An analysis of the current crisis taking place in Venezuela published in the Baltimore Post Examiner reveals that Nicolas Maduro, the puppet dictator placed in power by Cuba’s Castro regime is worse than Hugo Chavez, the previous puppet dictator controlled by the Castros. Of course, this has little or nothing to do with the personalities or dictatorial governing styles of either men and everything to do with Cuba’s dictatorship tightening its grip on their newest colony.
Venezuela’s Maduro more authoritarian than Chávez, analysts warn
Beset with annual inflation of 62 percent, one of the world’s highest homicide rates and shortages of just about everything, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro is struggling to save his endangered presidency — even as relations with the United States get worse.
Earlier this summer, the Obama administration announced it was suspending the U.S. visas of “a number of Venezuelan government officials who have been responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses.” That follows “street mobilizations” organized by the Maduro government last February in which 43 people died, hundreds were injured and between 2,000 and 3,000 were thrown in prison.
It also came three days after the State Department failed to secure the extradition of Gen. Hugo Carvajal, Venezuela’s former intelligence chief, who was wanted in the U.S. on drug charges and had been detained on the Dutch-speaking island of Aruba.
Those affected by the visa revocation include high-ranking Venezuelan military, National Guard and police officials, as well as politicians who ordered the violent crackdown.
But those State Department sanctions are unlikely to have much effect, say two experts who spoke Aug. 11 at Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank.
“They were under no illusions that the sanctions could produce anything, but they thought it was absolutely vital to send a message about human rights,” said Michael McCarthy, a senior lecturer at Johns Hopkins University. “The State Department felt it needed to show it’s calling the shots, not wait for Congress to be the one making decisions. The administration also wanted to be very sensitive to the dialogue process sponsored by UNASUR and the Vatican that took place in South America, because they didn’t want to be seen as offending Brazil and Colombia before taking these measures.”
McCarthy, a former elections monitor who traveled to Venezuela on behalf of the Carter Center in 2012 and 2013, spoke along with Javier Corrales, a professor of Latin American Studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts. He said the country’s bus driver-turned-president was totally unprepared for the difficulties that faced him in the wake of the March 2013 death of his predecessor, 58-year-old President Hugo Chávez.
McCarthy said that Cuba is playing a much larger role in the Venezuelan government’s day-to-day operations than it did during the 14 years Chávez was in charge.
“Cuba is concerned primarily about oil shipments. The Cubans are arguing for a more flexible economy, considering the recent reforms they’ve made to their own system,” he said, adding that Venezuela’s recent announcement that it would like to privatize Citgo indicates that major new initiatives by state petroleum monopoly PDVSA like development of the Orinoco oil belt appear to have stagnated.