Ricardo Cabrisas Travels to Moscow in Search of More Russian Investments for Cuba

The Cuban Deputy Prime Minister, Ricardo Cabrisas (L), and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Chernishenko (R), during their meeting in Moscow. (Sputnik)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 2 November 2023 — The Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Ricardo Cabrisas, architect of the rapprochement between the Kremlin and Havana, traveled this Wednesday to Moscow to discuss new agreements to oxygenate the anemic Cuban economy. The plans discussed with his Russian counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Chernishenko, include the promise of a stream of investments that, as usual, will flow in only one direction: from Russia to the Island.

According to the Russian agency Sputnik, the meeting included the Kremlin’s business adviser, Boris Titov – who traveled to Havana last October – and officials of the Central Bank of Cuba. Several strategies were discussed to reaffirm bilateral alliances and obtain more investments.

“The priority course for the development of bilateral economic relations should be the creation of favorable conditions for Russian investments in the Cuban economy,” Chernishenko insisted, without clearly revealing what “conditions” he expects the Island to meet in order to be worthy of Kremlin funds.

Until now, the agreements, some already underway, says Sputnik, cover investments in the energy sector

Until now, the agreements, some already underway, says Sputnik, include investments in the energy sector, with the construction of photovoltaic parks on the Island, the development of fertilizers, and other “infrastructure projects” that they did not specify.

Mention was also made of the implementation of “a full-cycle agro-industrial company for the cultivation and processing of sugar cane.” They do not clarify, however, if it is the Uruguay sugar mill, located in Jatibonico (Sancti Spíritus), which has been under Russian management for at least a year.

In terms of energy, Moscow had also promised to contribute to the creation of new “capacities” in Cuban thermoelectric plants, so it is likely that the agreements involving the sector will continue along that line.

Tourism, another of the lines that Havana insists on improving despite the fact that Russians show little interest in traveling to the Island, has also been the subject of debate by the commission, which assumed as an achievement the visit of about 60,000 tourists from Russia in the first six months of 2023.

The Russian Ministry of Transport announced that it intends to increase the weekly frequencies of flights between the two countries to 10

In order to encourage the flow of travelers, the Russian Ministry of Transport announced that it intends to increase the weekly frequencies of flights between the two countries to 10 by the end of this year.

Although it is not clear what benefits Moscow obtains from Havana in exchange for the investments of the Government and some Russian businessmen, the truth is that both parties strive to demonstrate the good health of their relations and their ideological alignment in the international sphere.

Behind Venezuela and Mexico, Russia continues to be one of the largest suppliers of oil to the island. It has also made numerous donations through international organizations, such as the delivery of 650 tons of oil last September and the “aid” of four million dollars for an international fire center, a few days after the collapse of a multi-family building in Old Havana.

However, Sputnik did not say a single word about the presence of hundreds of Cubans working as mercenaries for the Russian Army in the invasion of Ukraine, allegedly in exchange for obtaining citizenship and several thousand rubles, nor the diplomatic and economic implications between the two States of this controversial issue. If Moscow and Havana have agreed on anything, after hackers leaked images of Cuban soldiers on the battle front, it is to remain silent.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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