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Cuba-Russia Ties Strengthen as Crisis in Venezuela and Tensions with U.S. Heighten

LADB Article ID: 80317
Category/Department: Cuba
Date: 2017-06-15
By: Daniel Vázquez

Tanker shipments of Russian diesel and petroleum to Cuba are propping up the old relationship between the two Cold War allies and promoting a greater influence on the region by Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, precisely when Venezuela’s social and economic crisis is worsening and while US President Donald Trump maintains his distance from Havana. A shipment of 249,000 barrels of diesel arrived in May at Matanzas Bay, 100 km from Havana, aboard the Maersk Erin tanker. It was the first delivery in response to an agreement signed in March between the Russian state oil company Rosneft and the Venezuelan PDVSA, under which Russia will supply Cuba with 250,000 tons of petroleum and diesel. The transaction has been estimated, at market price, at US$100 million. A political and economic restructuring was predicted in Cuba after Trump’s election, a development to which Havana responded by organizing military training exercises, even as it urged the White House to strengthen the links between both governments initiated during former President Barack Obama’s time in office (2009-2017) (NotiCen, Jan. 29, 2015, and March 26, 2015). Havana has had to moderate its expectations in light of Trump’s hostile statements regarding President Raúl Castro.

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