Nuclear Submarines in Cuba

A Russian submarine entering the Bay of Havana

HAVANA TIMES – On the cloudy morning of June 12, a Russian naval squadron arrived at the port of Havana. The fleet is composed of the frigate Gorshkov, the nuclear submarine Kazan, and two support ships — the tanker Pashin and the salvage tug Nikolai Chiker. This visit was announced by the Cuban Foreign Ministry last week in a statement indicating that the docking would occur between June 12 and 17.

Russian Frigate near the entrance to the Bay of Havana.

The visit takes place amid one of the worst military and political scenarios worldwide. Just a few days ago, the US government gave Ukraine the green light to use US-made weapons to attack targets within Russian territory. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by saying he could arm his allies with long-range rockets and missiles as a counterbalance to Western support for Ukraine.

If we analyze the current geopolitical context, we can conclude that the world is closer than ever to a third World War, if we are not already immersed in it, with conflicts still being fought at low-intensity levels. A world war that could represent the end of humanity, at least as we know it.

On one side, we have Russia, which has invaded Ukraine while threatening several neighboring countries, bringing maritime borders in the Black and Baltic Seas into discussion.

Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland have expressed their willingness to participate in the so-called “coalitions of capability” to support Ukraine in various areas. France has even been mentioned as a leader of a coalition that would conduct training tasks on Ukrainian soil, with Emmanuel Macron having defended on more than one occasion the possibility of deploying troops in Ukraine, under the premise that “Russia cannot win this war.”

In Asia, China constantly threatens the territorial integrity of Taiwan and claims it belongs to the People’s Republic of China, while North Korea plays with launching intercontinental missiles into the Sea of Japan and other provocations to South Korea.

In the Middle East, Israel is engaged in a fierce battle against the HAMAS movement, supported by Iran and Lebanon, a conflict that has left over a thousand Israelis dead, more than a hundred kidnapped, a gruesome figure of over thirty-five thousand Palestinians dead (including women and children) according to data provided by institutions under HAMAS’s command, and nearly two million displaced. Meanwhile, the Houthi rebels keep the Red Sea under siege, attacking Israeli or allied ships.

To top it off, in the Americas, in the Caribbean, declared a zone of peace by the countries that make up CELAC, Maduro’s regime in Venezuela threatens to use force to resolve the border dispute with Guyana over the Esequibo region.

On the other hand, the Western world openly supports Ukraine through NATO and with the US at the helm, providing Ukraine with loans, training, and modern weaponry for the war with Russia. In Asia, the US supports Taiwan’s determination to continue being an independent territory from mainland China by maintaining troops in the area and conducting joint military exercises.

Regarding the two Koreas, the US also plays the role of supporter of South Korea and conducts defense military exercises with South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, in the Americas, the US provides political support to Guyana, advocating for a negotiated solution to the dispute with Venezuela.

In the midst of such a bleak scenario, Cuba shoots itself in the foot. Just a few weeks ago, the United States removed Cuba from the list of “Countries Not Cooperating Fully in the Fight Against Terrorism,” which is a first step towards being removed from the list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” It is worth noting that belonging to these lists entails economic, financial, and diplomatic sanctions that affect the standard of living in a nation already hit by a severe economic crisis that seems never-ending.

For now, the US State Department has stated that it does not see the Russian naval visit as a direct threat to the United States… But despite the statements made, naval and air forces from the US and Canada have monitored the movement of Russian forces across the Atlantic, a region where they conducted exercises launching medium-range missiles.

USS Helena

In response, since the arrival of the Russian fleet, a pair of destroyers have been patrolling the seas near Havana and Matanzas, staying between 20 and 30 nautical miles from Cuban waters. Another part of the response is the US nuclear submarine USS Helena, which has been stationed in waters near the Guantanamo Naval Base.

With this visit, Russia and Cuba shamelessly undermine the rapprochement that was taking place between the US and the battered island of Cuba, so in need of better commercial and political relations with its neighbor.

It begs the question, who benefits from putting Cuba in the eye of the storm once again, just like in October 1962? If tensions escalate, would Russia have the military capacity and political will to defend Cuban territory, or would Cuba once again be just a sacrificial pawn in the political chess game?

But the most important question for the average Cuban is:

How does Cuba benefit from serving as a Russian aircraft carrier, disregarding any political or diplomatic considerations?

And when I say Cuba, I don’t mean the regime and the three or four power-drunk tyrants misgoverning the nation; I mean the common people, citizens who see their economy and life in general languishing at a rapid pace.

All that remains is to hope that the analysis is wrong… to hope that the Russian military visit has no major implications, to hope that we are not living through a Missile Crisis II.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

3 thoughts on “Nuclear Submarines in Cuba

  • Sadly, Cuban puppet seems to be an appropriate expression !!

  • It must be getting cozy in Havana harbour. A new Canadian naval ship sailing out of its base here in Halifax, Nova Scotia , was filmed steaming into Havana yesterday. Canada has frozen relations with Russia since they started their invasion of Ukraine. The Canadian government commented that our visit is in recognition of Canada’s continued friendship with Cuba. Viva Canada-Cuba!

  • First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and President of the Republic of Cuba (note the Party holds precedence over the State), Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez has no alternative, but has to grovel at the feet of Vladamir Putin. Forgiven for a debt of $5 billion and with now a further increasing debt, Diaz-Canel travels around so-called friends and allies with his begging bowl outstretched. Putin can but smirk with delight as the Cuban puppet bows to his instructions.

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