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Cuba

A Saudi Hand Guides Quiet Rise Of Islam In Cuba

Cuba's small but growing Muslim community is getting a boost from Havana's diplomatic opening. Riyadh, meanwhile, is trying to exert control.

Women praying in Havana
Women praying in Havana
Vincent Jolly

HAVANA — Appearing at the bend of a paved street in central Havana, an ebony face veiled in blue contrasts with the surrounding landscape of Cuban clichés.

There is the pearly silhouette of a dominating white Christ on the Malecón esplanade, the usual ballet of vendors selling bad cigars and bookkeepers unpacking their countertops with old books on the glory of Fidel Castro to fascinate Western tourists. Sitting on the terraces, two young female followers of santeria — a familiar Caribbean religion that mixes Christian traditions with African beliefs — discuss amongst themselves, all dressed in white and hidden from the sun behind their umbrellas.

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Geopolitics

Venezuela-Iran: Maduro And The Axios Of Chaos In The Americas

With the complicity of leftist rulers in Venezuela, Bolivia and even Argentina, Iran's sanction-ridden regime is spreading its tentacles in South America, and could even undermine democracies.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro visiting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran on June 11. Venezuela is one of Iran's closest allies, and both are subject to tough U.S. sanctions.

Julio Borges

-Analysis-

CARACAS —The dangers posed by Venezuela's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran is something we've warned about before. Though not new, the dangers have changed considerably in recent years.

They began under Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chávez , when he decided to turn his back on the West and move closer to countries outside our geopolitical sphere. In 2005, Chávez and Iran's then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, signed collaborative agreements in areas beyond the economy, with goals that included challenging the West and spreading Iran's presence in Latin America.

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