As relations with the United States cool down due to relentless attacks on its diplomats in Havana, Cuba tightens it’s ties with the old protector during the Cold War: Russia.
“[Vladimir] Putin’s message is not difficult to understand,” explained Richard Feinberg, an expert at the Brookings Institution and a former official in charge of Latin American politics under Bill Clinton administration. “Putin longs to regain past imperial glory and relations with Cuba.”
Raul Castro was received by Putin in 2015 and his possible future successor, the first vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel back in 2016, however , shortly after the election of Donald Trump the pace of the contacts has been frantic.
A week before meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to address the issue of attacks on diplomats, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez was received by his Russian counterpart Serguei Lavrov on September 20th at a meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly from the ONU.
The conversation was “confidential”, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
More questions were triggered regarding a trip to Moscow by Josefina Vidal, the main negotiator with the United States, who met on July 26 with Deputy Foreign Minister Serguei Ryabkov.
Two days earlier, Vidal, who headed the US Department of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), had been named ambassador to Canada, but has not taken the post to date.
The meeting was held when the United States had already expelled two Cuban diplomats a few days before the attacks were publicized to about twenty US diplomats in Havana, in which the participation of a third country has not been ruled out.
According to the MINREX statement, the meeting was aimed to exchange information relating to the United States.