Havana, Cuba (PanAm) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has made waves of late with his military offensive in Syria, and now he appears to have on-the-ground backing of the Cuban variety. One of the world’s leading centers for research on Cuba this evening released breaking details of the Castro regime’s presence in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation.
The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami shared via email that General Leopoldo Cintra Frías, head of the Cuban Armed Forces, has already landed in Syria. He is, they write, “leading a group of Cuban military personnel … in support of Syria’s dictator Assad” and, in Cold War fashion, the Russian contingent.
The ICCAS researchers are still seeking further verification and do not have a troop count. However, they detail that the Cuban soldiers will man Russian tanks that have been provided to Syrian head-of-state Bashar al-Assad. Their duty will be to fight Islamic State forces and others who threaten Assad’s grip on power.
This development has not necessarily come out of the blue. In recent days, Cuba’s official media have declared support for the Russian venture in Syria. Further, Cuba has a history of backing her communist allies abroad, and even sent troops to Syria way back in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War with Israel.
The ICCAS statement notes that in the 1970s Fidel Castro sent “several hundred thousand troops to Angola and other African countries, while the Soviets provided weapons to support African leaders attempting to gain power in their countries.”
They speculate that this military initiative, if further confirmed, indicates the low priority of US relations to dictator Raúl Castro. He is, they contend, “more interested in supporting his allies, Russia and Syria,” as opposed to “modernizing Cuba and helping the Cuban people rise above their current misery.”
Editor’s note: we will update this story as more details become available.
This report was prepared by PanAm Post.