Cuba/Venezuela Alliance Assured by Castro and Maduro

By Isaac Risco

maduro-y-raul-castro-cubade
Nicolas Maduro and Raul Castro in Havana on April 27, 2013. Photo: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate.

HAVANA TIMES – Nicolas Maduro chose Cuba as the destination of his first foreign visit since his proclamation as Venezuela’s president on April 19. Hugo Chavez’ successor met with Fidel and Raul Castro on Saturday to ratify the “strategic alliance” between the two nations, reported dpa news.

“Cuba and Venezuela will continue working together,” Maduro announced at the close of the 13th Cuba-Venezuela Intergovernmental Meeting, a bilateral mechanism established by former presidents Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez in 2000. “We came to ratify a strategic, a historical alliance,” he stressed.

Venezuela is “Cuba’s best friend, as Comrade Fidel has said,” Raul Castro underscored during his closing remarks.

During the gathering, delegations from the two countries signed agreements to set in motion a total of 51 new collaborative projects this year, for a sum of around two billion US dollars. The focus is on social programs, delegates from the two countries announced.

Venezuela has been Cuba’s strategic ally since Hugo Chavez first became president of Venezuela in 1999. The South American nation threw Fidel Castro’s government a life-line when Cuba was on the brink of economic collapse, as a result of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc in the early 90s.

Caracas currently sells the island an estimated 100,000 oil barrels a day at preferential prices. In exchange, some 32,000 physicians and other health professionals from Cuba work in public healthcare programs of the Venezuelan government.

“I spent over five hours with Fidel, talking, sharing memories of Comandante Chavez, remembering how he and Chavez had built this alliance, which is more than a strategic partnership,” the Venezuelan leader told the press.

Cuba and Venezuela also operate over 30 joint-venture companies. These partnerships are not restricted to the oil industry (the most economically important area), and include such sectors as transportation, tourism, agriculture and steel and nickel production.

As part of its recent electoral campaign, Venezuela’s opposition, centered on the figure of presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, accused the Chavista government of receiving “orders” from Cuba and of “giving away” the country’s oil.

“Our great lackey is traveling to Havana to get instructions from his boss, we’ve been saying it all along, there’s nothing more powerful than the truth,” Capriles charged on Twitter on Saturday.

Maduro also met with former president Fidel Castro in Havana this Saturday.

“I spent over five hours with Fidel, talking, sharing memories of Comandante Chavez, remembering how he and Chavez had built this alliance, which is more than a strategic partnership,” the Venezuelan leader told the press, following a wreath-laying ceremony held before the monument to Cuba’s independence hero Jose Marti.

“The time here has been a one of remembrance,” he added. In his chat with Fidel Castro the Venezuelan president was given a tour of the former president’s garden, where he has been cultivating the medicinal plant Morus alba and the highly nutritional Moringa with much enthusiasm in recent times.

Though officially retired since 2006, Fidel Castro receives high-ranking foreign visitors regularly in his Havana home. In recent times, he has made frequent public appearances, discrediting rumors that the 86-year-old former leader is experiencing severe health issues.

Maduro arrived in Havana on Friday night, making Cuba his first official destination as newly-appointed president of Venezuela. Before being sworn in on April 19, he travelled to Lima to take part in an extraordinary meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and debate the crisis sparked off by the country’s elections.

“Cuba and Venezuela will continue working together,” Maduro announced at the close of the 13th Cuba-Venezuela Intergovernmental Meeting, a bilateral mechanism established by former presidents Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez in 2000. “We came to ratify a strategic, a historical alliance,” he stressed.

Maduro narrowly won these elections on April 14, defeating opposition candidate Henrique Capriles by less than two percentage points. The Venezuelan opposition refuses to recognize these results.

Maduro, Venezuela’s former foreign minister and vice-president, was often by Chavez’ side in the course of the months when the late president was enduring the last stages of his terminal illness in Cuba.

Chávez, who passed away on March 5 after a long battle with cancer, was undergoing treatment in Cuba and spent several of his last months of life on the island. Maduro returned to Havana Saturday for the first time since Chavez’ death.

The new president of Venezuela was received with a strong round of applause at the close of the bilateral meetings held between the two countries. Delegates also paid tribute to Hugo Chavez’ memory during the gathering.

Maduro and Raul Castro presided over the official ceremony held in a meeting hall of the Havana Convention Center, especially decorated with a portrait of Hugo Chavez.

The high-level meeting held on the 26th and 27th saw the participation of Elias Jaua and Bruno Rodriguez, Venezuela’s and Cuba’s foreign ministers, respectively. Cuba’s Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca and Venezuela’s Minister for Oil and Mining Rafael Ramirez were also present.


10 thoughts on “Cuba/Venezuela Alliance Assured by Castro and Maduro

  • April 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm
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    What a monstrous stupidity to say that Venezuela is bossed by Cuba!

    Moses, Humberto and Griffin dish up their usual imperialist mendacity.

    Their hero is the slobbering toady of imperialism, Mr. Capriles, who takes orders obsequiously from his US bosses and his own traitorous heart.

  • April 29, 2013 at 8:23 am
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    Venezuela’s current leadership is “intellectually” indebted to their Cuban “hegemon”. Moreover, Cuban military and intelligence service expertise is widely accepted as the base of the anti-coup that maintains the Chavista regime. Maduro is well aware that if he is too remain President of Venezuela he is obliged to follow the Castro playbook to the letter.

  • April 29, 2013 at 6:13 am
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    Hegemony is an indirect form of government of imperial dominance in which the hegemon (leader state) rules geopolitically subordinate states by the implied means of power, the threat of force, rather than by direct military force. Venezuela is not dominated by Cuba either miliarily or economically and isn’t in debt to them either. Madura was not installed by a Cuban sponsored military coup. So why would he be taking instructions from them. You don’t really believe what you have posted here.

  • April 29, 2013 at 5:56 am
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    It remains to be seen if Maduro, lacking the electoral mandate that Chavez possessed, can continue to sustain the “solidarity” with his Cuban handlers bought and paid for with petro dollars, and hold on to his job. Rumors of a recall are circulating. If he can not keep giving away government jobs and free houses, he will be hard-pressed to keep the poor who voted for him from joining the 600,000 who traded sides already.

  • April 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm
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    Solidarity = Cuban Hegemony.

    Maduro has gone to get his instructions from his bosses.

  • April 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm
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    Blunder Buster: you haven`t learned the word solidarity ( national or international) yet. Maybe try to do so and then write again.

  • April 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm
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    Fidel and Raul have assured once again the temporary support of his regime’s ineffective economy with the installation of yet another lackey, this one trained by his own apparatus in Cuba, as President of Venezuela to provide the economic lifeline necessary due to the failed system with which he has bridled the Cuban people…

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