Cuba’s president arrives in Moscow for a 3-day visit

World Today

Cuba’s president is in Russia for an official visit.  This is Miguel Diaz-Canel’s first visit outside the Americas since he took office.  Cuba and Russia have historic links dating back to the time of the former Soviet Union.

But as CGTN’s Lucy Taylor reports, the past two years have seen renewed efforts to strengthen ties as the U.S. under Donald Trump has pulled away.

On the face of it, these talks are all about economic cooperation. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said Moscow signed deals worth over $260 million at a business forum held this week in Havana.   The Prime Minister also said a project to modernize Cuba’s railways, “is vital and in high demand.” Cuba is hoping for more Russian investment towards modernizing its industries, energy plants and railways. But, this is also a chance for the two men to discuss deeper issues.

Kremlin media reports the leaders plan to discuss further consolidation of the Russia-Cuba strategic partnership and will also talk about current international and regional issues. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel is visiting Russia for the first time since taking office. One analyst says President Putin will be looking to forge a personal connection with him as well as a political one.

“Putin is able to build up relationships with state leaders of other countries, even if their political opinions differ, that is his specialty. In this case, the outlooks on world politics and the problems that exist, are very close, they practically match up, so there’s no reason to expect anything other than development of this relationship,” Institute for Latin America, Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolai Kalashnikov said.

Russia and Cuba have made efforts to renew their historic ties over the last two years, as both countries have seen their relations with the United States deteriorate. They will also discuss military cooperation just weeks after  U.S. President Donald Trump announced the end to a nuclear missiles treaty that had been in place since the end of the Cold War, which some politicians warned could lead to a new Cuban missile crisis. But, Russia says the relationship is unrelated to those problems and that this visit should lay the foundations for long-term cooperation.