Russia Plans AK-47 Ammo Factory In Cuba



Russia plans to build a factory in Cuba to make ammunition for AK-47 assault rifles, Federal Agency for Military and Technical Cooperation director Konstantin Biriulin said Thursday.

"The components were taken to Cuba a few years ago. Now, it is just a matter of taking them out of the crates and getting production underway," Biriulin said.

The Russian official, however, did not say when the plant would be finished or what its production would be.

Cuba expressed interest in the past in asking Russia for the technology to produce ammunition, the Russian daily Kommersant said.

Havana wants to be able to produce 7.62 mm ammunition, Kommersant reported, citing sources.

The AK-47, also known as a Kalashnikov, is an assault first rifle first accepted by the Soviet Union's military in 1949 and has since been used in conflicts throughout the world, earning it the reputation as the world's most popular firearm. 

The assault weapon has been used widely throughout Latin America, including by Colombia's FARC guerrilla group and Mexico's drug cartels. In 2006, Colombian musician and peace activist César López created the escopetarra, a guitar converted from an AK-47.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba and Russia have maintained the close ties fostered during the Cold War-era. Russia's former President Vladmir Putin visited the island in 2000, where he met with Fidel Castro and called for an end to the long standing U.S. embargo. 

In 2008 current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also visited the communist island in an effort to strengthen economic ties and allow Russian to mine nickel in Cuba.

Raúl Castro has also made trips to Moscow to discuss credit and humanitarian aid to Cuba. 

The news of the ammunition plant in Cuba comes after the 2009 announcement that will begin to drill for oil in Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Based on reporting by EFE.

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