As we have said for years, any efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela must start with confronting the socialist dictatorship’s enabler and protector: Cuba’s Castro dictatorship.
Counter Venezuela’s move to consolidate Cuba
Cuban security officials are a critical ingredient of Nicolas Maduro’s ability to retain power. So, as the Trump administration increases pressure on Venezuela’s pretender president, it must also do the same against Cuba.
It’s an important concern in that Venezuela’s pretender president Nicolas Maduro this week doubled down on his relationship with Cuba.
Pledging to continue exporting oil to the energy-dependent Caribbean nation, Maduro portrayed a determination to evade escalating U.S. sanctions. Front and center here is Maduro’s effort to rebuild his PetroCaribe energy network. Established by Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, PetroCaribe involves Venezuela’s provision of subsidized oil to Caribbean nations in return for their provision of skilled labor and political support. But years of underinvestment, gross corruption, and U.S. sanctions have smashed PetroCaribe. Cuba is now feeling the pain with mass energy shortages.
This pressure is welcome.
It forces the Cuban communist regime to reconsider the viability of its alliance with Maduro. And that matters because if Cuba removes its support to Maduro’s regime, Maduro has a big problem. After all, Cuba’s DI intelligence service is instrumental to Maduro’s ability to intimidate Venezuela’s military into loyalty. But if the DI goes, the Venezuelan military might just give legitimate interim president Juan Guaido the means to enter power.
Still, more must be done to up the temperature on Caracas and Havana.
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