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Cuba and Russia, "A love relationship"

The Spanish Cuban Association in Transition and the Center for a Free Cuba has compiled evidence of the strengthened Russian-Cuban alliance in the report 'Cuba, Putin's Preferred Ally.'

Miguel Díaz-Canel y Vladimir Putin


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Havana and Moscow entered "a new stage of cooperation." Although the Kremlin has been strengthening its economic ties with Cuba since Vladimir Putin came to power, the invasion of Ukraine two years ago accelerated rapprochement. So much so that, in the title of their latest report on the matter, the Spanish Association of Cuba in Transition and the Center for a Free Cuba stated that Cuba became "Putin's preferred ally."

"Cuba has operated as a constant support for the Kremlin's propaganda, defending Moscow's version internally and internationally," explains the report Cuba, Putin's Preferred Ally. That support can be seen both in the Castro propaganda apparatus, which according to the report claims that "Russia is liberating the Ukrainian people from fascist and Nazi militias." It is also evident in the votes of Cuban emissaries in international organizations, such as the United Nations.

February 28, 2022: Cuba votes against holding an urgent debate on Ukraine in the United Nations Human Rights Council.
March 2, 2022: Cuba and Nicaragua abstain in the vote condemning the Russian invasion, which took place in the United Nations General Assembly.
September 15, 2022: Cuba votes against President Zelensky's intervention by video before the General Assembly.

Cuban support will not be limited to favorable votes and coverage, nor to ostensible displays of military support, such as joint exercises in Venezuela in 2022 or meetings of defense ministers. However, thousands of miles from their homeland, young deceived Cubans are secretly fighting against Ukraine.

Cuban hands, Russian weapons

"We came to do masonry work. They gave us a contract in Russian, which we did not understand." Cuban Frank Darío claims that when he realized what was happening, he was "in a bunker shooting shots."

That testimony from early March, collected in the report, is one of many that have emerged in recent months about the recruitment networks that deceive young Cubans into fighting for the Russians.

Two young Cubans, Andorf Antonio Velázquez García and Alex Rolando Vega Díaz, spoke out about the same thing at the end of last year:

We were told that we would only come to work in construction, such as picking up rubble and building trenches. When we arrived here, they gave us a uniform and a rifle and sent us to Ukraine.

Since then, the report says, "everything is confusion. The exact number of Cuban soldiers present on the battlefield is unknown," he said, although it cites data from The Wall Street Journal that estimates there to be between 400 and 3,000.

The Cuban government denies all responsibility. At the end of last year, it announced that it had dismantled an alleged network of combatant trafficking. However, the report cites sources that question the official version:

According to Chris Simmons, former DEA counterintelligence officer, "historically, the first reaction of the Cuban government when discovered in criminal acts has been to deny it and imprison some individuals to show that they had no knowledge."

Juan Antonio Blanco, a former Cuban intelligence officer who currently lives in the United States, said "It is absolutely impossible to believe that Cuba has no relationship with that mercenary recruitment network."

The collaboration doesn't stop there. The report recalls that a recent investigation led by three newspapers reveals a possible "Russian nexus" in the mysterious cases of the so-called Havana syndrome. According to it, a Russian military intelligence squadron, called GRU Unit 29155, used innovative non-lethal acoustic weapons against American diplomats and their families in different parts of the world. The first case occurred in the Cuban capital in 2016 when several officials reported hearing loud noises and experienced symptoms such as dizziness, migraines and insomnia.

According to the Spanish Cuban Association in Transition, GRU Unit 29155 could not have acted on Cuban soil without the permission (or at least the knowledge) of the local government.

Economical support

According to Cuba, Putin's Preferred Ally, "Since the invasion of Ukraine, Cuba has received at least $322 million in oil, the largest amount received by the island since the collapse of the Soviet Union."

It claims economic cooperation is vital for Cuba to "clean up public accounts," at a time when it is suffering from an economic crisis that has led crowds to the streets, shouting "No bread, no electricity." Not only are basic products, such as food and medicine, in short supply but there are also blackouts in most of the country.

In February of this year, Cuba turned to the United Nations World Food Program for the first time in history, after recognizing it was incapable of distributing subsidized milk to children under seven years of age.

Exclusive interview: Matías Jove

Executive Director of the Spanish Cuban Association in Transition Matías Jove spoke with Voz Media about the close relationship between Havana and Moscow. He calls it, “a love relationship.”

When did it all start? What does Russia gain? And Cuba? What does it mean for the United States? Jove responded in the following interview (content in Spanish):

Read the full report below.

Cuba, preferential ally of ... by Santiago Adolfo Ospital