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Column 010713 Brewer

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Cryptic Illness of Hugo Chavez and Covert Cuban Ambitions

By Jerry Brewer

With little doubt, the drama continuing to unfold in Venezuela and Cuba about the condition and current status of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's terminal illness is anything but transparent. Chavez (58) has not been publicly seen or heard from since undergoing his fourth cancer-related operation in Cuba on December 11, 2012.

Venezuela's citizens and opposition have demanded more specific information from the government about his health. Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro stated in December, "he (Chavez) gave us his approval to keep the people informed always, always with the truth, however harsh it could be."

Official and unofficial statements about Chavez's condition have run the gamut, from him being in a coma, declared dead, and resting comfortably. Some reports even suggested that he may be able to be sworn in again to his next six year term on January 10. It is anyone's guess as to the true status of the obvious subterfuge from the Venezuelan and Cuban governments.

It is no secret that the Venezuelan and Cuban governments are partners in collaborating on the necessity for staunch control of the Venezuelan homeland and other mutual interests.

Cuba's Fidel Castro has served as Hugo Chavez's mentor for years, whereas the latter has carried on Cuba's Revolution as his own Bolivarian Revolution. When Chavez visited Cuba in 2005 he told Fidel Castro publicly that their two countries were "a single nation" with one flag."  Castro replied, "We are Venecubans."  Chavez and the Castro brothers publicly portray their mutual admiration and support as "a socialist solidarity" in the struggle against the (U.S.) empire."

The Castros' resource starved revolution has been nurtured generously by Hugo Chavez. The Castro brother's personal wealth has been estimated as "combined - easily worth $2 billion."  The Hugo Chavez Frias family in Venezuela "has amassed wealth on a similar scale since Chavez's presidency began in 1999."

The Chavez presidency has been described as one of the most disorganized and corrupt in the history of Venezuelan finances. For the most part, the amount of money coming into the country has been the highest in Venezuelan history, but massive squandering of money resulted in the poor continuing to live in squalor, with unsafe homes, little food, and rolling blackouts of electricity. The squandering of the massive Venezuelan oil revenue is a topic ignored by the Chavez regime.

Moreover, Chavez has probably inflicted more lasting structural damage on Venezuela's political institutions, economy and people than any other president in that nation's history.

Conversely, Cuba has benefited enormously from Chavez's generosity. Chavez's death could threaten $7 billion of subsidized oil exports alone that help hold up Cuba's economy.

Cuba's failed economy and the intense suffering of the oppressed Cuban people are not results of the US embargo. Those failings and woes are due to a system dominated for decades by the Castros' and their oppressive military elite. Fidel Castro's long rule over Cuba has brought years of misery to that homeland and the Cuban people. His communist ideology in Cuba's internal and external affairs unscrupulously forced much sacrifice upon the citizens. And his ideology, a means for the promotion of the goal that guided him from the start -- to reach the country's top position and to stay there. Much like Hugo Chavez.

In October 2000 Chávez and Castro signed the Convenio Integral de Cooperación, under which Venezuela would send 53,000 barrels-per-day of oil to Cuba and would receive technical support in return. In February 2005, Venezuela increased its discounted oil shipments to Cuba to 90,000 barrels-per-day.  In 2007, the two countries established a joint venture to revamp the Cienfuegos oil refinery in Cuba. According to this scheme, a 51% share of the plant would be held by Cuba and 49% by Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the Venezuelan state-owned petroleum company.

Hugo Chavez established much of his control of Venezuela through iron fisted fear and Cuban security initiatives.  He adopted the previous Soviet-styled Cuban intelligence service as his model for Venezuela. This has included Cubans involved in immigration and passport control. Chavez enjoys direct access to these security operatives as indicated by cables sent from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to the State Department.  The number of Cuban intelligence experts working in Venezuela is reported to be over 3,000.

There are reports of "a mix of Cuban security officers and veteran senior military officials, and military deployments," currently on the ground in Venezuela.

Current and former Cuban citizens of the world continue to speak out against the Castro(s) regime, citing executions, torture and an oppression that has held and degraded the Cuban homeland since Fidel Castro came to power with his revolution in 1959.

As leftist leaders, such as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, claim devotion -- emulating and glorifying Castro's revolution as their own, the Castro brother's tenure of a dictatorial lack of humane leadership and ruin of the Cuban homeland remains constant chatter by those that have lived and fear the nightmare.

Cuba's true intentions in Venezuela may only be known by the terminally ill Hugo Chavez.

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Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/. 


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