Medvedev Gets Cozy With Castro
Moscow seeks to extend influence in Latin America
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2008 7:24 AM CST
Cuba's President Raul Castro and Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Jose Marti monument in Havana.   (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)
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(Newser) – Russian president Dmitry Medvedev is in Cuba strengthening ties with the Castro regime and attempting to broaden Russia's influence in Latin America, the BBC reports. Medvedev arrived in Havana yesterday from Venezuela where he and Hugo Chavez signed deals promoting nuclear energy and developing closer military ties. Russia is expected to sign an agreement with Castro to explore Cuban waters for oil.

Medvedev’s Cuba trip is the final leg of a Latin America tour that included stops in Brazil and Peru, and is only the second visit to the country by a Russian president since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. Chinese president Hu Jintao made a similar tour of the region—which is of great strategic importance to the US—several days ago.