POSTED ON MARCH 16, 2014 BY JOHN HINDERAKER IN VENEZUELA
IN VENEZUELA, CUBA IS FIGHTING TO HANG ON
In Venezuela, protests against the failed socialist regime of Nicolas
Maduro are ongoing, but they have largely been crowded out of the news
by events in Crimea and the drama of Flight 370. Still, from an American
perspective, what is happening in Venezuela is of great importance.
Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, and now Maduro, is a client of Cuba, and
Cuba’s Communist government is a client of Russia, even though Russian
largesse is not what it once was. These days, the Castro brothers are
largely dependent on Venezuelan oil to keep their regime afloat. So
Russia’s effort to extend its power into the Western Hemisphere depends
in great part on what happens in Venezuela.
Photos of the anti-Maduro protests are dramatic.
Press coverage of events in Venezuela is often equivocal, presumably
because reporters hate to see another socialist government go down in
flames. Take today’s Reuters story, for example:
Opponents of Venezuela’s socialist government marched on Sunday to
protest against alleged Cuban interference in the armed forces, with
clashes breaking out afterwards in a Caracas square.
Militant opposition leaders and students have been urging Venezuelans
onto the streets to protest over issues ranging from crime and shortages
of goods to the presence of Cuban advisers in Venezuela’s army and other
“I spend five or six hours in a queue just to buy two packets of flour,
or two bottles of cooking oil,” said pensioner Pedro Perez, 64, in the
“Also, I’m protesting over insecurity and the lies this government tells
Venezuelans, bringing Cuban soldiers here … This is an ungovernable
country, we can’t carry on like this.”
But Reuters seems to be on the fence as to Cuba’s role in Venezuela’s
Venezuela supplies more than 100,000 barrels per day of oil to Cuba, for
which it is partly paid by the presence of more than 30,000 medics,
sports trainers and others from the Communist-ruled Caribbean island.
Medics! Sports trainers! But who are those “others,” who presumably must
make up the vast majority of the value that Cuba conveys to the Maduro
regime in exchange for 100,000 barrels of oil [at current prices, more
than $10 million] a day? It isn’t really a mystery.
The Washington Times, April 2010:
Cuba’s communist government has deployed thousands of technical and
military advisers to Venezuela to bolster the regime of leftist
President Hugo Chavez, as that country faces energy shortages and
increased repression against opposition political leaders.
A senior Cuban security official and former interior minister, Gen.
Ramiro Valdez, arrived in Caracas, Venezuela, in February to take charge
of a Cuban government mission that over the past several years has grown
to an estimated 40,000 advisers and aid workers, including a large
contingent of Cuban military personnel.
The advisers include intelligence and security officers, political
advisers and medical personnel.
Fox News, February 2014:
Venezuela has promised 100,000 barrels of oil per day to Cuba, and in
exchange Cuban intelligence runs the Venezuelan state security apparatus.
Even the New York Times has noticed. June 2010:
Mr. Chávez has made no bones about the presence of Cuban military
advisers, who he says are “modestly” helping in some areas. But he has
publicly offered no details on how many there are or where they are
For Cuba, a military advisory role abroad is nothing new, even if its
activities here differ from the combat brigades sent to Angola and
Ethiopia in the 1970s or the advisers in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Cuba’s
assistance in Venezuela is much broader, including areas like
telecommunications and national identification card systems. The
emergence of Cuba as Venezuela’s top ally has led to criticism that the
Cubans are helping Mr. Chávez tighten his grip on an array of institutions.
In recent weeks, anti-Maduro protesters have reported being arrested and
tortured by Cuban military or intelligence personnel. Wherever you find
socialism, torture is not far behind.
What happens in energy-rich Venezuela is important. Is it too much to
hope that the final collapse of socialism in that country will
extinguish the appeal of socialism across Latin America? Yes. Even here
in the U.S., socialism–the stupidest idea that has ever occurred to a
human being–keeps making comebacks. But in the medium term, the collapse
of the Russia-Cuba-Venezuela-Nicaragua axis will be of great benefit.
Source: In Venezuela, Cuba Is Fighting To Hang On | Power Line –