Russia to invest $200m in major new Cuban airport

Russia is in talks with Abu Dhabi investors to build a major new airport in Cuba to serve as a hub for Latin America.

Russian trade and industry minister Denis Manturov (pictured) said discussions had taken place with Abu Dhabi’s investment company Mubadala to invest in the vast project, a UAE newspaper reported.

Manturov said Russia planned to invest at least $200m in the project, which could also include redeveloping a port and building a railway line.

"We are deeply involved in these negotiations," the minister told The National. 

"They have only one international airport and they are planning to use one of the ex-military bases to build a big airport hub for Latin America."

A Mubadala spokesman said: "The company is regularly reviewing a number of different investment opportunities with its Russian partners."

The revelation comes at a dramatic time for both Cuba and Russia.

After Fidel Castro came to power following the Communist revolution in 1959, Cuba has suffered under a United States trade embargo. But relations between the two countries appear to be thawing rapidly, with a second round of meetings to discuss the re-establishing of diplomatic ties scheduled for Friday, 27 February.

Before this, Cuba had already set out to develop its economy by attempting to become the centre of a new Caribbean trading network with the new Mariel deepwater container port, which opened last year.

Russia, meanwhile, with its economy battered by sanctions and the low oil price, has been seeking stronger ties with trading partners in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

See report in The National.

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