Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 2, 2013. (Maxim Shemetov/AFP/Getty Images)
Latin America, long considered off-limits for Russian military outposts because of its proximity to Washington, is rapidly becoming the latest region targeted for Moscow’s expanding reach.
As the Kremlin was secretly planning its invasion of Ukraine in late February, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Moscow’s plan to establish a permanent military presence in Latin America, including naval visits to ports in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
Russia is also asking those countries to allow long-range bombers to refuel at their air bases.
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