The recent involvement of Russia in the Venezuelan crisis should concern the United States.
Increasing sales of military equipment; visits by Russian military aircraft; and Vladimir Putin’s involvement in encouraging Nicolás Maduro to remain in power are indications of a growing Russian power projection in the Western Hemisphere.
If Maduro survives the current crisis and is able to remain in control for a longer period, Russia and Cuba can claim an important victory.
The United States looks weak in Latin America and Cubans and Russians would have consolidated an ally and an enemy of America in the region.
From Russia’s standpoint, a weak petroleum industry unable to export Venezuela’s vast oil resources is a plus for Russia’s economy: Less oil and higher prices in the world market. A well-run Venezuelan oil industry, supported by the United States, will depress world prices and compete with Russia’s oil.
From Cuba’s standpoint, Russia’s support for Maduro and the presence of its military is a welcome development. They may deter any American actions against Venezuela and Cuba. It also weakens our Latin American policy, providing countries like Nicaragua and Bolivia with a source of power and support.
It may also encourage other countries in the region to take inimical policies and actions against the United States, thus relieving American pressure on Cuba.
The possible presence of Russian submarines carrying nuclear weapons in Cuban, Venezuelan or Nicaraguan waters will foster a sense of insecurity among Americans and force us into a confrontational response.
The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis immediately comes to mind. The danger of an escalation, either by design or accident, could bring the world to a new nuclear confrontation.
Cuban Studies Institute,