Mediation may well be what Venezuela needs to climb out of its deep political crisis, but it can't come from Cuba.
CARACAS — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne of Canada — leaders of a nation with significant economic interests in Cuba — have been advising Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to seek help from Havana in finding a solution to the crisis in his country.
It's worth asking, though, just how probable is it that the ruthless Castro regime, which is directly involved in training torture officials in Venezuela, and may even be directly involved in torturing Venezuelan civilians and soldiers held for dissent, would want to help resolve a tragedy from which it benefits with impunity?
The perverse Cuban regime is responsible for planning and counseling rights violations in Venezuela (and Nicaragua) perpetrated during peaceful protests by citizens. Furthermore: It has been a stimulant for creating strategies that have ensured — alongside the actions of soldiers, policemen and paramilitaries — the brutal repression of unarmed civilian demonstrations.
Castro-perversion has encouraged the destruction of institutional government in Venezuela.
Nor could we forget the hundreds of people murdered in the course of such events, and thousands more shot, gassed, beaten, robbed, kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused, all by officials guided on the ground by agents of Castro-perversion.
This voracious, totalitarian regime is not only a partial culprit, but more crucially the undisputed winner in the Venezuelan debacle. A regime with its ability to lie and utterly distort reality, with its police and espionage structures, unconcealed hatred of any form of freedom, an ability to foment delusions and manipulate the deluded crowds, its theatrical ability to play the victim of imperialism for so long, and structural ties to drug-dealing guerrillas in Colombia.
Fidel and Raul Castro, back in 2001 — Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Castro-perversion has encouraged the destruction of institutional government and the separation of powers in Venezuela, the very prerequisites that allowed the country's previous leader, Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), to perpetuate himself in power.
The Cuban regime is the author of the massive embezzlement of Venezuelan public assets through oil shipped there at risible prices, supposedly in exchange for services like medical aid. What it has been sending Venezuela in fact are policemen, soldiers, commissars and yes, a few doctors and paramedics, many of whom are incompetent, with outdated medical knowhow and incapable of running a simple, neighborhood GP service.
Why would this perverse regime help a democratic transition in Venezuela?
A particularly vile aspect of the Trudeau-Champagne suggestion concerns the Cuban people itself. How could Castro-perversion contribute to Venezuela's liberation when it has systematically oppressed and impoverished its own citizens for 61 years? How could it, when it persecutes, jails and tortures Cubans, prevents free speech and information, stifles artists and writers for stating opinions, detains anyone for asking questions, spies on every corner of its island and has revamped its constitution to consolidate communist oppression for centuries to come?
What makes the Canadian leaders imagine that Havana will desist from its toxic strategy of destabilizing Latin America to replace governments with sympathetic regimes, all with Venezuelan money, and aid instead a process wherein President Nicolás Maduro would abandon power and pave the way for free, transparent elections?
Above all, why would this perverse regime help a democratic transition in Venezuela, when it lives off Venezuelan oil and the monies sent by front companies of the state oil firm PDVSA and other public entities, and benefits from the illicit extraction and sale of minerals from Venezuela? How and why would Cuba do this, when change will mean an end to the vast resources gifted to it over decades, first by Chávez and now by Maduro?
*The author is the director of the Caracas-based daily newspaper El Nacional.