Russian opposition leader (unlikely to ever be elected to the highest office) Alexey Navalny tweets:
Why would Putin write off Cuba’s debt? In July it was said that Russia plans to reopen its Soviet-era spy base on the island. If that’s not bad enough, now that Russo-US ties are deteriorating rapidly, they might find other use for “The Isle of Freedom”, as it was called in the Soviet days.
And yes, Castro operates a nice little Gulag, and Cuban Americans are aghast. But the Castro brothers are ailing and Russia, with or without Putin, is capable of threatening our security to far greater extent than Cuba, and they are grinding an axe. Drawing a wedge between Russia and Cuba is obviously in our interest.
Normalizing relations with Cuba was in the works for a while — it’s one of those things that makes Obamka think he’s historic. But he could had accidentally done something positive for his country, provided that we insist on the Castros breaking up with Putin.