Sun | Jun 17, 2018

Mr Putin in our backyard

Published:Wednesday | July 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The weeklong swing through the Caribbean and Latin America, including Cuba and Nicaragua, by Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has seemingly merited little attention by this region's political and economic pundits. Perhaps they have been distracted by a combination of the football World Cup and deference to the United States because of the tensions between Washington and Moscow over events in the Ukraine.

They are wrong, and it behoves Jamaica to not only pay attention, but begin to fashion a policy that sees in Russia potential for an expanded economic relationship. Indeed, Mr Putin has made it clear that Russia sees this hemisphere as an area in which it wants to expand economic and diplomatic relations.

Russia is an emerging economy rich in oil and gas and other resources. It is the leading member of a new Eurasian Economic Union of former Soviet states. Current tensions with the West notwithstanding, it is a growing economic power. Jamaica may now have disagreements with a single Russian company and the West may be railing against Mr Putin. But these ought not to constrain Kingston's broader self-interest of a deeper partnership with Moscow.

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