- Cuba and Venezuela are waiting for their main geopolitical and trade ally with open arms, while Mexico is considering deepening relations.
- Russia has proven that its main goal in Latin America is to keep its allies in power at all costs
- Cooperation has been in the field of energy, mining, transport, medicine, and especially military-technical cooperation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Latin America in the coming days in order to deepen relations with his nation’s allies. Lavrov will visit Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela shortly after his counterpart, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tour of four former republics of the Soviet Union, which became the main arena of competition for influence.
Foreign Minister Lavrov is leaving for Latin America this week to make it clear that Russia is steadily strengthening its position in the margins of its historical adversary. Cuba and Venezuela are waiting for their main geopolitical and trade ally with open arms, while Mexico is considering deepening relations.
Starting from Wednesday, Lavrov will be accepted at the highest level, like a rock star with a gloomy look and who knows his own worth. Russia has proven that its main goal in Latin America is to keep its allies in power at all costs, from which Moscow is squeezing the maximum commercial benefit.
Russian influence is so obvious that it even affected the outcome of the democratic opposition led by Juan Guaido against the so-called Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams admitted in January that Russia was the main factor for why Maduro managed to stay in power. “Our mistake is that we underestimated the intensity of her support,” he admitted.
Stopping the onslaught of the opposition, Russia began to strengthen its position in Venezuela. First of all, Moscow demanded to deal with Guaido, as a result of which an operation was carried out to seize Congress. Millions of dollars were distributed between helpful deputies, and the military, violating all constitutional norms, took the Federal Legislative Palace. As a result, Maduro and his allies, with the Russians at the head, received a “pocket” parliament.
Moscow is pushing these puppet lawmakers to approve oil deals with the state-owned Rosneft after the Chavists decide to privatize part of their oil industry. According to Bloomberg, the Spanish company Repsol is also involved in this large-scale commercial operation.
Russia and Cuba are the only countries to recognize Luis Parra, who illegally became president of the Venezuelan National Assembly. Long-standing allies also supported him indirectly, such as Colombian opposition leader Gustavo Petro, and Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias, who refused to recognize Juan Guaido as the legal chairman of the democratic parliament. In Caracas, Lavrov will meet with Maduro, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza, and Vice President Delcy Rodríguez.
Cooperation has been in the field of energy, mining, transport, medicine, and especially military-technical cooperation. In 2019, several Russian delegations visited Venezuela. Especially mysterious was the last of them. A group of Russian soldiers settled in the Canaima Nature Reserve, despite protests by local Indians who claimed that the Russians had launched UAVs for several days.
Allied relations with Russia are also very important for the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel in the light of threats of new sanctions from the Trump administration. Moscow interacts with Havana in implementing a number of economic programs, starting with the modernization of the railway system, which fell into complete decline under the Castro regime.
In Mexico City, the main item on the agenda will be a meeting with Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard with the goal of “exchanging points of view on pressing international and regional problems.” Members of the Mexican government of Manuel Lopez Obrador include members of the Puebla group, a progressive association created last year to counter the ideological dominance of the right and centrists in the region.