Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is currently on an official day-long visit to Cuba, met the country’s retired leader, Fidel Castro. But the more important news is that he announced the waiver of 90 percent of the debt Cuba owes Russia. Moreover, the remaining 10 percent will be allowed to be paid off within the next 10 years.
Putin and Castro, now 87, talked for almost an hour, and the talks were said to be majorly about international affairs and the global economy, including the topic of exploring oil reserves, reported NBC News. Interestingly, though Kremlin had long back announced the meeting between the two leaders, via the official itinerary of the trip, Cuban media did not mention the same. Hence the local media was slightly surprised at the “unannounced” meeting with the erstwhile leader, reported Buenos Aires Herald.
Though Fidel Castro retired from power in June 2006 after 49 years in power, due to a life-threatening intestinal affliction, he is still approached regularly by the country’s government. Political figures frequently seek Castor’s views and opinions on economic and social concerns of the country. Moreover, Fidel Castro often serves the country by welcoming and greeting foreign personalities, policy makers, and heads of state. On this occasion, he met Vladimir Putin, and the country received a stupendous gift of generosity.
The Kremlin Press announced that the Russian Government has officially waived off 90 percent of Cuba’s debt to Moscow. The announcement was carefully synchronized with the timing of the Putin’s arrival in in the Cuban capital Havana. Additionally, the remaining 10 percent will eventually be reinvested in Cuba.
The Soviet Union has always been a strong and key ally of the relatively miniscule country of Cuba. Multiple historic occasions are testament of Cuba’s unwavering support to the then USSR (United States of Soviet Russia). The policy-makers from both the sides had met in late October last year to discuss about the debt that Cuba owed to Russia.
Though the figure is relatively modest at just $35.2 billion, it was always clear that Cuba wouldn’t be able to pay it off without significantly affecting its internal economy and weakening its stand in the international community. The 35.2 billion dollars debt was quite a bone of contention in an otherwise great relation between the two countries over so many decades. Incidentally, the debt is quite old and has remained unpaid since the second half of the 20th Century.
Russia’s strong affiliation with Cuba has traditionally been a deep concern worthy topic for America since Cuba is uncomfortably close to its borders. In fact, America has a 52-year-old economic embargo with Cuba. But Russia would apparently wave the country’s debt.
In the recent past, the Kremlin government has written off debts worth 116 billion dollars to countries such as Afghanistan, Mongolia, North Korea, Syria, and Libya. Should America undertake similar steps to ensure its weaker allies are happy?
[Image Credit | Alex Castro/AFP/Getty Images, Alejandro Ernesto/Pool/Reuters]