Marxist Military Assistance
Pact in Latin America
The regime of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is preparing its armed forces to fight along side the Cuban military, either in Cuba or in Venezuela itself. Both Cuban president Fidel Castro and Chavez know that significant elements within their nations fervently want the destruction of the established Communist order. The Cuban regime has already stated that it will fight in alliance with fellow Communists in Venezuela in the unlikely event that the United States attacks the "Bolivarian Republic."
The military cooperation between Cuba and Venezuela constitutes a de facto mutual military assistance pact reminiscent of European agreements before World Wars I and II. One tyrant is ready to come to the aid of the other in case of attack – or civil unrest.
As of September 26, 2005, the new "Organic Law of the National Armed Forces" enables the Venezuela military to join the military forces of other nations in joint defense, most likely Cuba. At present, the Venezuelan military is not a formidable force, but Chavez has concluded agreements with Russia to purchase light arms, up-to-date jet fighters, and submarines. Chavez also plans to increase the number of military personnel to more than three million over the next five years.
Chavez, a former paratroop colonel, would have no reluctance in sending forces to defend the "Revolution" in Cuba. Castro sent hundreds of activists to Venezuela to assist Chavez' reelection in 2000. An armed force to protect Castro's regime would only return a favor. Chavez is already assisting the largest Communist guerrilla group in Colombia, the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym, FARC. Arms flow through Venezuela to the FARC, which is allowed to have bases inside Venezuela. FARC guerrillas regularly engage Colombian troops and then flee to their safe haven across the Venezuelan border.
Jessie Jackson addresses the Venezuela parliament during his 3-day visit to communist Hugo Chavez
The Mexican government is also investigating evidence that Venezuelan diplomats and other embassy employees in Mexico City are providing small arms to a local guerrilla group, the "Popular Revolutionary Army," according to La Nueva Cuba, a prominent pro-democracy Internet site.
Any post-Castro rebellion against the regime in Havana could find that the troops facing them would not only be domestic Communists, but also military forces sent from the "Bolivarian Republic."
The conventional wisdom is that when Fidel Castro finally dies, the Communist regime in Cuba will not be able to continue the suppression of its population, and Marxism will die a well-deserved death. Like so many things about Fidel's tropical gulag, all may not go as smoothly as anticipated, especially after the military understanding with Venezuela.
Cuba was supposed to find its way out of Communist oppression after the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991. The reasoning of the time assumed that since Cuba was almost wholly dependent upon Soviet overpayments for Cuban sugar, Castro would follow Mikhail Gorbachev into the unemployment line for retired dictators, or, possibly, end up like former Romanian tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu, who was shot by his own people.
Neither occurred. Castro went to China, adopted Beijing's approach to blending Communism and a controlled market, and survived. Cuba temporarily relaxed restrictions on individual initiative, and sought to learn modern business methods from European nations. Tourism was again encouraged in what had once been one of the playgrounds of the Western Hemisphere.
Cuban socialism not only survived, but Cuban Communism produced Venezuela's Marxist president, Hugo Chavez. Castro and Chavez are close friends as well as fellow Communist dictators, and are pledged to support each other's regime.
Cuba and Venezuela are attempting to integrate their economies. Cuba sends medical and teaching personnel, pharmaceutical and agricultural products to Venezuela in exchange for much needed crude oil.
Cuba and Venezuela have also opened branches of their state-owned banks in their respective countries.
Castro – or his successors – can expect aid from Chavez in the event of an anti-Communist rebellion and/or U.S. intervention. The end to Communism on the island of Cuba may not come as quickly, or bloodlessly, as many hope.
Posted September 15, 2005
Toby Westerman publishes
International News Analysis - Today
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