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"Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other,
can bring America to its knees. The U.S. regime is
very weak, and we are witnessing this weakness from close up."
Fidel Castro, during his tour of Iran, Syria and Libya.. May 2001


Cuba - Foreign Relations

From the beginning. one principal aim of Castro and Guevara was to export the revolution. Caribbean revolutionaries of varied political stripes swarmed to Havana looking for help as soon as Castro took over. Castro, in most cases, decided to use his own people or the many invasions" that he launched against Mexico, Haiti, Honduras and several other countries. Castro did not fail completely in his attempts to export his doctrine. He helped the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and numerous other rebel groups throughout the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere, including those in Colombia. El Salvador, Peru, Uruguay, and the Dominican Republic.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the communist governments of Central and Eastern Europe, Cuba was bereft of international allies. Its trade, investments, military support, and political relations had been disproportionately concentrated and dependent on governments that no longer existed. As 1990 opened, the Soviet Union required that all bilateral trade be conducted at international market prices by whatever private or state enterprises engaged in pertinent activities.

With the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Cuba ended its long-time efforts to export Marxist revolution and adopted a pragmatic foreign policy that is designed to expand Cubas international relations and trade, as well as tourism and investment in Cuba. Between 1989 and 1991, Cuba repatriated its overseas troops from all countries to which they had been deployed. In 1992 it announced that it had stopped providing military support to revolutionary movements seeking to overthrow governments in other countries.

As Cuba has become more a part of the world community since the end of the Cold War, diplomatic concerns have increasingly constrained the Castro regime from engaging in foreign subversive activities and domestic repression. Although the regime lacks the funding to engage in foreign adventurism in any case, it no longer can risk jeopardizing its hard-won diplomatic relations by exporting revolution on even a small scale. Nor can it risk jeopardizing its economically vital tourism industry by repressing Cuban citizens in full view of thousands offoreign tourists.

Within days of the enactment of the Cuban Democracy Act, in November 1992, for the first time ever Cuba gained overwhelming support in the United Nations General Assembly for a resolution condemning United States policies toward Cuba. The enactment of the Helms-Burton Act further tilted the vote in the General Assembly against the United States. In 1992 the vote was fifty-nine in favor of Cuba's resolution; three nations, including the United States, voted against the motion; and seventy-one abstained. In November 1997, 143 countries voted to condemn United States policy, three voted against, and only seventeen abstained. United States policy served Cuba's purposes well.

Cuba is no longer the major diplomatic player in the developing world that it was during the Cold War, when it was able to send troops to support revolutionary movements or regimes. Nevertheless, it still has the largest diplomatic representation of any Latin American country: 177 embassies and three consulates worldwide, and it continues to play an active role in its relations with the developing world, serving as host for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit on September 1116, 2006, and taking over chairmanship of the NAM from Malaysia.

Cuban relations with Russia remained cautious. China, Spain, Canada, and Venezuela were much larger trading partners than Russia. Roughly 40,000 Russian tourists/business people visit Cuba annually, primarily flocking to resorts such as Varadero. He added, however, that the high cost of airfare--despite the direct Cubana flights from Moscow--prevents Cuba from being a top choice for Russian tourists. Russia was heavily involved in projects aimed at providing assistance to Cuba. This included Russian economic assistance provided to the World Food Program in the amount of 1 million dollars, the donation of construction equipment and electric cable, and a plan to increase the number of slots for youth study programs in Russia.

Russia-Cuba economic cooperation had focused on the energy sector. Russia assisted plans to minimize Cuba,s dependence on outside sources of energy by focusing on the areas of petroleum and natural gas, the construction of hydro-power aqua ducts, and assisting with plans to upgrade the antiquated power infrastructure on island. Routine maintenance on the Juragua nuclear power plant was discontinued in 2002 making the facility useless.

On 12 July 2014 Russia's president has begun a six-day tour of Latin American countries. Vladimir Putin's first stop Friday was Cuba where he met with Cuban President Raul Castro. After talks with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, Putin unveiled a deal to write off $32 billion of old Soviet debt. That is 90 percent of the total. He said the other 10 percent would be reinvested in Cuban development projects.

Cubas diplomatic efforts are more focused on deepening links with major trade partners, namely China and Venezuela. Cuba also has sought closer ties with Vietnam and North Korea. As its trade ties with China and Venezuela have increased, Cuba has shown declining interest in wooing the European Union (EU), which, despite being an outspoken critic of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, is divided about cooperating with Cuba because of the islands poor human rights record and lack of democracy. Cuba has continued to cultivate relations with individual EU member countries.

In the Americas, Cuba has used the election of a series of left-leaning presidents in countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, and Venezuela to develop relations with those countries and the region in general. Cuba also has continued to foster close political and commercial ties with Mexico and Canada, both of which have been strong critics of the U.S. economic embargo. However, diplomatic relations between Cuba and Mexico have been strained since 2001 over Cubas human rights record and reached their lowest point in more than a century in April 2004, when Mexico voted against Cuba for the third time at the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Mexico sent a new ambassador to Cuba in September 2005 after seven months without diplomatic representation. Cubas relations with its Caribbean neighbors have improved slowly since 1991, and Fidel Castro has made several state visits throughout the Caribbean region. Relations between Jamaica and Cuba, which have direct air links, are now fairly good.

Cuba accepted a European Union invitation to begin talks on improving ties. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said March 06, 2014 his country is willing to discuss human rights as part of discussions that would end what it considers a one-sided relationship with Europe. EU officials said in February 2014 the bloc would seek to upgrade ties with Cuba to broaden economic cooperation. They cautioned they would demand more progress on respecting rights and civil liberties. Rodriguez sad Cuban diplomats will work with EU officials to determine the details and dates for negotiations. The European Union lifted sanctions on the communist-ruled country in 2008. But its 1996 "common position'' on Cuba places human rights and democracy conditions on improved economic relations. EU foreign ministers say they are seeking better ties with Havana to support Cuba's market-oriented reforms and position European companies for any transition to an open economy.





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