Spain Sold Cuba Anti-Riot Equipment in the First Half of 2021

Police forces detain protesters during the July 2021 protests in Cuba. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 23 December 2021 — Spain sold anti-riot equipment to Cuba in the first half of 2021 for an amount of 350,000 euros, according to a recent report presented to the Spanish Congress in Madrid by the Secretary of State for Commerce.

Although the authorization of the export to Havana was made before the massive protests that occurred on July 11 on the island, the document does not explain if the shipment arrived before that date or if the delivery was suspended for fear that it would be used to suppress peaceful demonstrations, according to El País.

The Spanish newspaper also specifies that the consummated sales between January and June include Albania with a purchase of 78,948 euros, but in that period, in addition to Cuba, the list of authorized operations that were carried out included the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at 4.6 million euros; Togo, at 306,150 and Tunisia, with 111,000.

Other Latin American countries that received police and military equipment from Spain in 2021 were Peru and Colombia, the latter with imports worth 59,645,534 euros. Among the materials imported by the Colombian Defense Ministry were bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles and aircraft, according to the newspaper Público.

It is not the first time that Madrid has sold defense equipment to Havana. In 2014, a report by the defunct Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness recorded an export of 3,170,228 euros to the Island, which included, among other equipment, “gas masks” and “armored suits.”

For years, one of Cuba’s main allies in the military-technical sphere has been Russia. According to its Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigú, in statements from last June, the Eurasian country renewed its military commitment to the island in response to Havana’s request to Moscow for “supplies of more modern armaments.”.

According to the minister, both Cuba and its other two allies, Venezuela and Nicaragua, also requested military preparation for their armies in the face of the possibility that they would have to face “a complicated situation” without giving more details of what this referred to.

“Historically we have established alliances with Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and other countries. For many years they have resisted various forms of pressure, including the threat of the open use of military force,” the minister said, adding that “never before has it been like now, with so much support needed from Russia.”

In November 2018, during a visit by Miguel Díaz-Canel to Moscow, the government of Vladimir Putin announced that it planned to grant Havana a credit worth 38 million euros to buy weapons. According to the Russian press, Cuba was interested in receiving a loan to acquire Russian weapons, from airplanes to helicopters and armored vehicles.

The Kremlin reported then that its minister was going to travel to the island to discuss military cooperation and the possible purchase of Russian weapons by Havana.


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