Las Relaciones Desmedidas Reply

Una mujer con la cara pintada de la bandera cubana frente a la embajada de Cuba en Venezuela. / Juan Barreto (AFP)

Una mujer con la cara pintada de la bandera cubana frente a la embajada de Cuba en Venezuela. / Juan Barreto (AFP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Todo empezó con 29 agentes que llegaron en 1997 a ayudar a Hugo Chávez
  • Ahora miles de cubanos trabajan y controlan la Administración pública venezolana
  • Prohibo tener amigos venezolanos

By Cristina Marcano, El Pais Internacional

Cuando el doctor Janoi González aterrizó en el aeropuerto internacional Simón Bolívar, de Venezuela se sintió como si no hubiera salido de Cuba. “No había un solo venezolano, la estructura estaba dirigida por cubanos”, afirma refiriéndose a una parte de la zona bajo control militar conocida como Rampa 4, de exclusivo uso oficial. El experto en radiodiagnóstico, natural de Pinar del Río, entró al país un mediodía de diciembre de 2012 sin que sus documentos fueran revisados por autoridad venezolana alguna. “No hay chequeo de migración. Unos funcionarios cubanos te dan unas palabras de bienvenida, vivas a Chávez y a la revolución, y te ponen un cuño [sello] en el pasaporte”. Ese sello dice: “Válido solo Cuba Venezuela.”

Janoi González es uno de los miles de cooperantes enviados por La Habana a Venezuela y, como muchos de ellos, se vio sometido a unas pésimas condiciones de trabajo y a una vigilancia aún más estrecha que la que normalmente sufre en su país natal. “Se cobraba una basura: 1.200 bolívares [entonces 200 euros según el cambio oficial y 50 en el mercado negro]”. Carecía de libertad de movimientos y vivía hacinado. Al principio tuvo que compartir con seis personas una habitación de 20 metros cuadrados en un motel de Guanare, la capital agrícola de Venezuela. Luego, en la cercana Acarigua, eran “17 en cinco habitaciones, con un solo baño”, detalla por teléfono desde Estados Unidos, adonde escapó en 2013.

Si se observa detenidamente el mapa de América, Cuba luce como una pequeña lengua, un jirón de tierra que pareciera flotar a la deriva. Nada más lejos de la realidad. Anclada en una vieja dictadura comunista, la isla ha tenido claro dónde encontrar dólares para mantenerse a flote. En los últimos 15 años, esa lengua de 108.000 kilómetros cuadrados, con una de las economías más atrasadas, ha logrado saciar su apetito en Venezuela, un país nueve veces más grande, tres veces más poblado y con enormes recursos; entre ellos, las mayores reservas de crudo del mundo.

La Habana recibe diariamente de Caracas más de 100.000 barriles de petróleo en condiciones preferentes, que paga con trabajadores de la salud. Además, obtiene inversiones directas, créditos blandos, subsidios y millonarios contratos como intermediario de importaciones venezolanas de alimentos, bienes y equipos a terceros países.

http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2014/03/28/actualidad/1396026665_272257.html

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Armed Pro-Govt Militias Roil Venezuela Protests 1

 In this photo taken on Friday, March 14, 2014. Boys that play in a minor league baseball team "Atleticos de Crimon" mourn their coach, Guillermo Sanchez after his funeral grave in in Valencia, Venezuela. The people of the poor district of La Isabelica were made to pay for taking to the streets in anti-government protests. More than a dozen masked men on motorcycles roared through, shooting up a barricade and killing a university student and a 42-year-old man painting his house. Fernando Llano / AP Photo


In this photo taken on Friday, March 14, 2014. Boys that play in a minor league baseball team “Atleticos de Crimon” mourn their coach, Guillermo Sanchez after his funeral grave in in Valencia, Venezuela. The people of the poor district of La Isabelica were made to pay for taking to the streets in anti-government protests. More than a dozen masked men on motorcycles roared through, shooting up a barricade and killing a university student and a 42-year-old man painting his house. Fernando Llano / AP Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Fabiola Sanchez & Frank Bajak, Associated Press

VALENCIA, Venezuela — The masked gunmen emerged from a group of several dozen motorcycle-mounted government loyalists who were attempting to dismantle a barricade in La Isabelica, a working-class district of Valencia that has been a center of unrest since nationwide protests broke out last month.

The barricades’ defenders had been hurling rocks, sticks and other objects at the attackers, who included perhaps a dozen armed men, witnesses told The Associated Press.

Lisandro Barazarte, a photographer with the local newspaper, Notitarde, caught images of several of the men shooting into the crowd while steadying their firearms on their palms.

“They were practiced shooters,” Barazarte said. “More were armed, but didn’t fire.”

When it was over, two La Isabelica men were dead: a 22-year-old student, Jesus Enrique Acosta, and a little league baseball coach, Guillermo Sanchez. Witnesses told the AP the first was shot in the head, the second in the back. They said neither was at the barricades when he was killed.

Similar shootings across Venezuela by gunmen allied with the socialist-led government have claimed at least seven lives and left more than 30 people wounded since the anti-government protests began in mid-February.

President Nicolas Maduro has done nothing to publicly discourage the violence by armed pro-government militants, loosely known as “colectivos,” which are also blamed for scores more cases of beatings and intimidation in multiple cities. That includes a March 19 incursion into the architecture academy at the Central University of Venezuela in the capital in which some 40 masked men and women identifying themselves as government defenders bloodied at least a dozen students.

In fact, since the protests began, Maduro and his vice president have each welcomed pro-government “motorizados,” or motorcyclists, to separate events at the presidential palace — a Feb. 24 rally and a “peace conference” on March 13.

Read more here: Armed Pro-Govt Militias Roil Venezuela Protests   

 

BREAKING NEWS: Alianza Martiana to Host Miami Pro-Castro Conference on Sunday 4

The Prensa Latina (PRELA) news agency – a long-time Cuban Intelligence collaborator – announced earlier today that the Alianza Martiana announced plans for a Sunday forum demanding the immediate release of Havana’s three remaining incarcerated spies. The two intelligence officers — Gerardo Hernandez and Ramón Labañino — as well as their agent, Antonio Guerrero — were part of the Wasp Network, a vast espionage operation run jointly by the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) and the highly secretive Directorate of Military Intelligence (DIM). The spy ring’s main focus was US military targets from Key West, Florida to northwestern Louisiana.

Alianza Martiana planners also intend to again bemoan Cuba’s alleged difficulty in working with US banks and call on President Obama to end the US embargo. Held in central Miami, the gathering has become a quarterly event of South Florida’s tiny but vocal community of pro-Castro supporters.

 

 

Hijacked Cuban Planes Still Caught in Limbo 2

FILE - In this Tuesday Nov. 12, 2002 file photo, old single engine airplane are seen at a Cuban airport in Los Palacios, near Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Cuban pilot Nemencio Carlos Alonso Guerra stole a small plane, similar to these shown, and flew to Florida with seven relatives. At face value, they are three old planes not worth much more their parts and scrap metal. Stolen from the Cuban government during a six-month period ending in April 2003 - two by hijackers, one by its pilot - all three landed at Key West International Airport, a 116-mile flight from struggling Havana to the gleaming shores of the U.S. (AP Photo/Jose Goitia, File)

FILE – In this Tuesday Nov. 12, 2002 file photo, old single engine airplane are seen at a Cuban airport in Los Palacios, near Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Cuban pilot Nemencio Carlos Alonso Guerra stole a small plane, similar to these shown, and flew to Florida with seven relatives. At face value, they are three old planes not worth much more their parts and scrap metal. Stolen from the Cuban government during a six-month period ending in April 2003 – two by hijackers, one by its pilot – all three landed at Key West International Airport, a 116-mile flight from struggling Havana to the gleaming shores of the U.S. (AP Photo/Jose Goitia, File)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Christine Armario  (AP) KEY WEST, Fla. — At face value, they are three old planes not worth much more than their parts and scrap metal. Stolen from the Cuban government during a six-month period ending in April 2003 — two by hijackers, one by its pilot — all three landed at Key West International Airport, a 116-mile flight from struggling Havana to the gleaming shores of the U.S.

Fidel Castro repeatedly demanded the planes be returned. Instead, they were seized by U.S. courts to satisfy part of a $27 million judgment won by a Cuban-American woman who had unwittingly married a Cuban spy in Miami.

The story of what happened to the planes in the ensuing years reads like another chapter in the history of stymied, contentious U.S.-Cuba relations, with the new owners unable to get the planes anywhere.

The first of the three planes to land in Key West was a yellow, Soviet-built crop-duster that pilot Nemencio Carlos Alonso Guerra used to fly seven passengers, many of them relatives, to the U.S. in November 2002.

Cuba wanted the biplane back, but a Florida judge agreed with Ana Margarita Martinez that it should be seized and sold to partially pay the judgment she was awarded under an anti-terrorism law. In 1996, her husband, Juan Pablo Roque, had fled back to Cuba after infiltrating the Miami-based anti-Castro group Brothers to the Rescue. The next day, Cuban fighter jets shot down two of the group’s Cessnas over international waters, killing four pilots.

The aging Antonov AN-2 Colt was auctioned at the Key West airport in 2003 and Martinez placed the highest bid, $7,000.

“We had a victory — we got to keep this property of the Cuban government,” Martinez said after the auction.

She hoped to sell it for a profit later but instead gave it to Cuban-American artist Xavier Cortada, who painted half of it with a colorful mural as part of an exhibit commemorating Cuba’s independence.

After the exhibit, Cortada eventually donated the plane to Florida International University, which planned to display it but couldn’t find a building to house it. Today, it deteriorates under tarps on a far corner of FIU’s campus.

Article continues here:  Hijacked Cuban planes still caught in limbo

Venezuela-Cuba Military Cooperation and the Narco-Terrorist Connection 3

Key Figures at the Head of the Oppressive Alliance

By Pedro Roig, The Canal [Blog of the PanAm Post]

The rebellion of the Venezuelan youth, demanding the end of Nicolás Maduro’s presidency, has brought into the forefront the nature of a regime that can be defined as a highly corrupt narco-terrorist state supported by Cuban military forces and Colombian drug cartels.

Venezuela, a country of 29 million people, is blessed with a good climate, rich land, the largest oil reserve in the world and access to major industrial markets. It has every expectation of prospering and becoming a modern, wealthy state. Yet the ruling oligarchy, led by the late-Hugo Chávez and now Nicolás Maduro, understood their revolutionary goal as a right to pillage the national wealth, turning the country into a decrepit caricature of Cuba’s Marxist failure and a secure route for Colombia’s narco-guerrilla to smuggle cocaine to the international markets.

The Cuban Connection

First and foremost, the Maduro government hold to power depends to a large extent on Cuba’s special forces of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) estimated at over 7,000. This is not counting medical and other support personnel (over 30,000) deployed throughout Venezuela.

In addition, Cubans helped train several thousand trusted Chavistas. Called collectivos, these motorcycle gangs can be seen in the videos and pictures helping the National Guard repress peaceful protests and shooting unarmed students (presently, more than 25 students have been murdered and over 300 hundred wounded).

Currently, General Raul Castro has several high ranking officers providing tactical and strategic advice to the Venezuelans, including General Leonardo Ramón Andollo, second chief of the general staff of the Ministry of the Armed Forces (MINFAR), Comandante Ramiro Valdés, former head of Cuba’s MININT, and General Carlos Fernández Gondin, second in command of the Ministry of Interior. The first two have spent extended periods of time in Venezuela organizing Cuba’s support for Venezuela’s repressive apparatus:

“Comandante Histórico” Ramiro Valdés was trained by the efficient and brutal East-German intelligence agency (STASI). Valdes was the first chief of Cuba’s repressive intelligence force (G-2). He is now Vice President of the Council of State and member of Cuba’s Communist Party Politburo. Valdes has remained in Venezuela for extended periods analyzing intelligence information on Venezuelan military, active and potential opposition officers and retaliatory tactics to be enforced.

Ramón Andollo is a highly trusted link between Colombia’s narco-guerilla FARC and Venezuela’s Armed Forces officers. For over 15 years, General Andollo has been the principal liaison between the Colombian and Venezuelan drug cartels. He has spent extended periods of time in Venezuela. It is reported by MININT defectors that General Andollo has met with Colombian guerrilla leaders in safe areas controlled by the Venezuelan Cartel de los Soles.

Second in Command of Cuba’s Ministry of Interior (MININT), General Fernández Gondin and his staff officers are in overall command of MININT’s Special Forces (over 7,000) deployed in Venezuela.

Feature continues here:  Venezuela-Cuba Military Cooperation and the Narco-Terrorist Connection

Cubanos Dirigen a Paramilitares en Venezuela 1

Miembros de la Guardia Nacional patrullan la zona de la plaza Altamira junto a un cartel de rechazo a la presencia de cubanos en el país. JUAN BARRETO / AFP/Getty Images

Miembros de la Guardia Nacional patrullan la zona de la plaza Altamira junto a un cartel de rechazo a la presencia de cubanos en el país. JUAN BARRETO / AFP/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antonio Maria Delgado, ADelgado@elNuevoHerald.com

Los grupos paramilitares chavistas, que han estado detrás de gran parte de la violencia registrada en las manifestaciones de Venezuela, están siendo coordinados por personal cubano enviado por La Habana para ayudar al régimen de Nicolás Maduro a superar lo que es visto como la mayor amenaza enfrentada por la revolución bolivariana en más de una década.

Ex agentes de Inteligencia de Venezuela y fuentes con acceso directo a oficiales activos de la Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana dijeron a El Nuevo Herald que Cuba juega un papel estelar en la represión emprendida por Maduro contra los manifestantes venezolanos, encargándose de operaciones que van desde la seguridad en los alrededores del palacio presidencial hasta la planificación de futuros arrestos de opositores.

Y en lo que ha tenido graves repercusiones en las jornadas de protesta contra Maduro, los cubanos son los que están planificando las operaciones de entre 600 y 1,000 hombres armados que conforman las bandas paramilitares chavistas, conocidas en Venezuela como colectivos.

“Ellos [los cubanos] son los que están coordinando a los colectivos”, dijo una de las fuentes que sostiene frecuentes contactos con personal militar venezolano y que habló bajo condición de anonimato.

“La mayor parte de la presencia militar cubana está en [el palacio presidencial de] Miraflores, y se ha incrementado con el correr de las manifestaciones. Este equipo no está en el Fuerte Tiuna [la principal instalación militar de Caracas], porque en el fuerte hay mucho rechazo”, agregó.

Portavoces del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos dijeron no estar en condiciones de confirmar o desmentir versiones sobre la participación de personal cubano en la represión de las manifestaciones en Venezuela.

Los colectivos han sido los responsables de buena parte de la sangre derramada durante las manifestaciones de protesta emprendidas contra Maduro, donde al menos 29 personas han perdido la vida, más de 400 han resultado heridas –muchas de ellas por armas de fuego– y más de 1,300 personas han sido arrestadas.

Según múltiples testimonios recogidos después de las manifestaciones, integrantes de los colectivos han disparado abiertamente contra los manifestantes bajo la mirada cómplice de agentes de la Guardia Nacional, y son quienes han provocado muchas de las muertes y de las heridas de bala registradas.

La fuente con acceso a los oficiales venezolanos dijo que el equipo cubano que opera desde el palacio presidencial está conformado por cerca de una veintena de oficiales y funcionarios de alto rango.

El equipo está sirviendo al régimen de Maduro como asesores, recomendando algunas de las operaciones de represión emprendidas por el régimen en los últimos días.

Pero también son los que están dirigiendo a los colectivos, dijo un ex funcionario de inteligencia de Venezuela que se mantiene en contacto con el Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia (SEBIN).

Lea más aquí: Cubanos Dirigen a Paramilitares en Venezuela

Castro Son-In-Law Promoted to General 7

Newly appointed Brigadier General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas

Newly appointed Brigadier General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas

Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas appears to remain a powerful figure despite reports that he has fought with the family.

By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@elNuevoHerald.com

A powerful son-in-law of Cuban ruler Raúl Castro, in charge of the military enterprises that dominate the island’s economy, has been promoted to general despite recurring reports of tensions with his wife and brother-in-law.

Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, in his mid-50s and long identified as a colonel in the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), was identified as a brigadier general in a Jan. 29 report in the Web pages of Cubadefensa, a FAR publication.

Rodriguez heads the Enterprise Administration Group (GAESA), the FAR’s business arm — the military controls 80 percent of the Cuban economy, including hotels, factories, restaurants and airlines — and sits on the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

He also is spearheading the $1 billion development project for the Port of Mariel west of Havana, Cuba’s strategic bet for reinserting itself into the global economy with the help of $800 million in financing from Brazil.

Military promotions in secretive Cuba are seldom announced, but Cubadefensa revealed his new rank in a brief report saying he attended a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the military-run Almacenes Universales S.A.

Rodriguez, married to Castro’s oldest daughter, Deborah Castro Espín, is widely viewed as one of the most powerful and ambitious men in Cuba — smart, arrogant, frugal and a highly effective administrator of GAESA.

His promotion to general supported speculation that he might succeed Castro eventually because he holds a high military rank, knows the economy, comes from a good family and married into an even more important one. His father, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Rodríguez del Pozo, was one of the Fidel Castro guerrillas who seized power in 1959.

“This means that he remains in contention, despite what people have been saying about his troubles,” said Luis Dominguez, a Miami exile who first reported Rodriguez’s promotion in his blog, Cuba al Descubierto — Cuba Uncovered.

Retired CIA analyst Brian Latell, who authored two books on Cuba, said the new rank is commensurate with the general’s responsibilities at the very profitable GAESA. “I would say he earned his star fair and square,” he said.

But Rodriguez also has been reported to have clashed often with Deborah and her brother, Alejandro Castro Espín, 48, an Interior Ministry colonel who is Castro’s chief intelligence advisor and runs a tough anti-corruption campaign.

Read more here: Castro Son-In-Law Promoted to General

Castro Son-In-Law Promoted to General

Cuban Spies “Testify” in Show For Castro Supporters in London Reply

From March 7-8th, an “International Commission” was held in London as part of the “Free the Five” campaign. In a grossly bigoted piece of political theater, alleged expert witnesses, pro-Castro attorneys, and family members of the five spies provided “testimony” before an audience said to number roughly 250 persons. Only claims supporting the immediate release of the failed spies were permitted.

The absurd proceedings included Lawyers for the Cuban 5 parroting their long-running denial that their spy-clients had no connection to the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down. Even more hypocritical was the “testimony” of expelled spies Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, and Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernández. Completing this 3-ring circus was the appearance of senior Cuban Intelligence officer, Roberto Hernández Caballero.

I will give them credit — what regime supporters lack in credibility, they certainly make up for in chutzpah!

The highly entertaining Press Release from “Free the 5” can be read here: International Commission in London calls on Obama to free the Five

Anti-Government Marchers in Caracas Slam Cuban ‘Invader’ 1

(AFP) Caracas — Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched against Cuban meddling in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

Under the late elected socialist revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez, Venezuela forged tight ties with Cuba, becoming its closest regional ally and economic mainstay of the Americas’ only communist regime.

The close bilateral alliance, which includes military and security cooperation, is still pursued under President Nicolas Maduro’s year-old government.

At least 28 people have been killed and 400 injured in the student-led protests that began February 4 in western Venezuela and spread to Caracas and other cities.

Oil-rich Venezuela has seen almost daily anti-government demos as tens of thousands of people vent their rage over the soaring violent crime rate, spiraling inflation and a lack of basic household goods like toilet paper.

Clad mostly in white T-shirts, marchers waved signs such as “Cuba get out of the Armed Forces,” “Get out Cuban spies” and “If we keep this up, we will be the Castrocuban Republic of Venezuela.”

Marchers were called out to the streets by the Popular Will, an opposition organization led by Leopoldo Lopez. He has been jailed since February 18.

The chanting throngs, sounding noisy horns, tried to march on the Cuban Embassy to rally.

But authorities blocked them from getting to their target, and demonstrators headed to La Carlota military airfield instead.

The bilateral alliance also includes energy, food, defense and health care.

Manuel Rangel, 24, waved a banner with a portrait of Cuban revolution icon Fidel Castro: warning “Get out Invader!”

“We completely reject Cuban involvement in our affairs, of the Castro brothers in our Armed Forces and in our institutions,” the university student said.

Some analysts say there are Cuban advisers and Cubans taking part in Venezuela’s security. Caracas does not comment on the claims.

Cash-strapped Cuba depends almost entirely on Venezuela’s largesse billed as solidarity aid to keep afloat its ailing, Soviet-style centrally managed economy.

Cuba’s top hard-currency earning export is the $6 billion Havana earns each year from sending its medical staff overseas on government contracts.

On the defensive, Maduro said: “I repudiate the entire nazi-fascist campaign that these right-wing cave-dwellers are waging against the Cuban people,” promising to bring ties even closer to Havana.

– Venezuela, Cuba’s neighborhood ATM –

Unless Cuba can pinpoint and exploit the oil reserves it believes it has, and fast, Havana must depend on its Venezuelan economic lifeline to survive.

Maria Godoy, a 50-year-old homemaker, said “Cuban military presence in Venezuela also is to blame for the (deadly) repression at demonstrations” here.

But people are mainly on the streets, Godoy said, because of the economic crisis in a country that has increasingly centralized its own economy.

“We’ve been fighting on the streets for a month. So how has the government improved anything?” she asked. “It hasn’t. Everything is worse. There is nothing on supermarket shelves.”

Workers from the subsidized foods program held a pro-government protest.

“We will defend Chavez’s legacy. It is sacred. The fascist right-wing will not plunge the country into chaos,” one told state television.

– Debate about a debate –

Meanwhile, opposition figure Henrique Capriles, who lost to Maduro in last year’s elections, said he was discussing with the government some format to hold a debate about the current crisis.

Government-controlled media do not feature such debate.

Maduro, often criticized as being rather low on charisma, then shot back on state media that Capriles “has no character, and is two-faced. If someone wants to come for talks, they should do so with respect for the president. If they don’t want to, then to hell with them, damn it.”

Capriles responded to Maduro, who has called for dialogue on the crisis, on Twitter.

“You are pitiful… You quiver at the very idea of a debate. You have painted yourself into a corner,” Capriles said.