The US accused Cuba and Russia of “undermining democracy” in Venezuela.
Pompeo said very derogatory things about the South American country’s two allies, including accusing Cuba of being “the true imperialist power” and “communist overlords” while alleging that Russia’s resource and mineral trade with Venezuela amounts to Moscow’s partner being a “personal ATM” for its “oligarchs”. The Secretary of State is clearly trying to deflect from his administration’s failure to thus far carry out regime change against the Bolivarian Republic and instead blame it on the two countries that have done the most to help Maduro survive this crisis, reframing their security and economic assistance as “undermining democracy” because it’s prevented self-professed “president” Guaido from seizing power.
Specifically, Cuba is thought to have provided important training and advisory assistance to the Bolivarian Republic’s armed forces since Chavez’s democratic revolution succeeded at the turn of the century, while Russia’s energy and mineral trade with the country is a much-needed “pressure valve” from unilateral US sanctions. In return, Cuba gained a loyal ideological ally that has since shipped it heavily subsidized oil through the Petrocaribe program, while Russia established a strategic foothold in the Western Hemisphere and earned a lot of money from the aforementioned two trades and the military one as well. These mutually beneficial relationships, however, are now under strain because of American pressure.
Bolton announced that secondary sanctions might be imposed against “insurance companies and flag carriers” that continue Venezuela’s Petrocaribe shipments to Cuba in defiance of the Guadio-led National Assembly’s temporary suspension of this practice after the US’ cyberattack on the country crippled its power grid. If enforced, this could contribute to worsening hardships for the Cuban people and roll back the progressive increase in living standards that occurred over the past few years. Regarding Russia, Lukoil stopped its swap operations with Venezuela in response to American sanctions, and it can’t be discounted that others such as Rosneft might one day follow if the pressure on them becomes too intense.
Bearing this in mind, Pompeo’s singling out of Cuba and Russia wasn’t just meant to shift the blame for the US’ failed regime change operation from its own ineffective plans and the resilience of the Venezuelan people to Cuba and Russia’s security and economic assistance to Caracas, respectively, but to also create a public pretext for ramping up pressure against both of them as well. Bolton already declared late last year that the US “stands with the freedom fighters” in the so-called “Troika of Tyranny” that also includes Cuba, and it’s no secret that the US is trying to “contain” Russia too, so it all makes perfect sense in hindsight.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review