The Cuban government on Thursday (July 10) officially announced the arrival Friday of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Havana.
A front-page item in the daily Granma said that “His Excellency Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, will arrive Friday 11 July on an official visit to Cuba. During his stay, the Russian leader will hold official talks with Army Gen. Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministries, and will carry out other activities.”
The two-paragraph announcement was accompanied by a biography of the Russian guest.
The trip had been announced six days earlier, on July 4, by the Kremlin. Cuba’s delayed confirmation may have been caused by concerns that Putin’s visit might have to be postponed until after his trip to Brazil, July 13-16. (For details about Putin’s itinerary, click here.)
The Cuban news agency Prensa Latina expanded on the subject, calling the visit “an example of the fluid high-level exchanges between both countries.” It said that Putin “will place floral offerings before the monuments to the Soviet Internationalist Soldier and the island’s national hero, José Martí.” (For more on the Soviet contribution to Cuba’s defense, click here.)
“According to the agenda for the visit, Putin will be decorated with the Order of José Martí, the nation’s highest, instituted in 1972, which is bestowed on Cuban or foreign citizens and Chiefs of State or Government for great feats in favor of peace and mankind, among others,” Prensa Latina continued.
“Russia and Cuba maintain excellent bilateral relations and traditional ties of friendship and respect exist between both nations and peoples. Both countries have signed a memorandum on the principles of bilateral Strategic Cooperation that was signed during the visit of President Raúl Castro to Moscow in January-February 2009.
“[…] Cuba and Russia maintain broad exchanges in all spheres, work to deepen the ties in the areas of investment, commerce, tourism, health and culture, and work to develop the trade in goods and cooperation in the sphere of energy, including crude-oil prospecting.
“Let us remember that in November 2012, in the framework of the Tenth meeting of the inter-government commission for Economic-Commercial and Scientific-Technical Cooperation, Havana and Moscow signed the Bilateral Economic Agenda for 2012-2020.”
[Photo at top shows President Putin meeting with his Cabinet on Thursday, before his departure for Havana.]