MOSCOW - The presidents of Russia and Cuba on Friday signed documents aimed at rekindling their faded Cold War alliance, pledging to expand cooperation in agriculture, manufacturing, science and tourism but studiously avoiding a public discussion of military ties.
It had been nearly a quarter century since a Cuban leader had set foot on Russian soil, and President Raul Castro's visit to Moscow this week had little of the pomp and propaganda of the Cold War days, when he and his brother, Fidel, were greeted with parades on Red Square.
But a decade and a half after a crumbling Soviet Union hastily withdrew financial and ideological backing from Cuba, Russia is seeking to expand economic ties with the island and possibly forge stronger military relations in an echo, as yet still faint, of an alliance that lasted 30 years.
It is part of a larger Russian push into Latin America to secure new markets and also to swipe at the United States for what Moscow considers Washington's meddling in Russia's historic sphere of influence, particularly in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia.
"Your visit opens a new page in the history of Russian-Cuban relations," President Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with Raul Castro at the Kremlin on Friday.
Neither Medvedev nor Castro spoke publicly about possible military cooperation, perhaps out of a desire to avoid antagonizing the new Obama administration, analysts said. Since Obama's election last November, both Russia and Cuba appear to have called a unilateral truce with Washington.
NEW YORK TIMES