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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/14/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Putin plans to visit Argentina and Brazil in whirlwind South American tour

Cuban President Raul Castro, joined by his ailing brother Fidel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both Putin and his Cuban counterpart signed a slew of agreements expanding cooperation between the two countries. Russia has been the communist island\'s longtime economic benefactor, and many likened the meeting to something out of the Cold War.

Cuba and Russia at one time enjoyed one of the firmest Cold War alliances. That relationship ended abruptly with the collapse of the Soviet bloc at the start of the 1990s.

Cuba and Russia at one time enjoyed one of the firmest Cold War alliances. That relationship ended abruptly with the collapse of the Soviet bloc at the start of the 1990s.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/14/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Vladimir Putin, Fidel Castro, Cuba, South America


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Putin also visited with Fidel Castro at his home outside Havana. State media photographs showed both men standing and smiling, with Putin placing his hand on Castro's arm.

Castro has been sidelined in 2006 by a mystery gastrointestinal illness. Castro still meets with visiting heads of state.

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Cuba was the first stop on Putin's Latin American tour, which will take him to Argentina and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the World Cup final game on Sunday. Russia is set to host the next World Cup in 2018.

Argentina President Cristina Kirchner tweeted a picture of her shaking hands with Putin this past weekend.

"Argentina is Russia´s main strategic partner in Latin America, the United Nations and the G20 Group," Putin said before departing for his Latin American trip.

In an interview conducted in Cuba, Putin said that "Latin American nations that struggled for their independence inspire our deepest respect for their autonomy and their right to self-determination."

"Today, cooperation with the Latin American nations is one of the key orientations and prospects of Russian foreign policy," Putin told journalists with Prensa Latina.

"Multilateralism in world affairs, respect to international law, strengthening of the central role of the U.N. and sustainable development are the principles that bring us together."

Russian officials agreed to forgive 90 percent of the more than $30 billion Cuba still owed Russia last week. The remaining $3.5 billion would be paid back over a space of 10 years and reinvested in Cuba.

"It's a great sign of the generosity of Russia towards Cuba," Raul Castro said in video.

Both Russia and Cuba announced they also would cooperate more closely on energy, security and health matters.

Cuba and Russia at one time enjoyed one of the firmest Cold War alliances. That relationship ended abruptly with the collapse of the Soviet bloc at the start of the 1990s.

The loss of supplies from oil-rich Russia along with the end of favorable trade and aid that once propped up Cuba's ailing economy plunged Cuba into a severe economic crisis.

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