Editor’s note: President Trump’s speech before the United Nation’s General Assembly, September 24, 2019, made clear that Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s Marxist regime was being held afloat with the help of his Cuban communist comrades: “The Dictator Maduro is a Cuban puppet, protected by Cuban bodyguards, hiding from his own people, while Cuba plunders Venezuela’s oil wealth to sustain its own corrupt rule,” said the President.
Former bus driver Maduro, a lackey of his equally corrupt predecessor Hugo Chavez, who came to power in a sham election in 2018, has made a shambles of a nation with the largest oil reserves in the world [Venezuela, by all accounts, has over 300 billion barrels of oil in the ground or roughly 33 billion more barrels of oil than does runner-up Saudi Arabia]. Yet, the country is beset by widespread shortages of food, water, supplies, electricity, and medicines due to widespread corruption and economic mismanagement. The rate of hyperinflation, generally defined as an inflation rate of over 50% per month, reached 80,000% in 2018. At this rate, consumers see the price of goods double every two weeks. It is a disgusting sight to see hungry people acting like mangy dogs scavenging through trash dumpsters looking for something to eat. Citizen protests, when they do flare up, are suppressed by the armed forces, the National Guard, and the colectivos or armed thugs that operate with impunity and with the full support of the local police. Perversely and emblematic of his paranoia, Maduro makes use of Cuban intelligence operatives to spy on his own armed forces looking for the disaffected. Tragically, there is more to Venezuela than an economic meltdown. Venezuela is riven by a homicide rate of sixty murders per 100,000 population [the country now averages over 17,000 homicides per year] second only in the world to the debauched and economic basket case of El Salvador which averages 82 murders per 100,000 population. It is no wonder that over four million Venezuelans have fled the nation in despair.
CUBA: VENEZUELA’S PARTNER IN CRIME
Marxist Cuba is literally Venezuela’s partner in crime. The Cubans are expert at exporting revolution and the Maduro regime has benefited from the Cubans’ track record and expertise in cracking down on political dissidents. Over the years the Cuban military has actively supported communist uprisings in Angola, Congo, Ethiopia, and Bolivia. The Cubans also fought against the United States in Vietnam, and on the side of the Arabs during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. More recently, the Cuban regime has deployed soldiers to help prop up the murderous gangs of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Cuba has not been immune to the occasional tug of freedom by its citizens. Recently, it has had to deal with its own civil unrest born of the miserable living conditions on the island accentuated by severe shortages of food and medicines. Against this backdrop, the Cuban government’s approach to grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic has been to obstinately refuse to purchase vaccines on the international market choosing instead to deploy its meager resources in developing its own vaccine which it claims to be 100% effective. Nothing seems to work, however. Government officials have now turned to blaming healthcare professionals for the state’s sorry response to the pandemic which has only motivated many physicians to attempt to set the record straight. “I want to denounce the collapse of our health system in our hospital and many others.” So said Dr. Hector Alejandro Santiesteban Fuentes at the contemptibly but aptly named General Hospital Vladimir Ilich Lenin. “We are afraid but we are not afraid of the pandemic, we are afraid of the government…” said Dr. Rafael Alejandro Fuentes Sanchez. Dr. Sanchez further acknowledged the possibility of government retaliation for speaking out.
Despite the massive protests across the island, Cuba’s heavy hand has rather easily handily suppressed most protests. With the help of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) People’s Armed Police (PAP), this paramilitary unit, which was instrumental in suppressing protesters in Hong Kong, has played a key role in training Cuba’s Black Berets or Avispas Negras – black wasps – in the fine art of crowd control.
APPEASING MARXIST REGIMES IS A LOSING PROPOSITION
In the light of this axis of evil which connects Cuba and Venezuela one has to question the wisdom of maintaining anything resembling diplomatic-level relations with either country. In Cuba’s case, this came about due to the folly and naivete of President Obama’s wanting to make nice with Castro’s Mafia while attempting to leave his mark on history. Well, he certainly has accomplished that. Cuba is no freer now than before his doing the wave with Raul Castro at a baseball game in Havana. And, in fact, one can argue that the Cuban government has grown bolder in the exploitation of its citizens since President Obama’s visit.
People-to-people travel to Cuba has been banned for U.S. citizens yet there are still twelve, purposely vague, travel conditions under which travel is allowed. Failing that, of course, all a U.S. citizen who has a burning desire to travel to the hellhole that is Cuba has to do is to travel to a third country like Mexico or Canada on his way to Cuba. Tourism to Cuba creates a pernicious problem as the hard currency brought into Cuba by tourists continues to finance Cuba’s narco-trafficking business and its support for the murderous Maduro regime. For their part, tour operators, commercial airlines, and American tourists need to understand how they are being played for the benefit of Castro’s Mafia.
As to ending the embargo, there should be no such plan without reciprocal actions by the Cubans. For starters, there needs to be verifiable evidence of democratic reforms, including freedom of the press, and the conduct of free elections. None of that is likely to happen, however, as the Cuban “constitution”, such as it is, sanctions only the political activities of the Cuban Communist Party. A move toward democratic freedoms is not the only condition the United States should seek if the two nations are indeed to play “nice” with each other. The release of political dissidents, and the return of thugs like the Puerto Rican, Victor Manuel Gerena sought by the FBI for bank robbery, and the Black Panther assassin Asata Shakur who is wanted by the FBI for the murder of a State Trooper in New Jersey should also be part of any final resolution. Moreover, the Cubans need to indemnify those Americans as well as Cubans whose property was confiscated by the Castro regime to the tune of approximately $8 billion.
The axis of evil is on a roll: first Cuba, then Venezuela. Now upheavals are being witnessed in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador. And, although the accelerant for these upheavals differs from country to country the common thread providing the spark is Marxism. The United States will either be the beneficiary of the economic prosperity and political stability long sought by our neighbors south of the border or be left to handle the menace of Marxism on its own.