By Beatrice E. Rangel
The very same day that presidents Obama and Castro announced a new modus vivendi for the relationship between their two countries, Diosdado Cabello, President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, published an Op-Ed in the New York Times
lambasting the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act while informing that he had the authority to negotiate an exit strategy for the US.
According to Mr. Cabello, the US had entombed itself in a losing proposition by raising the flag of human rights in the hemisphere. Cabello pointed out that the US record as master violator of human rights was brought to bear by means of depicting police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City. He, of course, forgot to add that in both instances suspected human rights offenders had been brought to justice and that President Obama had requested a federal investigation into police demeanor in the country as well.
The op-ed could have been dismissed as the battle call to Bolivarian Revolution supporters in the U.S. were it not for the fact that the editorial highlighted the fact that the Venezuelan leadership was completely out of the loop concerning Cuba’s major foreign policy shift. This interesting revelation leads us to think that the Cuban leaders -- who also happen to be masters in geopolitics -- have discounted the current Venezuelan leadership just as Wall Street has discounted their bonds. Or as Dr Kissinger would have put it, the Cuban leadership decided to put survival before comradeship in the decision-making basket. In short, the Venezuelan leadership was left hanging from the paint brush in their anti-American crusade.
For Cuba the decision was clear. Venezuela’ s flirt with disaster was unequivocally leading President Castro to another special period. At the venerable age of 84 years with most of his control squad either dead or about to retire, a destroyed economic engine, and with half the population dreaming of coming to Miami, President Castro decided to change the game. And so he did, unfolding his bold strategy through the vectors of the Vatican wisdom and the Canadian Cold War neutrality.
This brings to the forefront yet another revelation: Fidel is truly gone.
Late President Carlos Andres Perez from Venezuela drew the conclusion that no game change between the U.S. and Cuba was possible while Fidel was as the helm of power. No human being can simultaneously play the roles of Lenin, Stalin and Gorbachev, he quipped after a trip to Cozumel to meet Fidel Castro with Presidents Salinas from Mexico and Gaviria from Colombia.
This perception was recently confirmed by the declassification of State Department documentation from the Kissinger Era. According to these papers, every time the U.S. had an agreement with Cuba at hand, Castro would make an unacceptable geopolitical move to blow to pieces the agreement with U.S. This leads us to conclude that Castro Fidel had a vested interest in keeping the U.S. as a foe, while Castro Raul seems to think that his best play is to have the U.S. rebuild the Cuban economy. Elementary!!
Meanwhile Venezuela has been left with no playing space. After having enraged the Saudi’s by playing team-mate with Iran, the U.S. by supporting FARC and the ELN while flirting with drug trafficking gangs, and many Latin American countries by supporting extreme and violent leftist groups in all directions of the nautical star, the Venezuelans have successfully created a secluded cloister for themselves in the hemisphere.
And while the hard core supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution believed in the Imperial Peril, the news emerging from Havana is beginning to raise doubts in this group about the virtues of burning passports that carry US visas. In the words of Dr. Kissinger, it seems that Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is about to face increasing resistance to his foreign policy as “No foreign policy - no matter how ingenious - has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of a few and carried in the hearts of none.”
Climbing back to safety would entail Venezuela ceasing to be a revolutionary destination to all subversive groups in the world. But then part of the governing coalition would unravel. Should this happen, chaos will ensue. And chaos will also ensue from inaction because oil prices have nested in the $60 - $65 level. In that range it is impossible to confront debt payments, continue to provide Venezuelan car drivers with the cheapest gasoline on earth, AND finance the social programs. Indeed, these are no ordinary times in the Americas!! Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet seriesBeatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??
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Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.