Under international scrutiny for his illegal incursions and hostile acts against the Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Havana yesterday, where he was warmly received by Cuban dictators Fidel and Raul Castro.
The first propaganda ploy of the trip was to announce that Russia would forgive 90 percent of Cuba's $32 billion debt to the former Soviet Union.
That's nice, except the Castro regime has never recognized that debt and it was never going to be paid. Thus, Putin has forgiven a whole lot of nothing.
The second propaganda ploy was to announce that Russia would re-invest the remaining 10 percent ($3.5 billion) into development projects in Cuba.
That's nice also, except for the caveat: That Castro's bankrupt regime would have to first pay Russia the $3.5 billion, plus 10% interest. Not going to happen either.
Yet, Reuters writes that "both measures inject much-needed foreign investment into Cuba."
How exactly? Apparently, only Reuters knows.
The third propaganda ploy was to announce that Putin would help Castro revive his defunct offshore oil exploration ambitions.
Just like former Vice-President Dick Cheney warned of the Chinese drilling for oil off Cuba's shores last decade -- and thus advocated for U.S. companies to do the same -- former U.S. Senator Bob Graham and others will pick up a similar mantle warning of the Russians.
And the choir of anti-sanctions lobbyists will follow.
Never mind -- as we correctly predicted then and do so again -- that it remains commercially and logistically unfeasible.
Bottom line: This trip is about propaganda and a sobering reminder that the world's rogue regimes stick together (and do harm together).
In the last couple of years alone, Castro's regime has supported Assad's genocide in Syria; has supported a nuclear Iran; has led the dismantling of democracy in Venezuela; and has illegally smuggled weapons to North Korea.
In the same fashion, it has supported Putin's illegal annexation of the Crimea and stands by the violent actions of his separatist commandos in the Ukraine.
Thus, Putin goes to Havana to propagandize and say thanks.
That's what rogues are and that's what rogues do.
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