Sergey Lavrov cements the foundation of a multipolar world order.
The just-concluded visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba took place against the backdrop of "dizzying" world political developments and a "complex" geopolitical scenario. Moscow seeks to "reconfigure" the global power map and deepen ties with countries that oppose the unilateral hegemony of the United States, in this case in Latin America.
Moscow proceeds from a "pragmatic" approach within the concept of a new foreign policy that aims to "strengthen the partnership" of a multipolar world. And the specific novelty lies not in the "related" positions of Havana, Managua and Caracas, which continue to experience multifaceted U.S. violence, but in the chosen path of Brasilia, Mexico City and Buenos Aires, which may have to face the aggressive protectionism of Washington once again in the near future.
It is no coincidence that Brazil has become the first country of the Russian chancellor's current tour. The behavior of South American governments depends on how this Latin American giant will behave. In Brasilia Lavrov held talks with his Brazilian counterpart Mauro Vieira, met with Celso Amorim, foreign policy adviser to the Brazilian president, and was received by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Russian Foreign Ministry explains that during the talks, the foreign ministers "analyzed in detail the progress of joint work to strengthen the Russian-Brazilian strategic partnership" and "exchanged opinions on the status and prospects of bilateral cooperation in the political, material, cultural and humanitarian spheres."
Vieira noted that Russia is the 13th largest trading partner of Brazil. Last year the bilateral trade turnover was the largest in history, reaching $9.8 billion.
Brazil did not join Western countries in imposing sanctions against Russia and refused to supply Ukraine with munitions.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva proposed the creation of a club of countries, including China and Brazil, to mediate peace. "The United States must stop promoting war and start talking about peace," Lula said.
Vieira, for his part, told reporters: Brazil believes that sanctions against Russia will lead to negative consequences for the world economy, especially for developing countries.
"Brazil and Russia have a single vision. We are building a more equitable, just, and law-based world order. We have a vision of a multipolar world," Lavrov said, confirming Russia's support for Brazil's candidacy for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
"As for the process in Ukraine, we are grateful to our Brazilian friends for their excellent understanding of this situation’s genesis. We are grateful (to them) for striving to contribute to finding ways to settle it," Lavrov said.
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry was received by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and had extensive talks with Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Foreign Minister Yvan Gil.
Over the past 20 years, Venezuela and Russia have built a "close" alliance involving political, economic and military interests. During this time, the two countries have signed more than 320 bilateral cooperation agreements. Russia intends to help Venezuela's economy become less and less dependent on "the whims and geopolitical games of the United States," Lavrov said. Moscow supported Maduro during the political crisis; since 1999, the two countries, which are under sanctions from Washington, have strengthened their relations. Late last year, countries signed 11 agreements in health, energy, maritime transport, including oil extraction, agriculture, anti-drug trafficking and space exploration.
Russia and Venezuela have advanced in the development of a system of exchange of financial messages, bypassing SWIFT, as well as are engaged in the implementation of the Russian payment system MIR in the South American country, said Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yvan Gil.
"The U.S. is systematically attacking our economy, trying to strangle us, yet they constantly talk about the possibility of improving the dialogue between our countries. But we haven't seen any easing of sanctions, or any economic improvement," Minister Gil said.
"We will do everything we can to make Venezuela's economy less and less dependent on the whims and geopolitical games of the US or any over actors from the Western camp," Sergey Lavrov promised.
Bolivia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Focused on the Russian-Venezuelan negotiations, observers did not pay attention to the unexpected meetings at the Russian Embassy in Caracas between the Russian Chancellor and the Bolivian Foreign Minister Rogelio Maita Maita and the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonzales.
Sergey Lavrov and Rogelio Maita Maita discussed the role of BRICS in a multipolar world. The parties confirmed the course for comprehensive strengthening of multifaceted Russian-Bolivian ties.
With the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines the Russian Foreign Minister discussed the prospects of bilateral relations as well as key issues of international and regional agenda.
Sergey Lavrov's visit to Nicaragua coincided with Peace Day, which is celebrated on April 19, and with the new sanctions announced by the United States against the country.
The Russian foreign minister held talks with his Nicaraguan counterpart Denis Moncada, Finance Minister Ivan Acosta and Presidential Advisor for Investment, Trade and Cooperation Laureano Ortega Murillo. At the end of his lightning visit to Managua, which lasted only four hours, Sergey Lavrov was received by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, at the Olof Palme Congress Center.
During the talks, it was noted that the trade turnover between the countries reached $160 million in 2022, which is more than double the figure for 2019. Russia and Nicaragua will continue cooperation in health care for the production of vaccines, are ready to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and jointly introduce new technologies in agriculture and medicine.
Both countries share the same positions on key issues, reject diktat and illegitimate sanctions of Western countries led by the United States, and advocate the further promotion of cooperation between Russia and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and their associations.
"Multipolarity is a phenomenon of time, it is an objective process. It is impossible to stop it, although the collective West, united under the umbrella of American so-called exceptionalism, is trying to do so. Together with Nicaragua and our other like-minded people we will counteract it, draw attention to the inadmissibility of such behavior in the modern world," said the Russian Foreign Minister.
In Havana, Sergey Lavrov was received by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Raul Castro. During talks with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Sergey Lavrov discussed not only geostrategic issues, but also quite concrete steps in bilateral relations. As the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry said at a press conference, work on the terms of the restructuring of the Cuban debt has almost been completed. Moreover, work has already begun to reach an agreement on granting the Liberty Island a special loan for an additional supply of wheat from Russia.
Russia is one of Cuba's top 10 trading partners, and both governments describe their ties as "strategic."
"We vigorously condemn the NATO expansion that continues toward Russia's borders, which is the main cause of the current conflict in Europe. We will continue to advocate a diplomatic solution to this crisis in Europe through peaceful means that will ensure the security and sovereignty of all, as well as peace, stability and international security," Bruno Rodriguez, head of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, stated Havana's position at the talks.
"The United States began a crusade against the Russian Federation and its legitimate interests, against Russian culture, Russian traditions. They have chosen the Nazi regime in Kiev as a spearhead to arm it. Let it be clear to everyone that such a course of action is useless," said Sergey Lavrov, recalling decades of U.S. trade and economic blockade against the Island of Liberty.
Answering the question whether Russia will recreate its military base in Cuba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia gave neither a positive, nor a negative answer: "Our military cooperation is successfully developing in accordance with the agreements between our countries, and as far as I understand, forms of such cooperation satisfy both Russia and Cuba," said the head of the Foreign Ministry to Russian and Cuban journalists at a press conference.
"Lavrov uses Latin America trip to attack the U.S. and Ukraine," published the Miami-based newspaper El Nuevo Herald for any Latin American counter revolutionary and anti-national brat. "Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's recent trip to four Latin American countries, including the giant South American Brazil, demonstrated the Russian government's interest in using the region as a geopolitical playing field to provoke the United States and weaken support for Ukraine in a war unleashed by the Kremlin."
The publication predicted "serious difficulties" ahead for Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who dared to accuse the United States of "encouraging" the war in Ukraine, and reminded that "the United States, which supports Ukraine, is one of Brazil's largest trading partners."
In turn, the White House strongly criticized the Brazilian president. John Kirby, spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, ignoring the rules of diplomatic tone, insultingly reproached Brazil for "repeating, like a parrot, the Russian and Chinese propaganda without paying any attention to the facts."
The Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was also attacked and accused of "mismanagement, which has led Venezuela to a political, social and economic crisis that has marked the entire period of Maduro's presidency.
Curiously, Kirby did not hesitate to ask the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Brazil "to find time in their busy schedules" to listen to the Ukrainian version of the war, to call on the Russians "to stop bombing Ukrainian cities, hospitals and schools, to end the war crimes and atrocities and, frankly, to withdraw all Russian troops from Ukraine."
Lavrov's trip coincided with the visit of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who was negotiating with the U.S. presidential administration to lift sanctions against Venezuela. The owner of the Oval Office took advantage of that to try to get Petro to transfer his weapons and military equipment, especially the Soviet-made helicopters. But he was rebuffed, as they say.
"Previous Colombian governments have purchased Russian weapons. My position on these weapons, which are now in the possession of the Colombian state, is that they will not be used for conflict. It will not be sent to Russia or Ukraine," the Colombian president said.
On a regional tour, Sergey Lavrov, according to analysts, the world's most experienced foreign minister, said Washington's position is "an artificial choice: with us or against us. We want Latin America and the Caribbean to be strong, politically cohesive and economically sustainable."