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The multi-million dollar credit that was given to Cuba to expand and improve its military industry is just one of Russia's investments in Latin America
A week ago, Russia granted a multi-million dollar loan to Cuba to strengthen its military industry. The Kremlin said that with more bilateral cooperation between the two states, the Cuban regime could develop and expand its long-term defense.
Leer en español: Más inversión en Cuba: Rusia aumenta su presencia económica
Dmitri Shugaev, director of the Federal Technical-Military Cooperation Service, clarified that these 38 million euros (USD $ 43 million) would be used for technological cooperation and the provision of Cuban assistance.
Shugaev also said that Russia has already supplied Cuba with a "considerable" amount of weapons and military equipment, since they have planes, armored vehicles, artillery systems, air defense systems and marine equipment of Russian production.
So, it can be affirmed that the Russian Government has been present for decades in the Latin American region with this type of credits. It has built alliances, cooperation programs and numerous credits of millions of dollars that have been granted mostly to countries such as Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Argentina.
In addition to the historical credits that the Russian Federation has given to Cuba in terms of the military sector, which have been taking place since the Soviet Union, there have also been oil interests. Under the mandate of Dmitri Medvedev, Russian companies were allowed to drill for offshore oil in Cuban waters.
In 2016, Russia and Cuba had signed another agreement for technical cooperation in defense.
These agreements signed between Russia and the Latin American countries have been in the area of various programs such as agriculture, mining, and fishing, but have highlighted more those that have been in relation to oil and technical-military.
Russia and Venezuela
For several years, Russia has been in the spotlight of the situation in Venezuela, granting several credits and reaching various agreements in different sectors, specifically oil, military and, on a couple of occasions, has given financial lifeguards.
According to Telesur TV, since the arrival of Hugo Chávez to the presidency, the governments of these two countries have signed more than 260 cooperation agreements in areas such as medicine, tourism, agriculture, mining, and oil. Starting from his arrival to the Government, Chávez signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Russia, where he supplied him with weapons, airplanes, helicopters, defense systems, among others, in 2001. In addition, since 2013, a center for the service of Russian helicopters operates in Venezuela.
In addition, according to El Espectador, Russia granted credit for $2,200 million dollars for weapons to the Venezuelan Government. This considerable firm was destined to purchase 92 T-72 tanks and an S-300 missile system. They also affirmed that both countries signed approximately 12 armament contracts, equivalent to 4,400 million dollars from 2007 to 2009.
A report from Chatham House, a British center of international issues, said a couple of months ago that more than 80% of the shipments of war material from Moscow to Latin America made between 2000 and 2016, went to the country governed today by Nicolás Maduro.
However, oil has also been a central issue on the bilateral cooperation agenda of these two States. According to Reuters estimates, the Russian government and Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil giant, has delivered at least $ 17 billion in loans and lines of credit to Caracas since 2006.
The New York Times also said that in the last 5 years, Russia has provided $10 billion in financial assistance to Caracas and, last year, Rosneft acquired a nearly 50% stake in Citgo, the subsidiary of Venezuela's state oil company in the US, which guaranteed a loan of $ 1,400 million for PDVSA.
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Vladimir Putin has also clarified, after having met with the Bolivian President a few years ago, that they would be expanding technical military cooperation with Bolivia. According to HispanTV, the Russian leader highlighted that the countries have had good inter-state relations and that Bolivia is one of the most important Russian partners in Latin America.
On the other hand, Reuters has stated that relations between Moscow and Buenos Aires in the military sector have been gaining strength since the early 2000s, and the bases for military cooperation were laid in 2004 between Putin and Néstor Kirchner, which ended with the signing of a Military Cooperation Agreement.
In 2010, the first Russian military technology operation, the government acquired only two units of a Mi-8 helicopter for a cost of 22 million euros, which were financed by a Russian bank.
LatinAmerican Post | Valentina Moya
Translated from "Más inversión en Cuba: Rusia aumenta su presencia económica"