Crisis in Venezuela: The situation worsens as Cuba’s dictatorship tightens its grip
As all of you already know, the situation in Venezuela is not getting better. Following orders directly from Havana, the regime of Cuba-puppet dictator Nicolas Maduro continues its heavy-handed repression of pro-democracy protestors. The Castro-installed regime is hanging by a thread, leaving the Cuban dictatorship no other choice than to tighten its grip.
Castro Visit Causes Catastrophic Muttering in CaracasRaul Castro’s visit to Venezuela, to prop up the government of Chavez’s handpicked successor amid violent anti-government riots, has caused more resentment than rejoicing.
Deplaning at Venezuela’s Maiquetía airport on Wednesday morning, Raul Castro, was met with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a visiting head of state from a closely allied nation. Well, almost. As the Cuban flag was hoisted in recognition of his arrival, something quite unexpected happened—it fell off the pole.
Local interpretations of this unexpected turn of events have varied. Was it a signal from disgruntled elements in the armed forces that are rumored to resent the ever-increasing presence of Cuban “advisors”? Was it opposition sabotage? Incompetence? An act of God perhaps? Or maybe just an oddly poetic coincidence?
The only thing certain is that it could have been much worse. In 1958, then Vice-President Richard Nixon arrived in Caracas on a “good will” visit. Engaged by an angry mob upon arrival, Nixon and his wife were yelled at, spat on, and pummeled with rocks. Attempting to flee in their motorcade, the vice president’s car was surrounded by the hoard, rocked until it overturned, and then very nearly set on fire. Local authorities did nothing to intervene.
The savage welcome received by the future first couple can best be understood as the result of years of pent up frustration by Venezuelans. Mere months before the incident took place, the regime of Marco Pérez Jimenez, a brutal military dictator, had been toppled following a rash of massive student-led protests that paralyzed the capital. Perez Jimenez had enjoyed strong ties with the United States: receiving the Legion of Merit from President Eisenhower in 1954 for his “energy and firmness of purpose in the fight against communism” and gracing the cover of TIME magazine the following year under the heading “From Buried Riches, a Golden Rule.” Many Venezuelans blamed the United States for the horrors inflicted upon them by their regime.
Today the country is once again racked by protests and it is Cuba’s relationship to an increasingly unpopular Venezuelan regime that is capable of inspiring such passions. For days leading up to the arrival, rumors of an impending state visit from Castro had circulated wildly on the Twitter feeds and blogs that are the primary source of information for regime opponents in Venezuela’s heavily censored media landscape. Indeed, many of these came bundled with outrage or even menace. Castro’s coming was only confirmed the day of the visit itself, purportedly due to security concerns.
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Venezuela Reps Denounce Cuba Influence, Econ/Rights Erosion
--Human Rights Advocate Shines Light on Cases of Torture, Illegal Detention
WASHINGTON (MNI) - Venezuelan legislators of widely different political stripes Wednesday denounced the influence of Cuba in the country, saying it is to blame for the erosion of the Venezuelan economy, security and human rights while warning that if no peaceful path is found to resolve the month-long, nationwide popular demonstrations the situation could deteriorate into something much more severe.
Addressing the nearly four weeks of protests, Leomagno Flores, deputy from the social democratic Democratic Action (AD) party, said, "We are protesting on the streets against the Cuban presence as well, which threatens Venezuelan sovereignty."
Americo de Grazia, a representative of the leftist Radical Cause Party (Causa R), said the presence of Cubans in Venezuela - security forces, doctors and other officials - "is now normal, no one is surprised by it."
But this influence has resulted in "techniques for repression never before seen in Venezuela," de Grazia said in response to a question at a forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
Flores, who represents western Tachira state where the protests began in early February, and de Grazia from southern Bolivar state, home to much of the nation's heavy industry, are in Washington along with human rights advocate and lawyer Tamara Suju, to meet with U.S. legislators, ambassadors to the Organization of American States and human rights groups to shine a light on the situation in Venezuela, which has received scant coverage in American media.
The legislators said the participation of international mediators and observers is urgent to ensure a solution.
"What we want is to avoid an escalation that ends in civil war," Flores said, noting that the protests have "a life of their own" and cannot be controlled.
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And if you thought Cuba's Castro dictatorship was going to allow Panama to get away unscathed after exposing their Sugar Missile sale to North Korea, you were mistaken.
Venezuela cuts ties with Panama, calling country a 'lackey' for the United States
(CNN) -- Venezuela's President severed diplomatic relations with Panama Wednesday, accusing the Central American nation of being a "lackey" for the United States in a conspiracy plot against his government.
"There are maneuvers by the U.S. government plotting with a lackey government that has a right-wing president who is leaving in the next few months, who is not worthy of his people, who has been working actively against Venezuela," President Nicolas Maduro said in televised remarks.
He accused Panama of pushing for regional organizations to intervene in Venezuela. As a result, Maduro said he was cutting off diplomatic and political ties and freezing trade relations with Panama's current government "in defense of the homeland's sovereignty."
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