Russia is once again playing the Cuban card. An island in the Caribbean sea, which for several decades haunted the American security services, despite the rapprochement with Washington and the termination of the trade embargo, supported by Barack Obama, keeps ties with Moscow. At this time, relations between Havana and Moscow are built on oil. In recent years Cuba has survived in terms of energy thanks to agreements with Venezuela, which supplied the island oil at very low prices and sometimes do not even demanding for her to pay. Such was the geopolitical logic of Venezuela’s Chavez: it helped its American allies, to be treated as the leader, able to lead South America under the sign of bolivarism.
With the coming to power Maduro and the beginning of political and economic crisis in Venezuela, Cuba had to accept the fact that Caracas is unable to continue to comply with its agreements in the oil sector. Riots, financial and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has influenced its international trade opportunities, leaving an energy vacuum that is difficult to fill.
However, in this matter comes to the aid of Russia. In early may, the Russian oil company Rosneft announced an agreement with the Cuban state-owned energy company Cubametals on the supply of 250 thousand tons of oil (both raw and purified product). This agreement provides for delivery to Cuba about two million barrels of oil per year. Even in these days from Russia to Cuba should be delivered the first load of oil — about 250 thousand barrels.
As reported by Reuters, Cuba will never be able to pay with Russian suppliers for this oil. According to some estimates, the market value will be about $ 105 million. This is the amount that at the moment the Cuban government can’t pay under any circumstances. But the problem is different, if you recall that the agreement on the supply of oil is considerable political conditions. Russia is not interested in Cuban money she needs to support the Union, which in the period when diplomatic relations with the United States is heating up, might be the means of smoothing some of the sharp corners in the relations with Washington.
Moscow in those years, never, even after decades after the collapse of communism and after the expiration of imposed US embargo did not forget about the destructive potential of the Alliance with Cuba. In 2014, Russian defense Minister Sergei Shoigu argued that Russia is considering reopening the old military bases on the territory of America, especially in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.
The events in Ukraine and the middle East, of course, led to the political choice of the Kremlin, who had to switch attention to a more hot and more important for the Russian security point, that is, Kiev and Damascus. However, the Kremlin has never fully abandoned the idea of resuming its presence on the American continent. This idea began to gain momentum last year, the Russian defense Ministry again started talking about the possibility of re-opening some military bases, especially in Vietnam and in the Caribbean in response to the encirclement of Russia by NATO forces.
Now, when the Russian got involved in the agreement on oil supplies to Cuba, it is impossible to underestimate the probability that they focus their attention also to Central and South America. From a strategic point of view, the presence of re-current radar center in Lourdes, Cuba will allow the Russian army to occupy definitely the best position to achieve a military balance on the American continent. The crisis in Venezuela and the loss of a friendly state, which could potentially become a hegemon of South America, to Moscow is of great importance in order to regain control over the territory. Or at least to preserve it in sight.