CubaBrief: Castro regime’s Diaz-Canel is in Moscow with Putin, ratifying Havana’s support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while a Congressional delegation visits Cuba.

Miguel Díaz-Canel and Vladimir Putin attend the unveiling of a monument to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in Moscow.

While a congressional delegation from the United States was in Cuba investigating the impact of American agriculture and agricultural trade on communist Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel was in Moscow with Vladimir Putin on November 22, 2022 unveiling a statue of Fidel Castro and ratifying Havana’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. Congressional delegation in Havana while Diaz-Canel backs his ally Putin in Moscow.

Jay Nordlinger writing in National Review found,

“Authoritarian regimes are very good at allying with one another. Democracies tend to be less good, I think. As there was a Communist International, there is an Authoritarian International. In Moscow, Putin and Díaz-Canel exchanged tender expressions of solidarity.”

Havana’s support for Putin’s criminal invasion of Ukraine goes beyond symbolism.

  • On October 12, 2022 at the UN General Assembly Cuba was one of the 35 countries that abstained, and its ally Nicaragua was one of the 5 that voted against a resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s annexation of four Eastern Ukraine regions. .

  • On September 16, 2022 Cuba was one of seven countries voting “no” at the UN General Assembly together with Belarus, Eritrea, Nicaragua, North Korea, Syria, and Russia. This “no” vote was to silence Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky from delivering a pre-recorded address at the UN General Assembly.

  • On September 15, 2022 “Russian top propagandist Vladimir Solovyov urged for the establishment of an international coalition with countries” that included Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Syria, Serbia, and Venezuela for its war against Ukraine.

  • On April 7, 2022 Cuba, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Vietnam, were among those who voted against suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council ( 93 voted to suspend, 24 against, and 58 abstentions.)

  • On March 2, 2022 Cuba and Nicaragua abstained from the vote condemning the Russian invasion at the United Nations General Assembly. ( 141 votes to condemn the invasion, 5 against and 35 abstentions).

  • Euronews reported on February 24, 2022 that “only Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Syria supported the Russian recognition of independence for the occupied regions in Luhansk and Donetsk.”

  • The Cuban government is spreading Russian propaganda both domestically and internationally defending Putin’s invasion, and repeating Moscow’s talking points.

  • Cubans dissenting from this official line on the island have been arrested.

  • Cuba has taken part in Russia’s International Military Exercises that in 2022 were held in Venezuela and Iran.

On November 23, 2022 the European Parliament declared Russia a state sponsor of terror, and recommended additional sanctions against Moscow. The United States recognizes Cuba to be a state sponsor of terror, and based on both nations outlaw behavior it is not a shock that they are allies.

Europe is providing resources and weapons to the Castro dictatorship which are used to perpetuate the regime, and repress the Cuban people. The United States in an effort to normalize the dictatorship downplayed the October 28, 2022 massacre of Cuban refugees calling it an “accident.”

Appeasing dictators, and looking the other way at their aggressions and acts of state terrorism, has set Europe ablaze with a major war in Ukraine, but yet the world’s democracies continue to placate outlaw regimes.

Nordlinger is right, “solidarity should not be left to the authoritarians. The democrats should meet them, step by step, and ultimately prevail against them.” However, when it comes to Cuba the actions of both Europe and the United States leave a lot to be desired.

Europe and the U.S. need to remember that Cuba and Russia were not pushed together by the West, but came together out of their mutual hostility for democracy and the rule of law.

European Parliament, November 23, 2022

European Parliament declares Russia to be a state sponsor of terrorism

MEPs say Russian forces are terrorising Ukrainian civilians @ UKRAINE_YASUYOSHI-CHIBA_AFP

  • Russia is committing war crimes and uses “means of terrorism”

  • MEPs call for the further international isolation of Russia

  • Close and ban Russian state-affiliated institutions in the EU spreading propaganda

  • The ninth EU sanctions package against Moscow must be completed

Following the atrocities carried out by Vladimir Putin’s regime against Ukrainian civilians, MEPs have recognised Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

On Wednesday, Parliament adopted a resolution on the latest developments in Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. MEPs highlight that the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes. In light of this, they recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that “uses means of terrorism”.

EU legal framework needed

As the EU currently cannot officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism, Parliament calls on the EU and its member states to put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list. This would trigger a number of significant restrictive measures against Moscow and have profound restrictive implications for EU relations with Russia.

In the meantime, MEPs call on the Council to include the Russian paramilitary organisation ‘the Wagner Group’, the 141st Special Motorized Regiment, also known as the “Kadyrovites”, and other Russian-funded armed groups, militias and proxies, on the EU’s terrorist list.

Isolate Russia more, complete work on ninth EU sanctions package

Parliament calls on the European Union to further isolate Russia internationally, including when it comes to Russia’s membership of international organisations and bodies such as the United Nations Security Council. MEPs also want diplomatic ties with Russia to be reduced, EU contacts with official Russian representatives to be kept to the absolute minimum and Russian state-affiliated institutions in the EU spreading propaganda around the world to be closed and banned.

Against the backdrop of the Kremlin’s escalating acts of terror against Ukrainian civilians, the resolution further calls on EU member states in the Council to swiftly complete its work on a ninth sanctions package against Moscow. MEPs also want EU countries to actively prevent, investigate and prosecute any circumvention of current sanctions and, together with the European Commission, consider possible measures against countries trying to help Russia circumvent restrictive measures already put in place.

The resolution was adopted by 494 votes in favour, 58 against with 44 abstentions.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221118IPR55707/european-parliament-declares-russia-to-be-a-state-sponsor-of-terrorism

National Review, November 22, 2022

The Corner

World

Solidarity

Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel and Russia’s Vladimir Putin attend the unveiling of a monument to the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in Moscow, November 22, 2022.(Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Kremlin )

By Jay Nordlinger

November 22, 2022 3:15 PM

As you can see, above, Vladimir Putin has unveiled a statue of Fidel Castro in Moscow. He did so in a ceremony with Miguel Díaz-Canel, the current boss in Cuba. From the Associated Press, the headline reads, “Russia, Cuba leaders meet in Moscow, honor rebel icon Castro.” (Article here.) “Rebel icon”? Yes, that’s true, to a degree. It’s also true to say that Fidel Castro was a dictator, a tyrant, persecuting Cubans for 50 years.

The friendship between the Kremlin and the Cuban regime is natural. It was natural in Soviet days, and it is natural in Putin days. In 2014, I wrote a three-part series called “Fraternal Relations.” It examined Havana’s relations with North Korea, Russia, and China. To read the Russian part, go here.

Díaz-Canel “is set to travel on to Turkey and China,” according to the AP. That makes sense.

Authoritarian regimes are very good at allying with one another. Democracies tend to be less good, I think. As there was a Communist International, there is an Authoritarian International. In Moscow, Putin and Díaz-Canel exchanged tender expressions of solidarity.

In a piece last month about Nicaragua and its political prisoners, I wrote,

This regime has many allies, birds of a feather — chiefly Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia. In June, Ortega invited Russian troops to train in Nicaragua. There are eight countries that, in 2014, recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea. One is Nicaragua. The others are Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, and North Korea.

In 2018, Erdogan, the Turkish boss, staged an inauguration, after staging an election. The list of attendees, I wrote,

was instructive, and predictable: Medvedev of Russia (standing in for Putin). Orbán of Hungary. Maduro of Venezuela.

Maduro pronounced Erdogan a “leader of the new multi-polar world” — which is accurate.

The year before, Orbán had said, “We all sense — it’s in the air — that the world is in the process of a substantial realignment.” He was meeting with Putin — who hailed Hungary as an “important and reliable partner for Russia in Europe.”

Hungary and Turkey present ticklish cases. The second is a member of NATO. (I wrote at length about this issue in 2019, here.) The first is a member of both NATO and the European Union. An AP report last Friday was headed, “Hungary will not support EU aid plan to Ukraine, Orban says.” Earlier this week, the Hungarian foreign minister traveled to Russia, to participate in an expo. A year ago, the Kremlin bestowed on him its Order of Friendship.

You know who needs friendship? Russia’s political prisoners. And Cuba’s. And Ukrainians, as a people. And people all over. Freedom, democracy, and human rights need friendship. The new statue in Moscow says a lot. There are Putin fans and Castro fans. The former tend to be rightists and the latter tend to be leftists. They are cut from the same general cloth, regardless.

Solidarity should not be left to the authoritarians. The democrats should meet them, step by step, and ultimately prevail against them.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/solidarity/

EL PAÍS, November 22, 2022

Russian offensive in Ukraine

Cuba’s president praises Putin, blames US for invasion of Ukraine

In a visit to Moscow, Miguel Díaz-Canel showed his support for Russia’s leader, in exchange for the postponement of debt payments

Javier G. Cuesta

Moscow – Nov 22, 2022

Cuba and Russia are united by sanctions and historic confrontations with the United States. On Tuesday, the leaders of the two countries – Miguel Díaz-Canel and Vladimir Putin – met in Moscow to strengthen their bond.

While Cuba’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly has abstained on resolutions to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Díaz-Canel – the president of Cuba and the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba – has been far less tepid in his support of the Kremlin. On Tuesday, he praised the illegal annexation of several Ukrainian provinces by Russia, while accusing the United States of having provoked the war by expanding NATO membership.

Beyond solidarity, there is a clear economic incentive behind this embrace of Putin. Just before the invasion of Ukraine began, the Kremlin postponed Cuban debt payments until 2027. Russia has loaned Cuba – a country long-plagued by economic crisis – $2.3 billion since 2006.

“We denounce the sanctions against Russia and the sources of the current conflict… make no mistake, Russia is not responsible,” the Cuban president said at the beginning of his meeting with Putin. He went on to accuse Washington of expanding NATO “in an unacceptable manner” towards the Russian border, while praising “the vigorous historical analysis” that Putin has used to justify his armed offensive and the annexation of sovereign Ukrainian territory. Kremlin policy has generally recognized Ukraine as being part of the greater Russian territory, even after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“The world has to wake up: who sets the rules? Who creates the rules that they themselves violated?” Díaz-Canel asked rhetorically at the ceremony in Moscow, which saw the unveiling of a monument honoring the late-Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro.

“For us, this visit has deep significance. We’re doing it at a time when both nations [Cuba and Russia] are subject to unjust sanctions that come from the same enemy: the Yankee empire that has manipulated an important part of the world,” railed the Cuban president, before underlining his “commitment to the Russian Federation.”

Before holding their meeting, Díaz-Canel and Putin inaugurated a monument to Fidel Castro in the Moscow neighborhood of Sókol. It wasn’t a long ceremony: the homage to the man who ruled Cuba with an iron fist for nearly half-a-century was cut short, as freezing rain covered the Russian capital with ice.

“Together, we will further strengthen our alliance and defend the great values of freedom, equality and justice,” Putin said during the ceremony, as a group of Russian soldiers in formal dress laid bouquets of flowers next to the statue.

While the Caribbean island is a close ally of Russia, it’s in a difficult geopolitical situation. Before the invasion, the Cuban government maintained good relations with Ukraine. The “anti-imperialist” rhetoric of the Communist Party of Cuba is incoherent with the unprovoked annexation of Ukrainian land.

Havana’s erratic position has been on full display in the UN General Assembly. On March 2, Cuba abstained from voting on the resolution that demanded that Moscow immediately cease hostilities. The delegation also remained on the sidelines in October, when the UN condemned the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territories. Cuba’s UN ambassador, while accusing the West of “supreme hypocrisy,” has avoided addressing the violence against Ukrainians: “It is our responsibility to reduce tensions, not raise them.”

On other votes, Cuba’s UN delegation has been more unequivocally pro-Russia. In April, they voted against suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council. And, in mid-November, the delegation rejected another resolution, which urged Moscow to pay war reparations to Kyiv.

The deferment of debt repayments to Russia that Díaz-Canel managed to secure just before the invasion began has been essential. The state-led Cuban economy is in ruins; more than 200,000 Cubans have fled the island in 2022, desperate to make a living elsewhere.

Cuba defaulted on its Russia debt in 2020 and asked for more time. Now, under tougher sanctions, the Kremlin needs revenue more than ever, but Cuba still can’t pay up.

“I would like to say that Cuba is ready to fulfill its financial obligations… as soon as the economic situation eases a bit,” Díaz-Canel said this Tuesday, when he addressed members of the State Duma, the Russian parliament. With the political support that he is offering Putin, it appears that he will safely be able to continue postponing repayment.

The Cuban president’s international tour will continue with a state trip to China from November 24 to 26, during which he will meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, another major creditor of the Cuban government.

https://english.elpais.com/international/2022-11-23/cubas-president-praises-putin-blames-us-for-invasion-of-ukraine.html


President of Russia, November 22, 2022

Monument to Fidel Castro unveiled in Moscow

Vladimir Putin and President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez took part in the unveiling ceremony for the monument to Fidel Castro in Moscow.

November 22, 2022

The monument by sculptor Alexei Chebanenko and architect Andrei Bely features the bronze figure of the Cuban politician installed on a granite pedestal.

* * *

Speeches at the unveiling ceremony for a monument to Fidel Castro

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, Cuban guests, Muscovites, friends,

We have gathered here, on a square named after Fidel Castro, to unveil a monument to this outstanding statesman and political figure, the founder of the modern Cuban state.

Fidel Castro dedicated his life to the selfless struggle to advance the ideas of goodness, peace and justice, for the freedom of oppressed peoples, for a decent life for ordinary people and social equality.

He is rightfully considered one of the most colourful and charismatic leaders of the turbulent and dramatic 20th century, a truly legendary person and a symbol of an era of national liberation movements, the collapse of the colonial system and the creation of new independent states in Latin America and Africa.

Fidel and his associates have selflessly defended the sovereignty of their native country; they did not allow it to be broken by the intervention of mercenaries, sanctions, financial or economic embargo, or attempts at external isolation; they upheld Cuba’s right to its own development model in accordance with national rather than externally imposed values; and made sure that the world takes into account Cuba’s opinion and respects its interests.

For many generations of our fellow citizens, the image of the Comandante has always been shrouded in romantic glory, courage and victories. The lyrics of the well-known Soviet song Cuba, My Love! reflected our sincere and enthusiastic feelings not only for the Island of Freedom and the entire Cuban people, but also directly for Fidel, whose strength, energy and unbending will attracted and still attract people like a magnet.

Friends, I was lucky enough to meet with Fidel Castro on several occasions, and I still remember many hours of conversations with him, especially our last conversation in July 2014.

He talked about the things that were surprisingly consonant with the time –- the time of the development of a multipolar world – saying that independence and dignity cannot be put up for sale and that every nation is entitled to develop as it sees fit and to choose its own path, and that a truly fair world has no place for dictatorship, plunder or neo-colonialism. His encyclopaedic knowledge, deep understanding of the underlying causes of events, sharpness of mind, and accuracy of assessments were striking.

Fidel was a true friend of our country and often came to see us. In 1963, he travelled around almost the entire Soviet Union. He was always a welcome guest in Moscow and loved it very much. As Fidel said, he was willing to come to Russia any time, summer or winter, with or without snow.

Our country has always supported the freedom-loving Cuban people and the leadership of the Republic. And we know it is a mutual feeling. Cuba has been, is and, I am sure, will always be our consistent strategic partner and ally in international affairs.

Friends,

The Russian-Cuban friendship that was bequeathed to us by Fidel Castro is the common legacy of our peoples. Mr President, you represent the new generation of Cuban leaders and you are making an enormous contribution to promoting friendly and trust-based relations between our countries.

We will join efforts in order to strengthen our alliance and to defend the great values of freedom, equality and justice.

Thank you for the attention.

President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez (retranslated): Dear Comrade Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, my dear Russian friends,

It is a great honour for me to take part in unveiling the monument to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.

First, I would like to thank President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for his participation in this commemorative event. He had the honour of being personally acquainted with Fidel and of having hours-long conversations with him during his visits to Cuba in December 2000 and in July 2014.

I am also grateful to the members of the Russian Military-Historical Society, the Moscow City Duma and particularly, to sculptor Alexei Chebanenko for this noble initiative.

My dear friends,

The personality of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief was very closely linked to the friendship between our peoples and governments that was tempered over 60 years. Fidel understood very well the underlying nature of the fraternal relations between our countries. He always had warm relations with Soviet and Russian leaders. He knew personally and admired Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova, the great Russian cosmonauts. He always admired the tremendous spirit of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War, the heroism and ability for self-sacrifice in saving humanity from fascism.

Fidel first came to the Soviet Union in 1963. In over 40 years, he visited the most important cities, including Leningrad – a city that he deeply respected for its resistance to the epic 900-day siege by the Nazi army.

This historical visit enhanced the love of your fraternal country by our historical leader and the budding friendship between our peoples that has existed up to this day.

In subsequent years, Fidel travelled to the USSR many times. He last visited in November 1987 to attend the 70th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

Till the end of his life, Fidel followed with special interest everything that was happening in this great country. He paid special attention to every event and piece of news linked with Russia and attached special importance to its role in world politics.

In this context, we can say that this monument also recognises the friendship between Russia and Cuba, which has a very firm foundation.

My dear friends, comrades,

I would like to recall with deep gratitude the words written by President Vladimir Putin on behalf of the Russian people when Fidel died six years ago.

I quote, “Fidel Castro was a true friend of Russia, in whom we could believe. He made a tremendous contribution to the establishment and development of Russian-Cuban relations and their close strategic cooperation in all areas.”

Today, we can confirm that the new generations of Cubans that hold public and government positions in the country are committed to continuing our friendship and solidarity with the Russian Federation.

Speaking on behalf of the Cuban people and government, I can speak of our commitment to the behest of Raul and Fidel as regards the friendship they were building for so many years with the USSR and later the Russian Federation. The connections between Russia and Cuba are indestructible. Fidel laid the foundation for these relations and developed them further. Our task is to preserve and continue them. Russia knows that it can continue to rely on Cuba.

Eternal glory to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz!

Thank you very much.

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69914