01/08/13 - Newsmax.com - Reich: Cuba's Castro Brothers Will Control Venezuela After Chavez' Death
Former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich tells Newsmax that whoever
replaces ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is "not going to be good
for the United States" - which has seen its influence in Latin America
drop to an all-time low under President Obama.
Reich also asserts that Cuba's Castro brothers have been running Venezuela
through "puppet" Chavez in recent years, and Cuban control of the country
is likely to continue following Chavez's death.
Reich was appointed ambassador to the South American nation during the
Ronald Reagan administration and served from 1986 to 1989. He has also
served as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and
was a foreign policy adviser to John McCain during the 2008 presidential
Chavez is hospitalized in Cuba after he had surgery for cancer. His
government announced earlier today that he will not be present at his
swearing in for his next presidential term on Thursday, Jan. 10.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Tuesday, Reich was asked what
is likely to happen if Chavez is not in Venezuela by Thursday.
"According to Venezuelan constitutional lawyers, if Chavez is not in
Venezuela by Thursday to be sworn in, he cannot be sworn in," Reich says.
"However, what the ruling party is trying to do is simply violate the
constitution by sending a delegation from the Supreme Court to Havana to
swear in Chavez in his hospital room where he is either dead or dying or
perhaps in very good health, nobody knows.
"Or alternatively, another faction of the government is saying that Chavez
does not have to be sworn in because he's already the president, so he'll
just continue being the president. Either way it's a violation of the
constitution and it's indicative of the lack of respect that the Chavez
government has had for the people and the laws of Venezuela ever since he
came into power 14 years ago."
Story continues below the video.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly President
Diosdado Cabello are running the country in Chavez's absence and are the
leading candidates to replace Chavez after his death.
The two men "are a distinction with a lack of difference," Reich observes.
"Maduro is not a very charismatic leader, neither is Cabello.
"Maduro came up through the ranks of the labor movement. He is far left,
as they all are. But honestly he appears to be the selected candidate of
choice of Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba.
"The Castro brothers - and I know this is going to be hard for Americans
to believe - have been running Venezuela through Hugo Chavez for the last
several years. They make all the important decisions. Chavez is basically
just a puppet. He talks and talks but the main decisions are made by the
Castros in Havana.
"There are 60,000 Cubans inside Venezuela running all the strategic
communication, the intelligence networks, involved in the military down to
the platoon level, and so Maduro is the candidate of the continuation of
the Cuban control of Venezuela.
"Cabello is also a leftist. He is the nationalist, a leftist nationalist.
Maduro is a leftist pro-Cuban. So whichever one comes to power in
Venezuela is not going to be good for the United States."
But the opposition to Chavez and his cronies "is not very strong," Reich
"They're not well financed. They have lost several elections, but there
are a lot of questions about whether those elections were legitimate or
not. Hugo Chavez always at the last minute has this magic surge in votes
and he ends up winning.
"But whether or not the opposition has been able to garner enough votes,
the fact is that the rules of the elections have been unfair. They have
not been fair once in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez came to power."
With leftist governments in Venezuela and several other nations in Latin
America, the United States has lost much of its influence in the region,
"The U.S. certainly does not have the influence that we've had in the past
and the reason we've had influence in the past is because we were dealing
primarily with democratic parties. I'm talking the last 25 years.
"I'd say the U.S. influence is at an all-time low, but it's also because
the U.S. is not utilizing its influences. The influence, the potential
influence is there, but the Obama administration has elected not to use it
- certainly not to use it in the interest of the United States' strategic
betterment in the region.
"The United States under the Obama administration has reached out to all
these leftists. They have slapped our hand away and [the administration
has] ignored the Democratic governments in the region like Colombia, like
Chile, like Peru. We've had very few initiatives of any significance with
"But at the same time we have told all these leftist governments to work
with them. We're not recognizing that these are not left-of-center
governments, kind of European socialists for example, but these are
Marxist governments. These are governments where the leaders having come
to power begin to dismantle the democratic institutions, beginning with
the electoral process and the judiciary, then the freedom of the press.
"They try to control all the civil institutions like labor unions. And
they've undermined businesses. Pretty soon they end up, for example, like
[Evo] Morales in Bolivia and [Rafael] Correa in Ecuador or [Daniel] Ortega
in Nicaragua. They take control of the country."
In his exclusive Newsmax interview, Reich also accuses Argentina of
"saber-rattling" by renewing its claim to the Falkland Islands.
(c) 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
Original Source / Fuente Original:
CUBA-L FAIR USE NOTICE
This server contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of Cuba's political, economic, human rights, international, cultural, educational, scientific, sports and historical issues, among others. We distribute the materials on the basis of a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. The material is distributed without profit. The material should be used for information, research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ uscode/17/107.shtml.