Russia’s Lavrov Due to Start a Tour of Latin America to Shore Up Axis of Evil

Russia’s minister of foreign affairs, Sergey Lavrov, will travel to Cuba, Venezuela, and Brazil starting Monday — and it bodes nothing but trouble.

The first stop is Communist Cuba. Mr. Lavrov will meet with Cuba’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, and foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, the Kremlin says.

Cuba and Russia “have a special relationship,” a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Elliott Abrams, tells the Sun. Security cooperation between the two intensified following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In 2022, the Cuban government blamed America for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow’s demand for troops in the war has led it to recruit foreign mercenaries, and Cuba has become a target as Cubans look to escape poverty. Mr. Lavrov will have a day to convince Havana to send him additional troops.

Russia’s naval activity in Cuban ports last year and China’s spy base on the island highlight the presence of the “axis of evil” in Latin America. “It’s an unholy alliance” of “narcotrafficking criminals,” a graduate fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Daniel Di Martino, tells the Sun.

On the second day, Mr. Lavrov will alight at Caracas to meet Venezuela’s Marxist president, Nicolás Maduro, and vice president, Delcy Rodríguez. Mr. Maduro also plans to visit Russia this year.

Mr. Lavrov’s trips to Venezuela and Cuba are “like the priest making his rounds in his parish,” Mr. Abrams, who under president Trump, served as special representative to Venezuela, tells the Sun.

America “forgot about Latin America, but Russia and China did not,” says Mr. Di Martino, who was born and raised in Venezuela. “Russia will be the one who benefits from what happens in Venezuela,” he says.

Eight days before Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Venezuela issued two statements on its foreign ministry website, one to reaffirm “unreserved support to Russia in conflict with Ukraine” and the other to strengthen “the path of powerful military cooperation” between Venezuela and Russia.

Read the rest in the NY Sun.

Gabriel Diamond is a research assistant at Yorktown Institute and an undergraduate at Yale University.

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