On July 6, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion on the current state of bilateral relations between Russia and Cuba.
Relations between Russia and Cuba have a long history, and the country itself and its distinctive culture have long attracted Russians. Moscow and Havana are connected by the joint experience of the Cold War: the challenge to American influence and direct participation in one of the largest confrontations of the 20th century - the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Although the world system has changed, Russian-Cuban relations continue to develop actively. The countries cooperate in energy and metallurgy, as well as work together to implement scientific and technical projects and educational programmes. Havana banks have begun to accept MIR cards, and on July 1 this year, direct flights were resumed. Passenger traffic is expected to return to the pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. As Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko stated, "Cuba is Russia's key partner in Central America, and it is quite logical that it is necessary to further develop economic relations between our countries."
On June 27, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu met in Moscow with his Cuban counterpart Alvaro López Miera. The Russian side noted the significant status of Cuba as an ally of Russia in the region and the consensus position on a number of issues on the international agenda. At the same time, experts believe that common values and approaches should not be considered as unconditional support in all areas.
Cuba's foreign policy is the result of its understanding of its own geopolitical position, and the key interest of Havana is the preservation of the nation’s political system and independence in international affairs. So, in June of this year the Western media spread reports about China's active buildup of its presence in the country.
What are the prospects for the development of relations between Moscow and Havana? What is the position taken by Cuban officials and researchers on sensitive issues of contemporary international relations? What is the specificity of US-Cuban relations at the current stage? With whom can Russia compete for Cuba in the foreseeable future? Participants of the discussion tried to answer these and other questions.
Working languages: Russian, English.
- Dmitry Rozental, acting director of the Institute of Latin America of the Russian Academy of Sciences
- Jose Ramon Cabañas, Director of CIPI (Cuba), Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to the USA (2012-2021)
- Emanuel Pietrobon, geopolitical analyst (Italy).