Venezuela Election Hurts Cuba

Victory for Miami and Washington 
Photo courtesy: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images
         The above photo was taken yesterday -- Sunday, December 6th, 2015, in Caracas -- and it is one that Cuba did not want to see this Monday morning. It shows opposition leaders in Venezuela's crucial National Assembly election celebrating a resounding victory over the socialist party led by President Nicolas Maduro, one of Cuba's dearest friends. The jubilant lady on the left above is Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo Lopez, a powerful opposition leader imprisoned by President Maduro. 

          This AP/Ariana Cubilos photo shows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro right after casting his vote in Sunday's National Assembly election. His Socialist Party suffered a resounding defeat. The Democratic Unity Party won 99 of the 167 seats to only 46 for the Socialist Party with 24 additional seats undecided. In 1999 Hugo Chavez was elected President and then survived a brief coup in 2002 that he blamed on the George W. Bush White House in Washington along with rich Cuban-Americans in Miami. After the failed coup Chavez moved Venezuela more pro-Cuban and anti-American. Chavez died of cancer in 2013 at age 58 and his hand-picked successor, Maduro, won a close and fiercely contested presidential election. Maduro's term ends in 2019 but now the National Assembly will likely commence impeachment proceedings. Like Chavez, Maduro is supported by Venezuela's poor but the National Assembly election results were not surprising considering horrific problems in the oil rich but cash poor nation of 30 million people. Shortages of food and other staples, including diapers, have caused major headaches exacerbated by off-the-chart inflation. The tough-talking Maduro late Sunday surprised some by saying he would "accept" the result of the National Assembly election but he still wields considerable power as President supported by the military and a strong segment of the poorest Venezuelans. The political turmoil will continue unabated and, as always, it will pit the Socialist Party supported by the poor against the Democratic Unity Party that supposedly is supported by the rich in Venezuela as well as the rich in Miami. Indeed, both the BBC and AJAM networks reported Cuban and Venezuelan restaurants in Miami intently monitoring and then wildly cheering the election results in Venezuela. For the first time in 17 years, the rural poor in Venezuela have lost to the urban rich.
      Henrique Capriles is the big winner from Sunday's National Assembly elections in Venezuela. Capriles is the 43-year-old Governor of Miranda, a powerful state. Capriles barely lost the presidential election to Maduro in 2013. Capriles is considered an American-aligned capitalist. He attended Columbia University; his father had connections to Kraft Foods, Nabisco, etc. Capriles represents the rich U.S.-connected Venezuelan capitalists who promise, when they replace Maduro, that they will take care of the rural poor who benefited the last 16 years from Chavez-Maduro programs, but they also promise to tie Venezuela's economy to America's and put an end to Venezuela's massive deal with Cuba that involves such things as oil for Cuba in exchange for thousands of Cuban medical workers in poor areas.
        This photo is courtesy of Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images. It shows Maria Corina Machado, one of the happiest people in Caracas today -- Monday, December 7th. A powerful ally of Henrique Capriles, the 48-year-old Machado has spent the last 16 years in fierce opposition to a Chavez-Maduro socialist movement in Venezuela. She is shown above campaigning for the National Assembly election that handed Maduro a huge congressional defeat Sunday. Both the late Hugo Chazez and President Maduro have accused Machado of being aligned with the Cuban-Venezuelan faction in Miami as well as the Bush dynasty. In fact, Chavez...as well as historians...accused Machado of being involved with the George W. Bush administration in 2002 when Chavez was briefly overthrown in a coup. Indeed, as late as May of 2014, Maduro has accused Machado of plotting to overthrow him. Now, after Sunday's National Assembly triumph, Venezuela's U.S.-connected Capriles-Machado combine is primed to unseat Maduro by impeachment or by election.
           For sure, as a prime opponent of President Chavez, Maria Corina Machado was always welcome at the White House during the George W. Bush administration.
Maria Corina Machado and President George W. Bush, a photo that resonates in Venezuela to this very day.
        Maria Corina Machado and the U.S.-friendly capitalists are now in control of Venezuela's powerful National Assembly. How, or if, they care for the poor people remains to be seen.   
Photo courtesy: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
         For sure, Cuba has no reason to rejoice about this photo that shows opposition forces in Venezuela celebrating their triumph in the country's National Assembly election yesterday. Similar celebrations resounded in Miami and Washington.  
       Posters like this -- featuring images of Hugo Chavez, Simon Bolivar and President Nicolas Maduro -- are ubiquitous in the poorest areas of Venezuela. But the rich elite now in control of the country's National Assembly can now begin the alignment of Venezuela with Miami and Washington. Bolivar's image is still safe but posters like this in Venezuela might soon fall victim to the shifting political winds.
        These three women are great admirers of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution and they have each twice been democratically elected as Presidents of extremely important, Cuban-friendly Latin American nations. That's President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina on the left; President Michelle Bachelet of Chile in the middle; and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil. But Fernandez is term-limited and last month her hand-picked successor lost an election to a U.S.-friendly capitalist named Mauricio Macri. Bachelet in Chile is facing anti-government street protests. And impeachment proceedings are now marring Dilma Rousseff's second term.
      This Vestei Marcelino/Reuters photo shows a harassed Dilma Rousseff fighting back against impeachment proceedings in her second term as President of Brazil, Latin America's richest and most powerful nation. This photo, coupled with the recent elections in Venezuela and Argentina, is emblematic of the winds of change in Latin America that are adversely affecting Cuba at a very inopportune time.
      Danny Ortega, the Cuban-friendly President of Nicaragua, is pointing his finger directly at Miami and Washington "as the prime instigators of the constant pressure democratically elected Presidents trying to help the poor people throughout Latin America are being subjected to by the Cubans in Miami and in the U. S. Congress. They are hell-bent and unchecked in targeting the legitimate governments of my country, Nicaragua, as well as Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and all the nations in the region friendly to Cuba. If they get their way, it will be like in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s when the U. S. dictated governments throughout Latin America, even if the CIA had to overthrow democratically elected governments, like in Guatemala in 1953, in Chile in 1973, and so forth. Only now it's not the CIA so much. It's Miami Cubans and congressional Cubans. Cuba's revolution in the 1950s and Nicaragua's in the 1970s changed things, but it's happening again." In the last couple of weeks, Ortega has been irked as Nicaragua's military blocked thousands of Cubans at the Costa Rican border, slowing their efforts to reach U. S. soil at the Mexican border.

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