Russia Donates 650 Tons of Vegetable Oil to Cuba for Its ‘Emergency Food Reserve’

Since 2018, Russia’s contributions to the Cuban fund of the World Food Program have amounted to 15 million dollars. (Prensa Latina)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 27 September 2023 — The Government of Russia donated 650 tons of vegetable oil to Havana through the World Food Program (WFP). According to the official press on Wednesday, the product is valued at three million dollars, in addition to the other 4.5 million that Russia contributed between 2022 and 2023 to finance the purchase of oil  in Cuba.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Ana Teresita González, explained that the oil will remain in the WFP in Cuba as an emergency food reserve and will go to “the vulnerable sectors of the Cuban population and pregnant women in the five eastern provinces.”

The official also mentioned that the Island is interested in continuing to generate economic alliances with Moscow. “We seek an effective participation of Russia in our national plan of social economic development for mutual benefit, and we are working to create conditions for it,” she said.

The authorities recalled that, since 2018, Russia’s contributions to the WFP Cuban fund have amounted to 15 million dollars, which has facilitated “a regular supply” for some 260,000 people.

With the worsening of the Island’s economic crisis, the Cuban Government has striven to strengthen ties with the Eurasian country

The capital radio station, Radio Habana Cuba, which reported the event, cited the words of the Moscow ambassador on the Island, Victor Koronelli, who described the donation of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations and Civil Protection as “a sign of his country’s unwavering commitment” to Cuba.

“It happens in the midst of the criminal policy of strangling the Cuban economy due to the unilateral measures imposed by Washington, and I’m sure that with the solidarity and support of friends like Russia, Cuba will triumph in the face of adversities created by hostile forces,” continued the diplomat, who said that the Russian intention was based solely on solidarity support and “cooperation.”

With the worsening of the Island’s economic crisis, the Cuban government has striven to strengthen ties with the Eurasian country, despite criticism from the international community for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. These donations are another aspect of these relationships in which Russia forgives debts and offers funds in exchange for benefits on the Island and international support.

This August, Russia delivered 26 tons of medicines and medical equipment purchased from the World Health Organization to Cuba. The donation, which came in the midst of a deficit of 40% of basic pharmaceuticals – according to figures from the state group BioCubaFarma – had four containers with medicines that had been missing for a long time in the Islands’s pharmacies.

Although the quantities were not specified, Russia sent antibiotics of various types, drugs against diabetes mellitus and heart disease, analgesics, anti-inflammatories and antihypertensives. In addition, syringes, disinfectants, equipment for surgeries and suture thread were received – articles that, for months, Cubans had to request from their relatives abroad before going to the hospital – as well as sphygmomanometers, stethoscopes, glucose meters, oximeters and other materials.

Months earlier, in February, Moscow sent 25,000 tons of wheat for food production. One more type of aid than Moscow sends to the island, which is barely enough to briefly mask the crisis.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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