Top Putin ally pledges Russian help in countering U.S. in Latin America – TASS

By Thomson Reuters Feb 27, 2024 | 4:31 PM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a top ally of President Vladimir Putin, pledged on Monday to help Latin American countries counter what he described as U.S. attempts to interfere in their internal affairs.

He made his comments in Nicaragua, led by former Marxist guerrilla Daniel Ortega, after meeting Cuba’s former leader Raul Castro in Havana.

Russia’s TASS state news agency quoted Patrushev as saying that Latin American countries were well aware of attempts by the United States to resort to economic and political pressure against those whose policies did not suit Washington.

“Latin America remains an important zone of peace, a sort of island of stability. It is important for us that more countries in the region strive towards independent policies,” TASS quoted Patrushev as saying in Managua.

“And 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.”

The war in Ukraine has triggered the worst crisis in Russia’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, according to Russian and U.S. diplomats.

After the West slapped what U.S. and European leaders cast as the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a major economy, Russia has turned away from Europe and the United States and boosted ties with countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

On his Latin American tour, Patrushev is also due to visit Bolivia and Venezuela, which like Cuba and Nicaragua are ran by leftist governments that have had frosty relationships with Washington.

Patrushev said developing good ties with Latin American and Caribbean states remained “one of Moscow’s key priorities”.

In Cuba, Patrushev and Castro discussed security cooperation, according to a statement issued by Russia’s Security Council and quoted by Interfax news agency earlier on Tuesday.

“Nikolai Patrushev assured Raul Castro that Moscow remains committed to the spirit of strategic partnership between the two countries,” it said.

Putin has an invitation to visit Cuba.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Ron Popeski and Rosalba O’Brien)