For years it was said as a rumor of dubious origin. But it turned out to be true. Cuba owed Russia 32 billion dollars for products purchased before 1991. And it was made public during the visit to Cuba of Prime Minister and former President Dmitry Medvedev, in January 2013.
But from October this year, the debt is forgiven and forgotten, but it was not known until the Reuters news agency published it exclusively, with great fanfare.
The agreement workout was signed in Moscow during the visit vice president of the Council of Ministers, Ricardo Cabrisas and Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca made to that city.
To understand the dimensions of what happened, you have to understand that for the Kremlin accountants, every Cuban owed his country with U.S. $ 2,909. Now the island only owes 290 per capita.
Havana will have to pay around 10% of the original debt (3.2 billion) and have ten years to find a way to settle the account of what was spent on goods or credits used over 20 years ago.
The 32 billion dollars are a reminder of the time when the Cuban economy had a strong relationship with the Soviet one.
The gesture of President Vladimir Putin is almost a déjà vu. The governments of the USSR wrote off debts to Cuba for nearly 30 years until Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev broke with tradition and simply granted an extension.
There was then no USSR to return that monstrous amount of money, but Russia remained as universal heir to the Soviet Union and was asking for Cuba its 32 billion for two decades.
According to Reuters, the Cuban government argues that the sum is in convertible rubles (sic) overvalued and the island suffered extensive damage from broken contracts when the Soviet Union collapsed, so in all honesty, it is true.
The positive is that this phantom debt no longer “runs” or threat to the Cuban economy remains only the lap of certain inherited tendencies.