COHA: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Embark on a Highly Revealing Latin American Journey Sure to Give Washington Heartburn

19 November, 2008

  • After attending the APEC Summit in Peru, Russian leader to visit Brazil, Venezuela and Cuba
  • Could a new order for Russian military equipment be placed in Caracas?
  • Russia continues to secure a position as a growing ally of rising-star Brazil
  • First visit of a Russian leader to Cuba in 8 years; $355 million loan to be extended to Havana
  • Medvedev will not visit Cold War-era ally Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and snubs Buenos Aires
  • Russia leader’s visit should communicate a message to President-elect Barack Obama: do not forget Latin America, because Russia has not
  • Will the Obama administration back up Bush’s decision to re-constitute Fourth Fleet?

After attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima on November 21-22, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev will embark on a short regional tour, where he will meet the leaders of Brazil, Venezuela and Cuba, for which Moscow is intensely motivated for different reasons.

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COHA: The Dynamic Debut of Raúl Castro

Picking up the broken pieces of storm-battered, but now oil-rich Cuba, and moving ahead, with mixed prospects

  • Island slammed by monstrous storms, but turns down U.S. aid
  • Reforming Cuba during an epoch when scarcity and low living standards no longer are inevitable
  • Good news from the E.U. and Geneva
  • Offshore oil bombshell

Ever since the presidency formally changed hands on the occasion when Fidel Castro informally stepped down from his position as the island’s supreme leader, Cuba has been witnessing the build-up of its agricultural and industrial capabilities, and the country seemed to be on the brink of an economic epiphany. Although economic growth has been severely hampered as a result of the two Caribbean hurricanes that ferociously hit the island last summer, it now appears that the era of ‘Raúlism,’ which has commenced in earnest, will continue to be positive in terms of growth and diversification in spite of nature’s cruel blows and the legacy from the past. Change seems to be in the air, as economic good times could be around the corner. In essence, even U.S. State Department spokesman John Casey, who has not been entirely convinced that a quasi-democratic transition is taking place there, acknowledges that ‘Raúlism’ could lead to ‘greater openness and freedom for the Cuban people.’

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