Russia Rattles Sabre over Latin America

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By Marco Echevarria

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev promised “comprehensive support” to Russian allies in Latin America against U.S. “interference” during a meeting with officials from Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, hosted in Managua” yesterday, according to the Miami Herald.

Patrushev, a top Russian security official and ally of President Vladimir Putin, met with Raul Castro in Havana before his visit to Nicaragua, and is also due to visit Bolivia and Venezuela, reports Reuters.

Patrushev traveled with officials from Russian spy agencies like the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service in addition to officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies, according to Russian media, despite the fact that “the presence of intelligence officials in Russian delegations abroad is rarely disclosed by the country’s state media,” notes the Miami Herald.

“Moscow will continue within the framework of existing means to prevent interference in the internal affairs of your countries, campaigns to discredit their legitimate authorities, intimidate their populations and destabilize their economies,” said, according to Russia’s TASS state news agency.

“You are well aware of the aggressive methods of the United States of forcibly breaking down governments that do not suit them, political pressure and economic containment of states demonstrating independence,” Russian Security Council Secretary Patrushev was quoted saying in a report by Russia’s official newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The presence of intelligence officials in Russian delegations abroad is rarely disclosed by the country’s state media. But the newspaper reported that Patrushev traveled with officials from Russian spy agencies like the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service in addition to officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies.

Pictures from Russian media outlets show Cuban Interior Minister Lázaro Alberto Álvarez Casas attended the meeting. At a time when Russia faces increasing isolation over its invasion of Ukraine, Patrushev said Latin America, a region traditionally thought as closer to the United States, is gaining “growing importance” for Russia, the report says.

His trip to Latin America, which included a Monday stop in Cuba, happened just days after Russia’s foreign minister met with Cuban and Venezuelan leaders on his way to attend a G-20 meeting in Brazil. Patrushev said Moscow is ready to provide “full, comprehensive support to our Latin American friends, including preventing interference in the internal affairs of countries friendly to us, discrediting their legitimate authorities, intimidating the population, and destabilizing the economy.”