Meanwhile China was doling out the cash as well on Thursday - Wu Bangguo, head of the Chinese parliament, used his visit to Havana to announce a package of Chinese loans and grants to the island totaling more than $600 million. Of that amount, $260 million are in the forms of loans for Cuba to buy grain from China, while $300 million more will go towards upgrading Cuba's telecommunications network. China will also help Cuba on a number of other projects covering everything from improving traffic signals to animal husbandry.
The influx of cash was a welcome gift for Cuba, which has been suffering economically due to the global recession that even forced President Raul Castro to introduce a package of austerity measures earlier this summer. You also have to wonder if China's generosity wasn't spurred by last year's announcement that there could be as many as 20 billion barrels of oil in fields in Cuban territorial waters.