The U.S. government dictated in early June that American citizens were restricted from traveling Cuba unless their reasons fell into very few categories, and following that, changes happened very quickly. Included in those updates were that cruise lines that left out of U.S. ports were forced to end all visits to the island nation effective immediately (I have to admit that they did a good job. Within a few hours to a few days, they all had everything squared away for their passengers, complete with huge apologies and incentives).
And so, with an empty port, the harbor in Old Havana recently began hosting a different ship…
The Admiral Gorshkov frigate, an advanced warship that debuted in 2018, is now moored where Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian and other cruise ships were docked as late as June 6, 2019.
The frigate was one of a handful Russian ships that went to Cuba; although it’s usually based in the Arctic, it’s been traveling around the world for the past several months, with visits to China and Ecuador.
A statement from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation was given before the ships’ arrival. It said, “…the Russian ships will continue to perform tasks in accordance with the long-range cruise plan and make business calls to the ports of some island states in the region.”
In response to this, the Navy has deployed the USS Jason Dunham to the Florida Straits between Key West and Cuba to monitor the Russian presence, as per an article on the U.S. Naval Institute News site.
I suspect the frigate’s passengers are not planning on going on the Havana Club tour or visiting a cigar factory.
Seriously though, it’s definitely a strong reminder that although most U.S. tourists had gone to Cuba between 2015 and 2019 with the intent of helping the people, learning the culture, etc., beyond the tourism aspect is a whole other political thing going on. It’s both sad and frightening.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary