CubaBrief: Diaz-Canel in Moscow meets with Putin and wishes Russia success in their illegal war in Ukraine. Publication reports 5,000 Cubans have been lured to Russia to fight in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin and Miguel Diaz-Canel meet in Moscow, and the Cuban dictatorship’s president wished the Russian Federation success in their war of aggression against Ukraine. Presidential Press & Information Office

The past week has seen two news articles about Russia and Cuba that highlight the close alliance between Havana and Moscow.  The relationship between these two countries starting in 1959 reveals that the strength of their relations has been defined by their respective anti-American agendas. “We wish you success and the Russian Federation in carrying out the special military operation,”  said Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting today in Moscow, reported Sputnik Africa. One day earlier on May 8, 2024 adnAmerica reported that the number of “Cubans conscripted into fighting for Moscow are closer to 5,000.

Havana fully backed Moscow’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but ties had already been strengthened for over two decades. It is worth reviewing some highlights of the Cuban dictatorship’s support for Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine over the past two years. In addition to the visible presence of Cuban soldiers fighting in Ukraine to back Moscow’s illegal war, and the statements made by young Cubans shipped abroad.

  • 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.

Meanwhile, Moscow, like Havana, would like Washinton to subsidize their anti-Western activities, as the Europeans are already doing by removing sanctions, and taking Cuba off the list of state terror sponsors, when what should be done is to add Russia to the list for the terrorism they have visited on Ukraine, and dissidents overseas.

Sputnik Africa May 9th, 2024 

Cuba Wishes Russia Success in Special Military Operation, President Says 

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Cuban leader arrived in the Russian capital, Moscow, to attend celebrations of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany and to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Havana wishes Moscow success in its special military operation, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Thursday during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“We wish you success and the Russian Federation in carrying out the special military operation,” the president said. 

The Russian president, in turn, said that Russia is against United States’ attempts to limit Cuba’s development by implementing sanctions. 

“We are always perceive with rejection and with a sense of support for the Cuban people the attempts, which have continued for many years, on the part of the United States to limit Cuba’s development, to harm it economically with illegal sanctions, illegal restrictions,” Putin said, adding that Russia and the Soviet Union were always on the side of Cuba in its struggle to defend its interests. 

A recent vote in the United Nations to lift the embargo on Cuba shows that the majority of countries is on Havana’s side, Putin added. 

Putin also said that Cuban patriots took part in fight against Nazism, adding that Russia “will always remember this.”

adnAmerica, May 8, 2024

Cuba, Politics

Number of Cubans lured to fighting for Russia in Ukraine close to 5,000, higher than media reports

ADN first broke the story in July 2023 before recent reports surfaced in the international press this year. Sources from the Cuban community tell ADN their connections in Ukraine put the real number of Cubans conscripted into fighting for Russia are closer to 5,000—much higher than the international press has reported

By Gelet Martínez Fragela

May 8, 2024 9:39am

Several news outlets have finally begun acknowledging what ADN reported last year in that young Cubans are being recruited and lured for work in Russia but then forced to risk their lives on the battlefields in Ukraine. Sources from the Cuban community, however, tell ADN that the number of Cubans conscripted into fighting for Moscow are closer to 5,000—not 400 as reported by the international press.

The bait and switch scheme was first revealed by ADN on Sept. 6, 2023 as a result of the dogged research performed by the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, an international human rights organization dedicated to combatting totalitarianism in Cuba and the Western Hemisphere.

ADN’s story was revived two months ago when José de Córdoba of the Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 16 that young Cubans “eager to escape [the] communist island’s poverty” were “joining Russia’s army.”

Daniela Herrera, a young Cuban mother whose son was one of the recruits sent to Ukraine wept during an interview to Córdoba, telling him that, “Cubans are cannon fodder and they will kill them all.”

In its Feb. 16 report, the WSJ quotes Ruslan Spirin, Ukraine’s special representative to Latin America and the Caribbean told the Journal the Ukrainian government officially believes there are 400 Cubans fighting in the Russian army. The Journal then added however, that Maryan Zabloktskyi, a member of Ukrainian parliament who has closely studied the issue puts the number closer to 1,500 and 3,000.

A recent BBC investigation published May 4 also confirmed that young Cubans were being lured into fighting for the Kremlin with the promise of high pay and Russian passports as a means to escape poverty. The BBC acknowledged that the scheme began in September and reported that the young Cubans have been teased with monthly payments of $2,000, a significantly higher than the average Cuban communist monthly salary of $35, but says the number of Cubans fighting for Moscow is in the “hundreds.”

Still, Cuban exile leaders who have closely monitored the situation on the ground in both Cuba and Europe, tell ADN that the numbers being reported by the WSJ and BBC are underestimations.

Dr. Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, Chairman of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, who has spent several months working with Ukrainian parliament officials—and has even been briefed by the government’s cabinet—says he believes the number of Cubans being forced into Russian conscripted service is even higher—and that the recruitment is part of a joint operation between Moscow and Havana.

“These are young Cubans being recruited in a joint covert operation by the Cuban military and the Russian regime,” Dr. Gutierrez told ADN. “This is a joint operation by the Russians and the Castro regime, and our Ukrainian sources put the amount of Cuban troops at 5,000.”

In its original Sept. 6, 2023 story, ADN reported that the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs was trying to cover up the regime’s coordination with the Kremlin, saying young Cubans were facing a “deception” as part of what could be a human trafficking ring. That account was dispelled immediately by Gutierrez who told ADN at the time that the real “deception” was the regime’s cover story “because there is too much evidence—instead they blame a criminal network. We’ll see whom they sacrifice.”

Former Cuban political prisoner Luis Zúñiga also told ADN in September that “it’s worth reminding the [Cuban] regime that they have indeed functioned as mercenaries. The Soviets paid them for every soldier sent to fight in Angola and Ethiopia. Additionally, ‘multinational’ oil companies compensated the Cuban regime with $1,000 dollars per month for each Cuban soldier tasked with guarding the oil facilities in Cabinda, an enclave belonging to Angola.”

Since ADN’s original September 2023 report, Gutierrez has only amplified his work with the Ukrainian government working hand in hand with Zabloktskyi and Ukrainian official Aleksandr Morezkho.

The Cuban pro-democracy leader and acclaimed author of “Cuba: The Doctrine of the Lie,” says that based on his Ukrainian and Cuban sources, “they estimate 5,000 troops” have been forced into service for Russia.

The pro-democracy activist leader adds that some of the research being collected on his end is coming directly from the Cuban soldiers and their families, and that the increase in numbers may be due to the continued conscriptions during the past few months.

“From talking to the people who are there and their families, that number is not wrong. After the visit with Miguel Diaz Canel to Moscow, you’re probably going to see that number double.”

ADN’s sources have also repeatedly warned about a separate treaty between Cuba and Belarus to send Cuban troops to Belarus to aid Moscow in their efforts against Kyiv.

Gutierrez says Cuba’s efforts in sending troops is part of a collective international effort being spearheaded by Moscow to help them in their war efforts against Ukraine.

“The Iranians provided the drones, North Korea provided the missiles, and Cuba is providing troops,” Gutierrez told ADN. “This is what the Cuban regime does—they send young men to die in wars that have nothing to do with Cuba.”

Gutierrez said that while Western Europe has helped Ukraine in its efforts against Putin, it continues to help the Cuban regime with financing, which only results in aiding the Kremlin’s efforts.

“On the one hand they’re sanctioning Putin and on the other they’re giving money to Putin’s subordinate—the Cuban regime. The EU sends no less than $155 million a year in Euros, and  if you add the Club of Paris loans it’s a total of $4 billion,” he told ADN.

According to Ukrainian officials who spoke to the the Wall Street Journal, the Kremlin has also conscripted soldiers from the Central African Republic, Nepal, Serbia and Syria.