Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on November 2 with his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Díaz-Canel, who will make his first visit to Russia as president, the Kremlin announced in a press release.
Both presidents will discuss “the state and the perspectives for strengthening the Russian-Cuban strategic association in different spheres and will also exchange opinions on current regional and international problems,” the official note points out.
Putin y Díaz-Canel analizarán en Moscú la cooperación entre Rusia y Cuba https://t.co/iaHFdYkcqf
— Sputnik Mundo (@SputnikMundo) October 29, 2018
Díaz-Canel, who will arrive in Russia on November 1, will be the first Cuban president to visit that country after Raúl Castro did so in 2012. During his visit he will also meet with the president of the Russian Senate, Valentina Matviyenko, after which he will continue his tour with stopovers in China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos.
This Monday he met in Havana with the Russian-Cuban economic-commercial cooperation intergovernmental commission, presided over by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.
According to the Russian press, during his stay on the island Borisov will sign several agreements with Cuban authorities, both commercial as well as military, and some 60 investment projects will be confirmed.
The daily Kommersant reported that Moscow will give Havana a credit of 50 million dollars to purchase weapons, which will include armored cars, planes and helicopters. Last week Putin conferred the Order of Friendship on Cuban Minister of the Armed Forces Leopoldo Cintras Frías.
The Russian President phoned Díaz-Canel after his election as the new president of the island and “expressed his willingness for a closer joint work to continue strengthening the strategic association between Russia and Cuba and cooperation in all spheres.”
Putin, who in May 2016 had already received the then Cuban vice president, said he was confident that with Díaz-Canel Cuba will enter a new stage of socioeconomic development.
Relations between the Kremlin and the island cooled with the arrival to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 and the launching of the “perestroika,” a process very criticized by Fidel Castro, and they finally entered a crisis with the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Just after Putin got to power in 2000, he traveled to Havana and the following year he ordered the closing of the Lourdes electronic espionage base, the last vestige of the massive Soviet presence in Cuba during the Cold War.
However, in recent years the Russian leader has boosted a new strategic alliance and both countries have agreed to develop collaboration projects in areas like civil aviation, metallurgy, the manufacturing of machinery and the recovery of the railroad.
It was recently reported that before late April 2019 Moscow plans to install on the island a mobile complex for the reception of data from its land observation satellites.
At present Russia is Cuba’s fourth trade partner and its presence in Cuba is also growing in other sectors like tourism. The arrival of Russian visitors increased by more than 60 percent and for the first time surpassed the 100,000 travelers in 2017.
Meeting with other leaders
In addition to Putin, the Cuban president will also meet during his trip to Russia with Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev and His Holiness the Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the island’s Foreign Ministry.
The Eurasian nation will be the first official leg of his tour in which he will also go to North Korea and China, where he will meet with presidents Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping, and prime ministers Pak Pong Ju and Li Keqiang, respectively, among other leaders.
Moreover, while in the Asian giant he will make a visit to the municipality of Shanghai and will participate in the first Chinese Import International Fair.
In Vietnam he will meet with new President Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party, who is the ad interim president after the recent death of Tran Dai Quang. He will also hold talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Speaker Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and he will visit Ho Chi Ming City.
Finally, Díaz-Canel will become the first Cuban president to visit Laos, where he will meet with President Buunnhang Vorachit, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and National Assembly Speaker Pany Yathotou.
During the tour he will also sign several commercial and cooperation agreements.
EFE / OnCuba