Miguel Diaz-Canel was holding talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow Friday on his first visit abroad as Cuba’s president, coming in the wake of new US sanctions on three Caribbean nations.
The Kremlin said the two leaders were discussing “the state and prospects of the further consolidation of Russian-Cuban strategic partnership in various spheres and discuss opinions on current international and regional problems.”
Days ago, Russian officials signed a $260 million contract to modernize Cuban energy facilities and a metal factory. The two countries also discussed bolstering their military ties.
Putin visited Cuba in 2000 and 2014, seeking to revive faltering ties between the two nations following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the ensuing economic hardship.
From Russia, Diaz-Canel is due to travel to China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos.
US vows new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela
The Cuban president’s visit to Russia came as the Trump administration’s hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton announced new sanctions against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua on Thursday.
Addressing a campaign rally in US city of Miami on Thursday just ahead of the country’s midterm elections next Tuesday, Bolton said the three nations “will feel the full weight of America’s robust sanctions regime.”
According to Fox News, Washington will prohibit Americans from involvement in Venezuela’s gold export trade, while the State Department will be adding more than two-dozen entities to a list which Americans are banned from dealing with.
On Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly condemned persisting US sanctions against Cuba, renewing decades-long calls on Washington to remove the unilateral bans.
The UN has voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that condemns US sanctions on Cuba and demands their removal.
The world body adopted a resolution overwhelmingly approved by 189 nations, calling on Washington to end the embargo that has been in place for over 50 years. Only Israel sided with the US in voting against the unbinding measure.
It was the 27th time that the UN was voting in favor of the decision.