Russia-Cuba Relations, Back to Old Times?

By Aurelio Pedroso  (Progreso Semanal)

Vladimir Putin and Raul Castro

HAVANA TIMES — The headline reveals that life goes round and round. Now we will have to put the English language, the language of Donald Trump, to rest overnight and dust off our Russian dictionaries if they still exist and didn’t end up in a bonfire like in medieval times or as raw material according to modern standards.

The Russians have returned to Cuba again but this time with a different face just like that character Melquiades in Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” who appears in Macondo, after being absent for many years, with a beautiful smile that is the result of a denture.

Whoever has been following national news by reading local press will easily be able to realize the magnitude of our old Soviet allies’ financial invasion like no other. Too much interest in Cuba attracts attention if you take into account its geographic location which has been coveted by many world powers after the Great Admiral arrived.

Maybe the first flare to be thrown up in the sky was the publication of President Raul Castro’s biography which was followed by a Ministry of Tourism announcement telling us that tourism from Moscow was growing. Its pioneers and flag bearers were Russian millionaires who were renting out luxury homes in Varadero and even if it was just a couple with two children, they would still have two or three cars of renowned brands parked in the garden as a symbol of ostentation. A little later, over time, the first “workers” came.

Then, like tracer bullets in the middle of a sad financial night, news that they might be giving a huge diamond to the Parliament’s headquarters and the government announcement (just like when many Spanish politicians land on the island) showing the Russians’ willingness to accompany us in our economic development.

And in this outpour of good intentions, a meteorite managed to slip through which seemed to have been struck down by the Cuban authorities before touching Earth: the Kremlin’s military’s interest in reinstating the Lourdes Intelligency facility so as to be able to pick up on so much as a sneeze in the Oval Office.

The first seven train engines that are destined to be used for the sugar harvest and freight are already on their way as are modern Lada cars that will circulate on our highways with their almost 50-year-old predecessors.

Moscow has become one of the Cuban people’s favorite places to go and shop to then resell this merchandise on the island, just like they do in other cities such as Cancun in Mexico and Panama. The Russian capital doesn’t ask for a visa and this advantage allows what the State still hasn’t been able to do: to supply the private automobile sector with spare parts across Cuba.

We can’t talk about arms. As you should know, Cuba only has arms for defense and these need updating, but any renewal is packed up in the most secret of secrets like it should be.

And to end with the crown jewel, historic Russian meat tins are back. They have come to be distributed via the rations booklet. They come with an Italian touch, but these are Russian cows from their heads to their tails.

Well, here we are again at the top of the Montana Rusa (roller-coaster), with its emotion-filled ups and downs and waiting for a happy ending in these times when “sir” has taken the place of “comrade”.

Let’s make a toast for this to happen. And there’s nothing better to make a toast with than Cuban vodka which has recently appeared on market shelves: The Legendario.

  • Kennedy Earle Clarke

    The USA has allies and, whether they hold elections or not, no condemnation emanates from the media of the biggest defender of human rights abuses. No sanctions are imposed upon these allies. All resolutions against them are vetoed in the U.N. Security Council. Cuba is a Sovereign Independent Country and has the right to choose whichever country it wants to have friendly relations with, so, why the article? Any how, I am proud to see the relationship has been restored and mended. You see, the USA is not the only country in the world. There are others who will not be afraid to extend the hand to Cuba in friendship!!.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Sadly Kennedy Earle Clarke, other communist regimes don’t extend the hand of friendship to Cubans, they support the repression by the Castro regime. With friends like North Korea, Zimbabwe, Russia and Vietnam, who needs enemies? It’s dejavu to watch Kim Jung Un echoing the desires of Fidel Castro to inflict nuclear war upon our planet.
      I have a suggestion for you, why not leave the luxury and comfort of your island retreat, visit North Korea, Vietnam, Russia and Cuba and then select one of them for your new home?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    The visit to Cuba last year by Nikolai S, Leonov has paid off. As Raul’s KGB contact in the USSR in 1953 then in Mexico City where he advised the Castros and following the revolution, became the KGB ‘Man in Havana’, Leonov later became Deputy Chief of the KGB with Vladamir Putin as one of his juniors. Last year at age 86, he visited Cuba to promote his biography of Raul Castro and was interviewed for an hour on Mesa Redondo by Arleen Rodriguez. Amusingly this professional spy was introduced by Rodriguez as a “writer and historian”. No doubt upon his return to Moscow where he is still involved in politics, he persuaded Vladamir to cosy up to Raul. As a side comment Raul gave Leonov access to family photographs to use in the biography – and in one of them Raul is actually smiling.
    Trying to promote his book in Cuba was a waste of time as most Cubans know Raul only too well and don’t have the money to buy the book anyway.