Putin Headed to Cuba Next Week

Saturday, July 5, 2014
From AFP:

Putin to visit Cuba and other LatAm nations

President Vladimir Putin will next week begin a major Latin America tour that will take him to Cuba, Argentina and Brazil as he seeks to counter Russia's growing international isolation over the Ukraine crisis.

Putin will begin his six-day tour with the July 11 visit to Cuba, where he will meet President Raul Castro and the 87-year-old father of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, the Kremlin said on Friday.

The visit to the Communist-run island will come as tensions remain high between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis. Havana has sided with its old ally Russia in the conflict.

Putin and his Cuban hosts are expected to discuss cooperation in energy, transport, aviation, space and health, the Kremlin said.

Ahead of the visit, Russian parliament voted on Friday to write off 90 percent of Cuba's Soviet-era debt of more than $35 billion and said the rest would be earmarked for investment projects in Cuba.