A Russian Navy flotilla is to arrive in Cuba on June 24th, the Cuban Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces announced.
Адмирал Горшков курс на остров Свободы Куба. pic.twitter.com/F4PCcTtywM
— Роман Резанов (@RomanJournaL) June 14, 2019
The naval group is led by the Russian Navy’s brand-new warship the Project 22350 missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov.
“During their stay in our country, the Russian sailors will carry out a program of activities that includes courtesy visits to the chief of the Revolutionary Navy, as well as touring places of historical and cultural interest,” said the official daily Juventud Rebelde.
During the entrance to the port of Havana at 8 and 20 in the morning, 21 salvos will be fired from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov as a salute to the Nation, which will be reciprocated by a battery of artillery of the Revolutionary Armed Forces from the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña
In addition to the Project 22350 missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov, other ships in the group include the first-in-class Project 23120 multi-function logistics ship Elbrus, the medium ocean-going tanker Kama, and the heavy ocean-going tug Nikolay Chiker.
They transited from the Eastern Pacific Ocean into the Caribbean via the Panama Canal on June 17, 2019.
The Northern Fleet’s naval group departed from Severomorsk for its long-distance voyage on February 26. Apart from the Admiral Gorshkov and as of June 17th had covered 26,000 nautical miles.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 12, 2019
In recent months, the US in its regime change efforts against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused Russia, Cuba, China and even Irann and Hezbollah of supporting the “bloody regime.”
Cuba has generally received the blunt of the US undertakings, with loosened US sanctions being tightened again.
On June 4th, US Treasury Department announced the ban of all trips by cruise ships and other recreational vessels to Cuba from the US.
“This administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
U.S. law bars travel to Cuba for tourist activities, but Americans have been allowed to go there under 12 authorized categories, including individual and group “people-to-people” travel — a subcategory of the education provision that permitted visits to the socialist country for cultural and educational purposes.
The expanded definition of these types of tour groups was first established under President Bill Clinton. It was later restricted by President George W. Bush during his first term, then loosened considerably under President Barack Obama in 2011.
Commercial flights continue to be permitted and “travel for university groups, academic research, journalism and professional meetings will continue to be allowed,” according to the wire service.
“Cuba remains communist, and the United States, under the previous administration, made too many concessions to one of our historically most aggressive adversaries,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
Ross added that the administration “is acting to limit commercial activity that provides revenue for the Cuban regime. Holding other countries accountable remains a focus for this Administration and we will remain vigilant.”
This move was a continuation of an April decision by the Trump administration to tighten travel and remittances to Cuba.
“In no uncertain terms, the Obama administration’s policies toward Cuba have enabled the Cuban colonization of Venezuela today,” National Security Advisor John Bolton said. The changes were designed to reverse “the disastrous Obama-era policies, and finally end the glamorization of socialism and communism,” he added.
There is, as of midday on June 24th, no response by the US regarding the movement of the Russian Naval group and Latin America policy has taken the backseat in the Trump Administration’s dealings since the focus is currently shifted on Iran.