Moscow Strengthens Its Support For The Cuban Regime: The Russian Prime Minister Traveled To Havana To Meet Miguel Díaz-Canel

Russia maintains its support for the dictatorships of Venezuela and Cuba in Latin America. As part of this support, on Thursday the Russian Prime Minister, Dimitri Medvedev, began a two-day tour in Havana. After an encounter with Miguel Díaz-Canel, he denounced that the United States tries to subject Cuba to “an energy blockade” with the resurgence of its sanctions against ships that transport fuel to the island.

“In recent months the United States has significantly hardened the economic blockade against Cuba. Its desire to create a toxic atmosphere around cooperation with the island, to scare investors and to create a way of energy blockage is evident, ”said Medvedev.

After meeting with Miguel Díaz-Canel, the second most powerful man in Russia stressed that Moscow "categorically opposes the blockade" that Washington has applied against the island since 1962 and that "it fully supports the demand to cease it."

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Any "attempt to maintain a pressure of force has no future," he said.

Medvedev's visit comes at a time when the island faces a significant fuel shortage due to the escalation of the US blockade with sanctions against banks and shipping companies that transport oil to Cuba.

In recent weeks, long lines have formed in front of gas stations, while the frequency of buses and trains has been reduced, air conditioning is rationed in state-owned companies and many officials have been asked to work from their homes.

Medvedev explained that with Díaz-Canel he agreed to “strengthen (the) strategic partnership” and “continue actively supporting joint projects in the fields of transport, agriculture, energy and high technology”.

"Cuba is an important economic partner of Russia in Latin America," and Havana "can always count on Russia's support," said the Russian prime minister.

In recent years, Moscow has renewed its commercial, military and political ties with Cuba, as part of a broader strategy to expand its presence in Latin America, and counteract the weight of China and the United States.

Russia supports its allies such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, countries that the Trump administration describes as the "troika of tyranny" in the region.

With a bilateral trade collapsed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the ties between Russia and Cuba had a boost once again in 2014 when Moscow forgave 90 percent of the debt of the Soviet era that was $ 35 billion and began providing financing to Russian companies to sell to the island with liquidity problems.

Russian exports to Cuba doubled in 2017 to 414 million dollars and slightly increased last year to 440 million, according to official data.

Imports of hundreds of cars and buses from Russia, as well as dozens of locomotives have partly helped Cuba to face a public transport crisis.

Prior to his meeting with Díaz-Canel, Medvedev deposited a crown of flowers at the monument to the hero of independence, José Martí, in the Plaza de la Revolución de La Habana.

With information from AFP and Reuters

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