Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Fifth Red Beret Republic of Cuba.

Since Chavez stormed Venezuela in 1992, he became the desirable pupil Castro was looking for a very long time. And after he took over Venezuela’s presidency in 1999, Chavez became the devoted visitor to any event hosted by his tutor in Havana. The sort of devotee who years later became the personal spoke person of the island ruler. Today, the government of Cuba, though formally is headed by Fidel Castro’s brother, looks more like the maritime province of Venezuela with Chavez in charge of its presidency.The Fifth Red Beret Republic of Cuba

It is astonishing to notice how the political gravitational center of Revolutionary Cuba so romantically attached to Che Guevara, guerrilla and Socialism had moved out to Miraflores, and today Chavez is inheriting the will passed on by Castro.

The ups and downs in Cuba history are the ups and downs administered by Castro in his whimsical way to draw in Cuba’s foreign policy throughout the international balance of power among the big nations, but always with one point of deflection: US. We went through China, Soviet Union and lately we landed in Venezuela.

Ironically, rather than Cuba evolve toward Venezuela, it is the last who is involuting toward Cuba. Expropriations, TV stations’ suspensions, energy rationing plans, blackouts and repression against students and opposition, those are the components very well know by Cuba and lately applied in Venezuela. To finish the show, Chavez had self-declared publicly as Socialist. I guess it is something that everybody knew long time ago, Mr Beret.

But there is still hope in Venezuela. Chavez hasn’t been able to crush Venezuelan civil society. Internet, radio stations and a few TV channels are still fighting the long battle against totalitarianism. And on the street, week after week you can see the people of Venezuela protesting publicly against Chavez. It is something that our civil society in Cuba has to appreciate.

Cuba needs that Venezuela opposition wins the battle against Chavez. Our civil society is still weak and all the machinery that Venezuelan president is trying to put in place there, Castro established 50 years ago without any important opposition. From that disease we have these pains today, and our dissidents are overwhelmed by an apparatchik who has all its mechanisms well oiled and proved.

I do know that winning Venezuela’s opposition means Cuba could lose its more valued sources of oil and some other supplies. But those supplies are not reaching Cuba, many of them have been resold to the international market to pay investors, old debts and to finance tourism. All those activities are out of reach for the people of Cuba. So, there is no damage to Cuba at all: the damage will be to Castro’s regime, something that could help our civil society in its fight against 50 years of isolation.

Cuba’s civil society has to find its way to grow through the next years. It has to fight not only repression and intolerance; it has to fight dissension and discord among itself. But Cuba’s civil society has also to help Venezuela to win its battle against the machinery Chavez is installing in that country, following the shrewd and wicked instructions of Chavez’s tutor: Fidel Castro.

There is still time to stop the red beret to finish what it started in 1999. To let him go further would be a disaster for both nations: Cuba and Venezuela. Cuba because we will be farther to break the walls lifted in 1959, and Venezuela because Chavez could be unstoppable. You can’t forget Miraflores’ tenant has what Cuba never had in its hands: a huge gold mine in oil to sell, buy and stay in power forever.

Last year, I saw a picture published in one of those few pages printed in Havana under the regrettable denomination of newspaper. It shows a person holding a small poster in the traditional parade of May 1st saying: Viva Raul (Long Live Raul). It would be more appropriate if the small poster had said: Viva Chavez (Long Live Chavez). Don’t you think?