In the last 24 hours, pro-democracy protests that have been raging in Cuba has Moscow worried, since it may lose the strategic island in which it could potentially deploy aircrafts, ships and air defense systems.
According to the Russian embassy in Havana, these protests are linked to living standards, the Coronavirus-induced Covid-19 epidemic, and complications arising out of these issues.
With the emergence of political slogans and increased arrests by the police, it is beginning to appear that an intervention by foreign forces could be in the cards.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has appealed to the country’s communists, who he says should also take to the streets and oppose “this vandalism”.
The activity of protestors in “Liberty Island” has provoked a few Russian experts to express an opinion that Moscow could lose its position on the island and to stem this development it could deploy its military in Cuba under the guise of arresting social unrest.
Moscow has described the protests in Cuba as “radical vandalism” and sees them as an attempt for regime change.
“It is highly likely that Russia will lose the ability to deploy its air defense/missile defense systems, missiles, fighter jets, and navy in Cuba in the future,” wrote Aviapro.
For Moscow, Cuba’s location is of strategic importance rather than economic benefits. Moscow is counting on Cuban territory to be its “silo” for launching missiles in a possible conflict with the United States.
For both, Moscow and Washington, deterring powerful weapons is a strategic policy.
Russian military experts believe, if Havana permits Moscow to deploy its forces in Cuba, the protests will subside and things will go back to “normal”.
According to Russia’s ambassador to Cuba, the protests mainly stem from low standards of living.
“No, this is not an attempt at a coup. The protests are not against the restrictions, but are mainly related to the explosion of Covid in the country and the indifference of the authorities who allowed this,” said Andrey Guskov on Russia-24 TV channel in response to a question whether the protests were caused by secret restrictions or were an attempt to overthrow the government.