Miércoles, 18 de Septiembre de 2019
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Venezuela

Havana: The Bane of Venezuela

Nicolás Maduro and Miguel Díaz-Canel in the Plaza de la Revolución, Havana. (AP)

How cowardly can the international community be when it comes to avoiding taking action in Venezuela?  These strong words were not from the author of this article, but rather Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, who added that "all options must be kept open."

The fact is that the arrest of Roberto Marrero, chief of staff to the Interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, and the escalation of murders and tortures by the dictatorship in Caracas, revealed in recent days, show that if Maduro and the Cuban invaders are not stopped by force, the damage and suffering they will continue to inflict on the Venezuelan people is severe.

As long as Cuban forces occupy Venezuela, and Raúl Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) maintain control and the military, repressive, strategic, and political initiative in that nation, and financial, commercial and political assistance by Moscow and Beijing continue, the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro will survive, at least in the short term.

An internal military rebellion would be the best way to overthrow Maduro, but this is unlikely, due to the extensive network of Cuban spies embedded in the Venezuelan military. Cuban generals, colonels, and other officers are keeping a close eye on Venezuelan brass.  According to local sources, Cuba has nine combat battalions in Venezuela, one of them at Fuerte Tiuna, the headquarters of the Defense Ministry. And there rumors that 5,000 more Cuban soldiers were recently sent to Venezuela.

Venezuelan Lieutenant Ronald Dugarte reported to the OAS how Cuban torturers savagely punish political prisoners, and that he himself saw how a tortured Army captain urinated blood. The personal security detail that protects Maduro is made up of Cubans from the MININT (Interior Ministry).

And all this is understandable, as Maduro was politically trained in Havana. There, in the mid 80s, he was indoctrinated and recruited by Cuban intelligence, and began working for Manuel "Barbarroja" Piñeiro's insurrectionary Departamento América.

General Castro and his military junta are inciting chavista leaders to kill, torture, and repress, and to engage drug trafficking and theft from the State, because the more crimes they perpetrate, the stronger they must cling to power, for if Maduro falls, they will go to jail, whether in Venezuela, in the US, or at The Hague.

Marrero's arrest and the planting at his house of two rifles and a grenade, to accuse him of being a terrorist, bear the unmistakable marks of Castro State Security forces, heirs to the Soviet KGB and the Eastern German STASI (heirs, in turn, of the Nazis' GESTAPO).

The strategy, plotted in Havana, consists of going after Guaidó's circle, but warily, watching how Washington reacts. If the arrest of close associate of Guaidó does not trigger a very strong reaction, nothing that goes beyond sanctions on individuals, the conclusion of el castrochavismo will be that if they imprison Guaidó nothing will happen to threaten their power either.

If by using this approach Castro II and Maduro manage to eliminate Guaidó, it will be due to the repeated rejection of the use of force in Venezuela by the Lima Group and the entire international community, with the exception of the United States.  By ruling out the use of force, Maduro and the Cuban invaders are given impunity. Those who are not willing to help the Venezuelans ought to bite their tongues, as this only emboldens the tyranny.

Punishing "the source" of the tragedy

Castroism is at the root of the Venezuelan cataclysm. In March of 1981, two months after Ronald Reagan moved into the White House, Secretary of State General Alexander Haig proposed invading Cuba and crushing Castroism, to end the war in El Salvador, according to William Leogrande and Peter Kornbluh in their book Covert Diplomacy with Cuba.

Haig argued that in order to prevent the Communist guerrillas from seizing power in San Salvador, it was necessary to "go to the source" of the problem, which was Cuba. Reagan considered it, but decided against it, as nobody else in Washington wanted to start the new administration with a war.

Since then no other secretary of state indicted the Castro regime for its intervention in the region until Mike Pompeo did: "Cuba is the real imperialist power in Venezuela" he recently stated.  And US Vice-president Mike Pence declared: "The time has come to free Venezuela from Cuba.

Today it is not about invading Cuba, but rather the UN and all the democracies demanding the departure from Venezuela of that country’s only real invaders: the Cubans. For this the regime of Castro-Díaz-Canel must be punished, instead of being praised for its "reform", strolls around Havana, and doing business on the island. And Russia and China must be strongly cautioned, with sanctions being applied if they continue to support Maduro.

Cuba: the most interventionist country in Latin America

If we are going to talk about military intervention, let us talk seriously. Since independence from Spain and Portugal, there has not been a more interventionist state in Latin America than Castroist Cuba. It has trampled the sovereignty of 15 countries, including eight South American ones (Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil and Uruguay) and seven in Central America and the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Grenada, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama).

In the 20th century Washington did intervene several times in Central America and the Caribbean, and installed dictators. Since 1965, however, it has intervened to overthrow tyrannies, prevent the "Cubanization" of the Dominican Republic (1965) and Grenada (1983); and in Panama (1989) to apprehend the drug-pushing dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega – a major ally of the Castros.

Castroist interventions, meanwhile, have been attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments and install pro-Castro totalitarian tyrannies. As early as April of 1959 had Fidel Castro sent a contingent of armed invaders to Panama, where 200 men, 82 of them Cubans, disembarked at a site called Nombre de Dios.

Cuba also trained, armed, financed and directed the guerrillas that invaded Argentina in the 1960s (President Arturo Ilía, democratically elected), and Venezuela (Presidents Rómulo Betancourt and Rafael Leoni, elected) and Bolivia (President René Barrientos, elected in 1966).  Interventions multiplied after the "Tricontinental Conference" in Havana (1966). Thereafter ensued a series of armed struggles for the "national liberation" of different peoples, in accord with Che Guevara's call for the creation of "two, three ... many Vietnams".

Unleashed was a wave of landings and deployments of rural guerrillas and urban terrorists, trained and armed by the Castros: in Uruguay (Tupamaros), Argentina (Montoneros), Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.  In Guatemala and El Salvador Fidel Castro orchestrated the bloodiest civil wars in the history of the Americas after the Mexican Revolution: 200,000 dead in Guatemala and 75,000 in El Salvador.

Finally, Cuba is the only country in Latin America that has intervened militarily even overseas, in Africa and the Middle East: 427,000 Cubans were sent to Angola, and another 40,000 to Ethiopia, to fight against Somalia.

Now the Cuban military is averting the fall of the worst dictatorship in the history of South America. This is why it is vital that the world's democracies punish Castroism for its misconduct in Venezuela, and demand that it withdraw its interlopers.

Conclusion: only with Cuban forces outside of Venezuela will the dissension in the military that can remove Maduro from Miraflores be possible. Otherwise, a liberating operation will be inevitable, of the type so many rulers reject today. By then there will have been more deaths, hunger, pain and mass emigration of Venezuelans. Is that fair?