The ‘Cubanization’ of Venezuela
Domination by the Castros has accelerated since Chavez’s death
One of the greatest ironies of the late strongman Hugo Chavez’s rule was that even as he attempted to personify Venezuelan nationalism, he was quietly outsourcing more and more of the country’s sovereignty to the Castro brothers in Cuba. Today, with conditions in the country spiraling after April’s tainted election to guarantee the continuation of Chavismo, Cuba’s flagrant interference in Venezuelan affairs has become downright obscene.
As Venezuela’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Diego Arria, put it recently: “Venezuela is an occupied country. The Venezuelan regime is a puppet controlled by the Cubans. It is no longer Cuban tutelage; it is control.”
His comments come after a series of events that began less than two weeks after the election in April that saw Chavez’s anointed successor, Nicolas Maduro, win by just 1 percentage point over challenger Henrique Capriles, prompting charges of electoral fraud by the opposition. In the midst of that controversy, Mr. Maduro quickly decamped to Cuba for a five-hour meeting with Fidel Castro, seeking advice on how to thwart the reinvigorated opposition and to promise more Venezuelan handouts for Havana, which already amounted to about 130,000 barrels of oil a day.
Since then, a stream of high-ranking Venezuelan officials have been regularly traveling to Cuba. This past weekend, Diosdado Cabello, the head of the National Assembly and widely seen as Mr. Maduro’s chief rival within Chavismo, was summoned to Havana for a meeting with Mr. Castro, who no doubt made him a deal he couldn’t refuse to unite behind Mr. Maduro.
Continue reading HERE.