Russian leader Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia is ready to provide the “most advanced types of weapons” to its allied nations, including the socialist regimes in Latin America, in a move to expand Russia’s arms trade with its allies.
“Russia sincerely cherises the historical strong, friendly, truly trusting ties with the states of Latin America, Asia, and Africa and is ready to offer its partners and allies the most modern types of weapons. From small arms to armored vehicles and artillery, combat aircrafts and unmanned aerial vehicles,” Putin said in remarks given at the opening of the Army-2022 International Military and Technical Forum held outside the city of Moscow.
While not directly naming a specific nation in his speech, Putin has continuously provided his ideological allies in Latin America — Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua — with both firearms and military “cooperation,” strengthening the power of these authoritarian regimes and ensuring an ever-growing military influence of Russia in the region.
Russia announced in January that it would strengthen the cooperation with these three rogue nations “in all areas,” including military.
In the case of Venezuela, Russia has been providing weapons to the nation’s socialist regime since the times of Hugo Chávez that the Maduro regime has used against its own people. Venezuela has become the biggest purchaser of Russian arms in the region, buying firearms, combat airplanes, and missiles.
Russia and Venezuela had engaged in talks to open a manufacturing plant of Kalashnikov rifles in Venezuela by 2022, but their plans have been so far delayed by both the Chinese coronavirus pandemic and American sanctions imposed on the Maduro regime.
Reports of Russia installing military bases in Venezuela have been a recurrent matter in the country. While the Maduro regime has denied the possibility of the establishment of a Russian base in Venezuela, a former intelligence member of the Maduro regime revealed that at least two Russian military bases already exist in Venezuela.
The Russian military presence in Venezuela has grown over time, which has caused concerns in neighboring countries like Colombia. In February, and shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Yury Borisov, deputy chairman of the Russian government, visited Venezuela to hold meetings with the socialist regime and to ratify the military cooperation between both countries.
Both Russia and Cuba expressed their intention to “deepen” their military cooperation in January following a telephone conversation between Cuba’s puppet president Miguel Díaz-Canel and Vladimir Putin. Díaz-Canel had officially visited Russia in 2019 with the intention of expanding the ties between both regimes.
🇷🇺🇺📞 Los líderes de Rusia y Cuba discutieron por teléfono la coordinación ulterior entre los dos países en la palestra internacional en el marco de la asociación estratégica.
— Cancillería Rusia 🇷🇺 (@mae_rusia) January 24, 2022
In 2018, Putin reportedly granted a $50 million loan to the Castro regime to buy Russian weaponry. Much like the case in Venezuela, talks about a prospective Russian military base in Cuba have been a recurrent subject that Russia neither confirmed nor denied as recently as January.
The January reports of a possible Russian base in Cuba caused discomfort among the island’s population.
“As a Cuban, I don’t want it to happen, there are other powerful people who do… who don’t give a damn what happens. But hey, my opinion is [this],” said an unnamed Cuban fisherman to Euronews in January.
In the case of Nicaragua, the Central American nation passed a decree in June that authorized the entry of an indeterminate number of Russian troops, ships, and warplanes in the country, who will stay in the country’s territory from July 01 until December 31 with the intention to conduct “humanitarian aid, rescue and search missions in emergencies,” and “law enforcement against illicit activities.”
Socialist dictator Daniel Ortega labeled Russia’s military deployment in the country as “humanitarian assistance.” The agreement also allows 80 Russian soldiers to participate with the elite corps of the Nicaraguan Army.
Amidst concerns of Russia’s new military presence in Nicaragua, Russia’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the concerns while insisting that the deployment is just a “routine” and not an effort of the Ortega regime to open its doors to Russian military presence in the country.
Nicaragua has so far denied the prospect of installing Russian bases in their country.
Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.