Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 114

"Russia views Cuba as a strategic partner and plans to develop military-technical cooperation with it," First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets said at the end of a six-day visit to Cuba by a large Russian governmental and military delegation. Soskovets said that the talks with Fidel Castro’s government led to an agreement on compensation for continuing Russian use of the Lourdes electronic surveillance station. Russian defense ministry officials on the delegation described the station, which monitors, inter alia, US missile tests and other communications on the US mainland, as "a unique facility of Russia´s national security system."

A trade protocol for 1996 through 1998 envisages a traditional barter exchange of 4.7 million tons of Cuban raw sugar for 9.5 million tons of Russian oil–1 million tons of oil less than originally envisaged.

Agreement was reached on Russian prospecting for oil in Cuba and on turning the Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba oil refineries into joint Cuban-Russian companies, in which the Russian partners will be LukOil and Rosneft. The companies intend to sell the oil products on the Latin American market.

Deputy Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Reshetnikov said that Russia is granting Cuba a $ 30 million credit to maintain the unfinished Juragua nuclear power plant until construction is resumed by an international consortium, which is supposed to be set up by the end of 1995. According to Reshetnikov, the plant will come on stream in three to four years, will employ Russian technical personnel, and will cover 15 percent of Cuba’s annual electricity needs. The proceeds from charges to electricity consumers will supposedly be applied toward reimbursing Cuba’s debt to Russia. (1) That debt, which Cuba has stopped servicing since 1991, is currently estimated at $20 billion, and the notion of using Juragua’s chimerical income for servicing it looks like a fig leaf for a de facto write-off.

Prime Minister is Critical of Government’s Performance.