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Renewing old ties

Willford Patrick

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not only a man with strong convictions, but he is also a pretty slick business negotiator. The meeting that Putin had with Fidel Castro last week could most certainly turn into not only a very profitable, but a big strategic move for Russia in terms of logistics. Russia has agreed to forgive 90 percent of Cuba`s debt, roughly 32 billion dollars from loans granted through the years. The remaining 3.5 billion will be invested in development projects in Cuba.

Russian investors could also take equity in Cuban state companies as part of the deal. But the real big coup in this deal though, is the possibility of Russian oil companies, Rosneft and Zarubezhneft drilling for oil in Cuban Waters.

That is basically drilling for oil in the United States backyard. Well maybe across the fence. But if this venture turns out to be profitable for those companies, the economic possibilities for Russia could be staggering. Putting Russia right in the center of a major import/export route heavily used between the U.S. and western European countries. Cuba could also benefit from this collaboration. An open trade with Russia could open the door for trade with other big countries. That would be monumental for a Cuban nation that has been cut off from trade with the U.S., because of an economic embargo levied 52 years ago.

Now we all know how politicians can hold grudges, but sometimes you have to know when it may be time to sit down and talk about trying to bury that old hatchet.