Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is in Cuba for the final stop in a tour of Latin America
While Bush was taking his eye of the global ball it will be up to president-elect Obama to transfix his gaze – Russia and China are making waves in South America all in the name of trade deals. These, of course, have to be taken at face value – but with the Czech government signing the treaty that will allow US missiles on their soil – you have to look far deeper than just a trade deal.
Mr Medvedev and Cuban President Raul Castro are expected to sign deals on nickel mining and and oil exploration.
The Russian leader arrived in Havana from Venezuela, where he and President Hugo Chavez signed a deal on promoting nuclear energy for civilian use.
Military co-operation also featured in Mr Medvedev’s talks with Mr Chavez.
The argument will come back that the US has to start drilling off the coast of Florida so that Cuba cannot take any oil that could be there. This isn’t the case but that is how it will be played out within the US.
Cuba is unlikely to want to antagonise the US with President-elect Barack Obama taking office in January, says the BBC’s Michael Voss in Havana.
Mr Medvedev’s visit was part of a Latin American tour aimed at boosting both Russia’s presence and trade ties in a region traditionally of strategic importance to the US.
Even before Obama takes office the pressure is mounting both domestically and internationally.
With a lame-duck president for at least 7 years Barack Obama is going to have to be the most proactive president ever.
But isn’t that what the American people voted for?