World News and Trends: Russia allied with Cuba again?

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Russia allied with Cuba again?

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According to Jorge Castañeda, Mexico's former foreign minister and now a professor at New York University, "Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's surprising announcement in early August that his country would seek to 're-establish' ties with the Soviet Union's old allies in Havana stirred up excitement in many foreign newsrooms and raised eyebrows in a few foreign ministries around the world" (Newsweek, Aug. 18, 2008).

We wonder why the surprise, since such a development would be in perfect keeping with the Russian Federation's foreign policy moves for the entire year.

The possibility of the Russian military using Cuba as a fueling station for its Bear bombers has been broached. These bombers are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Russia is also increasing its ties to Venezuela, with President Hugo Chavez having already bought between $4 and $6 billion of arms from the Russians, with an apparent deal to purchase $60 billion more in the next six years. We may well ask the question as to why Venezuela needs all those arms. (Source: Newsweek.)