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Concern About Russian Influence in Latin America Unjustified

© AP Photo / Desmond Boylan, FileIn this Dec. 18, 2014 file photo, tourists take a ride in a classic American convertible car with the Cuban national flag painted on the trunk, in Havana, Cuba
In this Dec. 18, 2014 file photo, tourists take a ride in a classic American convertible car with the Cuban national flag painted on the trunk, in Havana, Cuba - Sputnik International
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Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart told members of Congress that allegedly growing Russia’s influence in Latin America and Cuba was not supported by actual conditions in the region.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Concerns of increased Russian influence in Latin America and Cuba are not supported by actual conditions in the region, Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart told members of Congress.

“We see no indications that the relationship between Russia and Cuba is changed,” General Stewart told US Congressman Brad Wenstrup when asked Tuesday if Russian involvement with Cuba posed a threat to the United States.

Stewart further noted that Russia’s influence in Latin America “is not new…but it is ongoing,” and exists “to a lesser extent now than certainly…in the past.”

Questioned by Congressman Austin Scott about Russian influence in Latin America, Stewart explained that Russian interests in Latin America are related to obtaining partnerships, military basing rights, for opportunities in the region, “and if for nothing else, to carry votes in the United Nations.”

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Scott expressed concerns related to Russia making “inroads in Latin America,” but added no specific details about the alleged increase in Russian influence.

When asked by Wenstrup if “the rise of Russian involvement in Cuba” poses any type of threat, Steward rejected any concerns, saying that “it is a pretty stable environment at this point.”

In the past two days US media outlets have picked up statements, attributed to Russian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, saying Russia would be engaging in preliminary negotiations with the armed forces of Brazil, Cuba, as well as North Korea and Vietnam.

The Director of the DIA is the highest ranking military intelligence officer and provides analysis to the the top military leadership of the United States.

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