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Russia's Putin Visits Cuba at Start of Latin America Tour

Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin in Cuba
Russian President Vladimir Putin is welcomed by unidentified Cuban officials, right, as he leaves the plane after arriving at the Jose Marti international airport in Havana on Friday. Others are not identified. ALEXEY NIKOLSKY / EPA

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Russian leader Vladimir Putin arrived in former Cold War ally Cuba early Friday at the start of a six-day tour of Latin America. The Russian president was met at Havana’s airport by First Vice-President Dias Canal and is staying at the city’s iconic Hotel Nacional. So far, the visit has been downplayed in the Cuban media except for mentions on state-run websites.

Putin was scheduled to meet former President Fidel Castro and his brother and current President, Raul Castro, both longtime foes of the United States. His visit is expected to focus on commercial agreements and Cuba’s debts. After leaving the island state, which is situated 90 miles from the United States, he will visit Argentina and Brazil for bilateral talks.

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- Mary Murray

Reuters contributed to this report.

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