be one.
    I don’t watch US television so am unable to comment upon it. I do however watch Cuban television and am able to comment upon it. I do see Granma the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba and am able to comment upon it. I do meet and have conversations with Cubans both in our own town and others and am able to comment upon the experiences and views which they express. I do see the self promoting posters of the brothers Castro-Ruz which are plastered all over Cuba. You on the other hand can only base your comments upon hearsay and that is evident from your writings. However if it makes you happy, so be it. Ignorance must be bliss!

  • Who or what is Fox News? Regarding the Russian Bear Mr. Goodrich, I should perhaps explain to you that it has no similarlity to that Teddy bear that you so lovingly cuddle as you try to vent your political and uniformed spleen upon those who love and respect freedom and who are concerned to liberate the people of Cuba from the yoke of Socialismo. Oh! you can rant on with quotations from fellow left wing idealogues in your support of the Castro Regime and dictatorships. Yes, you can bore those of us who are not subjects of the United States with constant repetitive blether about how much you oppose everything that your fellow countrymen voted for, but we others don’t care about that, Where for example are your comments about the Ladies in White? Do you support the Castro Regime’s treatment of them? When are you going to visit Cuba to see and experience the reality that Cubans experience? You sneer at people like Moses Patterson and I whose views are based upon our personal experiences and those of our Cuban families and neighbours. Your refusal to recognize reality is probably why your teachers at school placed that funny yellow conical hat on your head and made you stand in the corner.

  • You are willfully blind to the truth that is the Cuban system. I think Circles Robins (the editor of this site) said it best on his blog (an old post)

    “…Since virtually all decisions are made as executive orders by the Council of Ministers, the parliament is relegated to rubber stamping decisions already made and sometimes already implemented.
    Virtually all votes are unanimous and any debates among the members are held behind closed doors. Even an abstention is highly rare. This is to say 612 deputies routinely agree with every executive order passed by the Council of Ministers”

    Hardly a democratic system wouldn’t you say?

  • You are uninformed, Tim. Cuba suffers from terrible water pollution problems.

  • While the rest of the world over developed and lost so much that God gave them in the reefs and natural lands .The Cuban people now have the advantage of control and firmness to develop and mainitain there fine coastal areas and interior lands.
    The natives of North America for instance had collectives commitees and a relationship with what they called” The Great Spirit”. This relationship served to protect the lands and waters which today is lost to greed and corruption.Cuba is an example to the world and should pride themselves on preserving and maintaining,this overall health of the nation.The Revolution and committee planning has served God well in providing a stability that saved so much of his creation in Cuba.
    The Natives of North America did not have the benifits that Cuba has and can use to keep their relationship with God and the lands. The committees are knowledgeable in health and social wellness and the technology advances.Cuba can avoid the problems documented with overspeed development in other nations .
    Those nations wish they could go back, while Cuba is still on the path that has served the most important things so well.Good planning and health care , people in touch with the great spirit of the land and education along with the stability and firmness needed to maintain and protect what is most important.
    God Willing.
    Thank You

  • Are you and John Goodrich the same person? Feeling a little isolated because of your wacky views aren’t you John?

  • Exactly which institution of higher learning is that John? Please provide a link to a professor or a campus club or anything that ties your wacky definition to that institution. Or, are you just making this up as you go? How does an atheist dare to qualify the walk of a believer? This is HavanaTimes. What does religion have to do with any of this and especially this thread. You have some unresolved issues.

  • Your definition of communism is what is represented by countries run by a “Communist Party”.
    My definition would be that taught at any respectable institution of higher learning and decidedly not what is taught at your alma mater: ” The Limbaugh Institute For Advanced Conservative Studies” .
    The USA would like to normalize relations with Cuba. ?????
    Not since 1959, moron.
    And not without Cuba returning to capitalism .
    You are a CINO -a Christian In Name Only- you no more follow the help-the -less-fortunate teachings of Christ than do the rest of the well -off. CINOs.
    I KNOW your kind of Christian . You’re the type who NECESSARILY believes that all you have to do to be guaranteed admission to heaven is to believe in the deity of Christ regardless of the evil you do or how little you actually follow the teachings of Christ.
    Christ will absolve you of your sins against your fellow humans so you can wish starvation on the less-fortunate people of Cuba and not worry about celestial blowback when you die.
    Some Christian.
    As it is with socio-political issues, I will cut you a new one should you wish to debate me on religion as well.
    To get some idea of what you will face , you might want to watch a few Christopher Hitchens debate segments on religion at You Tube.
    Of course, as someone with a very shaky hold on his faith , you don’t DARE do this and I also know this for a fact because of your history here at HT.. .

  • SFB,
    I’ll just deal with your first two sentences or so because my threshold for idiocy is rather low today.
    The Cuban electoral system is called Poder Popular .
    In it there are three assemblies , municipal (local) , provincial ( state) and national .
    The people directly elect deputies to the local assembly
    Those elected then elect those who go to the provincial assemblies.
    Those elected to the provincial assemblies then elect those who will serve in the national assembly .
    Those in the national assembly elect the president .
    It’s not the U.S. system but it’s just as undemocratic in the way it is now run under wartime conditions.
    What gives me the right to criticize the USA?
    The freedom of speech guaranteed in the Constitution but obviously not supported by the likes of you and the right and duty of every citizen in a functional democracy to support its government when it’s right and to speak out loudly when it’s wrong .
    The rest of your post was just too damned stupid to necessitate any further response.
    In this debate, you are your own worst enemy.

  • Putin has killed far fewer people overseas than has Obama.
    Obama has doubled the number of countries in to which Special Forces groups have been stationed since he took office..
    The feared Russian Bear suffered some 50 million casualties in the two world wars and the U.S/. European invasion of 1918-1921 you ditz , so where do you get off talking about Russia being feared by its neighbors.
    You really need to shoot your television. Getting your information from Fox News and the rest of the corporate U.S. media is not doing your intellectual reputation any good .

  • Yeah, well the “Castros” have survived the U.S. 54 year war on the people and economy if Cuba and without them the U.S.G. would have re-imposed capitalism on the poor of Cuba and installed just another in a very long line of dictators to run the country.
    At least when the U.S.G. ends its war on the revolution there is a chance for democracy both in the economy and in the government .
    Were the U.S.G. to succeed in its century- old foreign policy of making and keeping the world for the benefit of the wealthy in Cuba as well , the Cubans would have ZERO chance of developing a democratic society as we can easily see in the scores of countries into which the USG has changed governments and economic systems.
    IF Cuba’s leadership is truly socialist/communist in more than name only , then they necessarily must be democrats and in a normal international setting they quite possibly would put those democratic principles into practice. BUT this is NOT possible when the most powerful empire in the world’s history is trying to smash Cuba.
    All any objective person can say at this time is wait and see.

  • You are a sick puppy.

  • Hahaha! He did, he” condomed” the debt

  • Relations between Cuba and the US are so far removed even though the proximity should warrant them being close. Dealing and paying homage to the US is simply too painfully slow and drawn out. America has had ample time to become motivated. But like many fresh opportunities left to rot at Americas doorstep over the past two or three decades it is too late.

    One by one the opportunities are going elsewhere and America is getting fewer callers as new options, new more reliable powers emerge. China, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Russia… there are many. America isn’t that attractive anymore. Today Russia be fast and the US too slow – Russia with a fraction of Americas political, banking & military empire manages to run circles around the US much at the worlds delight.

  • Another cycle of bad decisions by the Cuban government. It was
    bad before and it will bad again.

  • Putin is a true representative of the Russian Bear which has been feared by its neighbours for generations and most of whom have suffered savagely from its ambitions. The former KGB man is quoted as saying during his visit to Cuba that he supports:
    “Multilateralism in world affairs, respect for international law, strengthening the central role of the United Nations.”
    Such a statement coming from the man who so recently has annexed Crimea from Ukraine by so doing breaking international law, can only be described as cynical hypocrisy. His purpose in visiting Cuba and in “forgiving” 90% of Cuba’s debt to the USSR is to establish a naval base there and the “forgiveness” is the price he is willing to pay. By so doing he will foment the abundant problems of the former Spanish colonies. When talking of the UN, he chooses to ignore the fact that his hosts – the Castro BIG and little brothers refuse to implement the UN Charter of Human Rights in Cuba.
    For the doubters, I repeat the KGB’s analysis of Putin when refusing to promote him above the level of Lieutenant Colonel:
    “He has a lowered sense of danger.”

  • Hahahaha! Exclusivity? No. I just hope Putin used a condom with Raul.

  • Well, Cuba and USA are not even closer to a first date, and some are already demanding exclusivity.

  • It still has not penetrated your skull Mr. Goodrich that the brothers Castro Ruz are dictators. They have never been elected but have held Cubans in thrall for fifty five long long years of poverty. Currently they are scraping a living off Russian forgiveness of debt to the USSR, by energy subsidy from the very rocky Maduro government of Venezuela and by credit provided by the Government of China. They have been unable to find out how to paddle their own canoe because of economic inadequacy. YES, I know that you will bleat about the cause being the US embargo and continue to denigrate your own country and its freely elected governments but that raises one key question.
    Why oh why Mr. Goodrich do you not purchase a one way ticket and depart the despicable USA and emigrate to Cuba where you can enjoy the full benefits offered by the real socialism or communism or the reverse. There are now homes for sale there by Cubans who wish to raise the money and take one way tickets to of all places, the USA. You can help them and help yourself with one action. Surely such a suggestion attracts you? This question does not require you to refer to the writings of others, just answer it.
    Obviously you have to be an avid reader in order to express views about Cuba having no personal knowledge or experience upon which to base credible opinion and I respect your dedication. But the inadequacy and ignorance of the reality of Cuba is self evident.
    You say that the USA “has no moral right to criticize any other countries’ (sic) foreign policy.” So what gives you that right?

  • To John Goodrich: I couldn’t have written your comment any better or accurate myself.
    It is becoming increasingly transparent and obvious that those hypocrites in the US of A are becoming exposed as to who their allies are and not surprisingly some of the oil rich Arab States. Yet Cuba is condemned by the so called ‘super power’ for choosing its allies.
    It really is making Obama and his predecessors look ridiculously petty in the eyes of the World.
    I sometimes wonder if the dislike/hatred of Cuba and more specifically the Fidel and Raul Castro is built into the school curriculum from an early age.
    I hope the outcome of the talks with the Presidents of both Russia and China are fruitful and productive.

  • Hahaha! This comment from the guy that hates the family structure. Of course the US would like nothing more than normal relations with Cuba. You have no proof to the contrary. “Working socialist system” is an oxymoron. You yourself have admitted that no real “socialist” system has ever existed. Why would Cuba’s version suddenly do the trick? Since you have cowardly declined to present a credible source that supports your wacko definition of socialism, you have no more credibility on this subject than anyone else. Here is a difference between Christians and folks like you. I don’t wish Hell for you. Fortunately, it’s not up to me.

  • For Cuba to cozy up to Russia again is troubling, not because of the obvious rebuke to US influence, but rather because of Russia’s backwards policies on social issues like homosexuality and growing nationalist fervour. Cuba has been making great progress in gay rights (though granted there is still a lot of work to be done.) It should be obvious to anyone that Cuba is hoping Russia will be their financier like in the old days, but by doing that, they will just trade one empire for another. The Castros are inept in their leadership and incapable of leading the country toward any degree of self-reliance. Very sad indeed for the Cuban people.

  • How can you expect anyone to take you seriously ?
    Short of a return to capitalism and a complete scrapping of anything more than social programs equal to less than those of Scandinavia and other more civilized societies, the GOUSA is not interested in a normalization of relations with Cuba.
    The threat that a working socialist system represents to capitalism is very real as the thinking and policies of the GOUSA clearly indicate as carried out through the 20th and now the 21st century.
    Saying that the Cubans even need or want to piss off the USA is just you ignoring factual history .
    Again, if the USA can kiss the arses of the Sauds who are barking mad Wahaabists (sp) , do not allow Jewish or Christian church services, whose primitive thinking spawned Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the USA has absolutely no moral right to criticize any other countries’ foreign policy.
    In this case the U.S.G. and people like you Moses are saying , in effect, “How dare you Cubans make alliances with people who are willing to help you when we are trying to destroy you ?.”
    You are one of those few people for whom I wish a Hell really existed for those who hate their fellow humans as you do the Cubans in your calls for an extended embargo.

  • So as the international left celebrate every morsel of progress being made in the US in the slow march toward normalizing relations with Cuba, the Castros openly declare the beginnings of a new alliance with the Russians. The Castros in their sovereign right to throw in with whomever they wish just seem to be making every effort to piss off the US. How can Obama make public overtures to the Castros now that there are photos of the Castros kissing Putin’s arse?

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