Russian and Cuban foreign ministers reaffirm their support for Venezuela’s Maduro

Russian and Cuban foreign ministers reaffirm their support for Venezuela’s Maduro

Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov today in Moscow. The ministers

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Photo: Reuters

Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov today in Moscow.

The ministers are expected to discuss bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in investment. Over the last few years, trade between the two countries has grown significantly. Providing approximately 5% of its imports, Russia is Cuba’s third largest trade partner and Cuba’s leading creditor.

Russia and Cuba also see eye-to-eye on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Both Havana and Moscow support the government of embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

Yet Washington’s agenda also factors into the crisis. The US wishes to put an end to Mr Maduro’s government and may seek to employ Cuba to help it achieve that end, particularly by diverting the copious amount of intelligence it gathers in support of Mr Maduro’s regime to the US. Washington may offer Havana a relief in sanctions in exchange for Cuba’s cooperation over Venezuela.

Fears of Cuba changing its mind over Mr Maduro are likely the real reason for today’s meeting. While diplomatic relations between Russia and Cuba remain aligned on the Venezuela question, the Russians seek to strengthen economic ties to disincentivise the Cubans from ever striking a “sanctions-for-Guaido” deal with the US.

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