Cuban President meets with Russian Communists ahead of state visit to China

Yesterday, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canal met with Gennady Zyuganov, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). The meeting is part of a wider tour on which the Cuban leader seeks to strengthen Cuba’s relationship with a number of countries across the world.

The Cuban President took to Twitter to thank the Russian leader for the “continued solidarity of the KPRF with Cuba and their condemnation of the blockade.” He went on to say that the two will continue to strengthen their historical ties.

Tomorrow, Diaz-Canal is set to unveil a monument to Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz in the square named after the revolutionary leader in Northwestern Moscow. This Friday will mark six years since the legendary revolutionary’s passing.

Diaz-Canal also met with Daniel Medvedev, the former Russian Prime Minister, yesterday and is due to meet with President Vladimir Putin today. The Kremlin stated, “The leaders are expected to discuss the current state and development prospects of the Russian-Cuban strategic partnership in the political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres, as well as to exchange views on key topics on the international agenda.” 

Russia is a key economic ally for Cuba in the 21st century, and its investment is crucial for the Caribbean island’s ongoing survival amid the continued American blockade. Cuba, like the rest of the world, is struggling amid high energy costs, and it relies heavily on Russian oil.

The topic of the ongoing war in Ukraine will likely be high on the agenda.  Cuba has been put in a hard place since the crisis emerged earlier this year given its relationship with Russia. The Cuban Government has consistently called for peace in the region whilst acknowledging the role of the US and NATO expansion across Eastern Europe. Cuba has unusually abstained from a number of UN international votes in relation to the conflict, trying to balance the views of a key ally with the need for peace.

The outcome of the talks with President Putin will be interesting and will likely signify what direction the island nation will seek to take in the coming months and years. The Cuban Government continues to lobby the Biden administration to repeal all aspects of the Blockade. In May of this year, some sanctions were removed, but the country remains on the State Sponsor of Terrorism list and the Blockade impacts all aspects of Cuban society.

The impact of the blockade is central to much of the Cuban Government’s work internationally. The office of the President tweeted, “This is a moment of many complexities for Cuba and for Russia due to the sanctions imposed. Faced with these challenges, it is always good to exchange ideas and look for ways to strengthen economic relations and expand political dialogue.”

Later this week, the Cuban President is set to meet with Xi Jinping. The details of the talks have not yet been announced, but it’s clear that Cuba is working hard to promote its international status. Diaz-Canal has already met with leaders across the Middle East as part of this tour. 

Peter Stoddart, is a member of the YCL’s Glasgow branch

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