Communist terrorism in Latin America was inspired and trained in Cuba, with frequent trips to the specialized “schools” in the Soviet Union. Cuba also acted as the banker, especially with the help of Czechoslovakia, and even of major Swiss banks who preferred to look the other way.
At the peak of the oil boom, analysts estimated that Venezuelan subsidies to Cuba reached $13 billion per year. In one of the most successful operations, the Argentine terrorist group, Montoneros, netted $60 million in 1974. That would be over $300 million in today’s dollars. They kidnapped brothers Jorge and Juan Born, businessmen and heirs to a fortune. The money ended up in Cuba, and then, after a short laundering stop via Switzerland, it was parked in the Central Bank of Czechoslovakia. The Cubans also acted as couriers and bankers for other South American terrorists groups, such as the Uruguayan Tupamaros. That was then. Today, if the Cubans need money, or if leftists want funds to subvert other governments, they can ask Venezuela to send them cheap oil, Argentina to provide cheap foreign exchange to one of their crony companies, and ask Brazilians for a big bribe for an infrastructure project. Why bother with killings? They are too dramatic. Bombings? Too messy. Bureaucrats will do.
In addition to [Interior Minister Tarek] Mr. El Aissami, other powerful officials under investigation include Hugo Carvajal, a former director of military intelligence; Nestor Reverol, the head of the National Guard; Jose David Cabello, Mr. Cabello’s brother, who is the industry minister and heads the country’s tax collection agency; and Gen. Luis Motta Dominguez, a National Guard general in charge of central Venezuela, say a half-dozen officials and people familiar with the investigations.
In an appearance on state television Wednesday, Mr. Cabello said he solicited a court-ordered travel ban on 22 executives and journalists from three Venezuelan news outlets that he has sued for publishing stories about the drug allegations earlier this year.
Jaime Bayly interviewed one, Miguel Henrique Otero, editor and director of El Nacional daily, last night (video in Spanish),
Because let us all be clear about one thing: this has happened because Hugo Chavez, the hero of the left, has allowed for it to happen, has encouraged it to happen. Diosdado did not come out of thin air. That maybe he became too strong for Chavez to control is another story, but Diosdado Cabello is a Chavez creation, just one of the cogs in the drug machinery that Chavez set up to help the FARC against Uribe. And the cogs are many, including noteworthy high ranking pieces like current Aragua state governor.
Daniel expects that
Diosdado Cabello will take down with him as many as he needs to take down. He will take the country down with him if he needs to.
the unraveling of the Suns Cartel has tremendous implications for the power balance within chavismo.
Nagel calculates it’s a US$27 billion/year enterprise, which was “was anything but clandestine, and anything but competent,” and
Maduro has an obvious choice: either tie his sinking presidency to the fate of clumsy, leaky, “stocky and bull-necked” (loved that) drug smugglers, or turn Diosdado and crew over and save face. And just what do you think the Cubans will suggest he do? Maduro’s handlers, after all, are the folks who murdered Arnaldo Ochoa.
Of course, this is all speculative, but if you think Maduro isn’t mulling what to do at this point, then I think you’re being naive.
Nagel has the perfect photo and caption in his post,
There is another more plausible explanation for why the pope shows disdain in his exhortation for “a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” It lies in an Argentine sense of cultural superiority over the money-grubbing capitalists to the north and faith in the state to protect it.
Mexican historian Enrique Krauze traces this to an intellectual backlash against the U.S. after the Spanish defeat in the Spanish-American war. Examples he cites in his 2011 book “Redeemers” include the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío and the Franco-Argentine historian Paul Groussac, who both painted Americans as uncivilized beasts. According to Mr. Krauze, the southern cone—especially Argentina—also had imported the idea of a “socialism that fought to improve the economic, cultural and educational level of the poor, while generating a nationalist state.”
Castro gave the pope a commemorative medal from Havana’s Cathedral of The Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, along with a painting by a Cuban artist depicting a migrant praying to a cross made of wrecked barges, a statement onthe plight of migrants and refugees throughout the world.
As O’Grady points out,
Raul mocked every Cuban refugee, dead or alive, by giving the pope, of all things, a piece of art depicting a migrant at prayer.
No need to wonder if the pope pointed out the thousands dead attempting to leave the island-prison; if he had, the meeting wouldn’t look as congenial.
Shortages of basic goods, from food to fuel, have led to a sharp increase in crime and situations “where police officers are gunned down for their weapons, trucks ambushed for merchandise and commuters held up for cellphones.” Now the shortage of motorcycle parts is so severe that bikers are being attacked for their vehicles, and in some cases murdered.
This is the reality of price fixing and currency controls.
Fidel instantly fell in love with this place of wild beauty worthy of Robinson Crusoe and decided to have it for his own. The lighthouse keeper was asked to leave the premises and the lighthouse was put out of action and later taken down.
To be precise, Cayo Piedra consists of not one island but two, a passing cyclone having split it in half. Fidel had, however, rectified this by building a 700-foot-long bridge between the two parts.
The southern island was slightly larger than its northern counterpart, and it was here, on the site of the former lighthouse, that Castro and his wife, Dalia, had built their house: a cement-built, L-shaped bungalow arranged around a terrace that looked out to the east, onto the open sea.
While ordinary Cubans suffered, this is where Castro would relax.
Socialism or death, he said.
If Pope Francis is really really nice, maybe he’ll get to visit Cayo Piedra next September. Or will Obama?
King Raul and the Holy Father exchanged gifts during this “cordial” visit. The tyrant gave the pope a rare medal commemorating the 200th anniversary of Havana’s cathedral — of which only 25 exist.
The tyrant responsible for driving 20 percent of his subjects into exile also had the audacity to give the pope a contemporary painting by an unnamed Cuban artist that depicts a kneeling migrant praying on a beach, at the foot of a cross made from boats.
Maybe those readers who plan to visit this Caribbean paradise would like to know something that Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times have omitted: their phone conversations will be bugged, and possibly they will be secretly filmed in their hotel rooms. Remember, this is not Berlin after the fall of the Wall; this is Berlin before!
Twenty years ago, Fidel Castro began to promote his imprisoned island to foreign tourists. Canadian and Spanish tourists initially poured in. Eventually, however, word got out that Cuba was not much fun.+
Today, they still trickle in, but the boom in tourism that the Castros expected has not materialized. Those who do visit Cuba do so because it is, by far, the cheapest destination in the Caribbean. Those Europeans and Canadians who can pay more ignore Cuba as a destination.
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. My father worked for many years at what then was at one of the top hotels in the Caribbean. I sincerely do not understand why anyone would go to Cuba when you can find, not only in Puerto Rico, but all across the Caribbean, top-rated resorts (where, as a bonus, you are not subsidizing a murderous Communist regime intent on not changing).