News and Facts about Cuba

It’s Early, But Obama’s Venezuela-Cuba Gambit Might Just Work

It’s Early, But Obama’s -Cuba Gambit Might Just Work
03/11/2015 06:55 PM ET

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro speaks during the annual
state-of-the-nation address at the National Assembly in Caracas on Jan
21, 2015. AP View Enlarged Image

Diplomacy: Cuba has lashed out at the U.S. for sanctioning Venezuela,
repaying President Obama for coddling the Castro regime. Yes, it shows
Obama’s naivete. But it also places the Castroites between a rock and a
hard place.

State Department-linked sources have been telling us for a while now
that the whole idea behind normalization of relations with Cuba has been
to drive a wedge between Cuba and its cash-cow colony, Venezuela. In
other words, separate Cuba from Venezuela by letting the latter — or
maybe even helping it — collapse.

When that happens, good ol’ Uncle Sugar will be right there for Cuba
with a lifeline of normal relations, dollars and trade credits
to make up for the loss of Venezuelan oil cash. With Venezuela going
downhill, how could the Castros refuse?

After all, in the same December week that Obama announced his plan to
restore ties with Cuba, he came down hard on Venezuela’s leaders,
sanctioning a number of unnamed officials as violators and

This was odd, since Cuba is the hemisphere’s No. 1 human rights violator
— not just in Cuba itself but also in Venezuela, where Cuban officials
help direct many of the government’s human rights violations themselves.
Smack Venezuela, coddle Cuba and force the Castroites to choose between
Venezuela and the U.S.

It might just be working, given that Cuba is screaming just as loudly as
Venezuela over a new round of sanctions on seven more Venezuelan
officials, among them the country’s interior minister and various
defense officials. Obama’s executive orders are “arbitrary and
aggressive,” Cuba says.

“Cuba again reiterates its unconditional support and that of our people
for the Bolivarian Revolution, the legitimate government of President
Nicolas Maduro and the heroic brotherly people of Venezuela,” according
to its statement.

Yet even as Cuba feels Venezuela’s pain and lashes out at Obama, it
continues to hang on to the lifeline he has extended to them. As much as
the Cubans howl about the sanctions on Venezuela’s elites — which
basically keep them from going to Disneyland and shopping in Miami —
they aren’t throwing the lifeline back.

This shows how scared and weak they are. On the one hand, they want to
continue to benefit from their profitable relations with Venezuela. But
now that Venezuela is becoming a pariah state, they can’t benefit as before.

On the other hand, they have new U.S. ties to exploit — tourist dollars,
increased remittances, promises of U.S. loans and dozens of new ways to
game the system. Much as they hate Uncle Sam, they like Sam’s money.

Our sanctions on Venezuela are telling the Cubans that they have to
choose between the U.S. and Venezuela. Their rage suggests that they
don’t like it. And that might just be a good thing. So OK: half a cheer
for Obama. Unlike his leadership in other parts of the world, he just
might have a strategy here.

Source: It’s Early, But Obama’s Venezuela-Cuba Gambit Might Just Work – –

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