by Andrew Korybko
PART I: The US’ Geopolitical War Against Venezuela
Ever since the presidency of the late Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has been the brightest multipolar beacon in the Western Hemisphere. Although Brazil is much larger and wealthier, some Latin American states have expressed fear about its future intentions, believing that ‘multipolarity’ is simply a slogan to justify Brasilia’s soft expansion into regional markets and resource reserves and replace Washington’s historical position. Venezuela is thus a much more attractive model to Latin America because it’s clearly motivated by none other than ideological considerations, and its shared language and history with the other former Spanish colonies gives them a degree of familiarity and comfort with the country that they could never fully experience with Brazil.
The natural resource wealth that Venezuela has been endowed with makes it capable of spreading its influence all across the region, which it has institutionalized through the ALBA grouping . For these very reasons, Venezuela is a prime target of the US’ unipolar ‘rebound from the past couple of years, and other than the near-continual asymmetrical attempt at a Color Revolution, the US’ anti-Venezuelan campaign has also taken concrete geopolitical dimensions as well. Three countries (Cuba, Colombia, and Guyana) are being used as proxies of destabilizing influence against Venezuela, and each one fulfills a unique role in advancing the larger American strategy at play. Taken together, the US’ relationship with each of them forms the basis of a containment coalition against Caracas, which if left unchecked, can lead to the dismemberment of ALBA and the stationing of American military units (both ground and naval) right next to Venezuela’s borders.
The article begins by describing how each of these three states is being used by the US to contain Venezuela, with exposes into Cuba and Colombia’s role being contained in the first part. The second part begins by detailing Guyana’s role in all of this, and then summaries the strategic consequences of the emerging trilateral containment of Venezuela. Finally, a set of policy recommendations that Caracas must urgently adhere if it is to survive the coming intensification of strategic and military pressure against it concludes the analytical piece.
Cuba As The Cause Of Multipolar Confusion
At the end of a year that had already brought the world such political surprises as the EuroMaidan coup, the Crimea Reunification, and the rise of ISIL, President Obama announced that the US and Cuba had been engaged in secret negotiations to reestablish diplomatic relations. At the time, the author urged the global public, overwhelmingly pro-Cuban, to exercise caution and restraint in over-enthusiastically describing the developments as a victory for Cuba. The audience was reminded that the US didn’t pursue this decision in a vacuum, and that there were clear geopolitical motivations behind it, specifically to split ALBA and destabilize the rest of its member states (notably Nicaragua and Venezuela). Going further, the author investigated the strategic consequences of the proposed move and showed that Raul Castro risked reversing the entire Cuban Revolution, concluding that the country had essentially surrendered without a shot after its valiant half-century-long resistance made it a legendary actor in the global consciousness.
The entire episode was presented as a victory for Cuba at the US’ expense, but the reality has always been the opposite. The US gladly sucked up the ‘loss’ in order to strategically disarm the rest of the Western Hemisphere’s multipolar states, who were now led to believe that if Cuba, one of the global leaders of the anti-American political resistance, could cut a deal with the US, why couldn’t they? The premature celebratory atmosphere and Raul’s absurd proclamation that “Obama is an honest man” made many people, even in the region, forget that Obama’s first coup was actually against Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in 2009 and how the US exploited Haiti’s 2010 catastrophe in order to occupy it indefinitely . Still, because the act was agreed upon by two sovereign governments, the rest of the world, even those who may have harbored geostrategic suspicions about Cuba’s move and recognized the ridiculousness of Raul’s pro-Obama rhetoric, were forced into issuing surface statements of support that echoed the reactionary global sentiment.
The US’ flipping of Cuba was intended to achieve three goals, two of which it has already met:
Create Ideological Confusion:
Washington succeeded in sowing confusion between the multipolar states in the region, which were now forced to second-guess their ideological commitment to opposing the US after their role model was unexpectedly revealed to have been in top-secret negotiations with it for a couple of years already. Countries like Venezuela now had to consider under what circumstances they, too, would cut a deal with the US if it came to it. Would it be after implicit threats had been issued against it, or after a Color Revolution had been attempted? How about in the midst of a heavy economic war? The point here is that while the idea had previously been to weather the storm as long as possible, using Cuba as an inspiration, the entire paradigm changed when Havana opened up talks with Washington, and now a negotiated surrender of sorts seems not only ideologically possible, but perhaps even admirable.
Push Venezuela To A ‘Compromise’:
Continuing along the trajectory of the first goal, the US wants to pressure Venezuela to the point where it’s forced to enter into a similar surrender agreement as Cuba, although one that’s of course also falsely marketed as a ‘defeat’ for Washington. Venezuela, strategically vulnerable as a result of Cuba’s compromised geopolitical and ideological position per the Raul deal, has actually initiated steps towards this move. According to a Reuters report uncoincidentally released on the same day that Obama announced the date for the restoration of American-Cuban diplomatic relations, President Maduro made the overtures in the midst of an aggressive Color Revolution campaign , the designation of his country as a ‘ national security threat ’ to the US, and a failed coup and assassination plot . He obviously didn’t intend to negotiate from a position of strength, but likely initiated the dialogue anyhow because, after all, if Cuba could do it under arguably less pressing circumstances, why couldn’t Venezuela do so in a much worse situation? It remains to be seen how far this process will go and whether Caracas will eventually agree to make any geopolitical concessions as a form of ‘safety payment’ to Uncle Sam or if this is all just a time-buying tactic, but it’s important to highlight that this development wouldn’t have even been conceivable had it not been for Cuba’s symbolic capitulation to the US first.
Manufacture A Crisis In Venezuelan-Cuban Relations:
Should Venezuela not accede to the US’ demands, then it’s likely that Washington will eventually try to manufacture a fake crisis between Caracas and Havana in a bid to divide the two ideological allies along the template of a 21st-century Sino-Soviet split. Both states stand in ideological alignment within ALBA, but the emergence of some forthcoming source of friction between them (perhaps naturally stemming from the result of Raul’s surrender or emerging differences over FARC) could fatefully divide the bloc into two camps, much as the Sino-Soviet split divided the communist world. Given that ALBA is a much smaller, weaker, and looser model of integration than the communist bloc, it’s expected that such a division between its two major poles could quickly lead to its unravelling and would take the multipolar governments of Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia down with it. In order for this scenario to happen, some form of disagreement must emerge between Venezuela and Cuba, and with the latter buddying up with the US lately out of desperation to seal the diplomatic deal, it’s predicted that it’ll be the one to take the first step in souring bilateral ties when the time eventually comes.
* * *
Overall, Venezuela’s threat assessment of Cuba is strictly of a strategic nature and doesn’t have any military component behind it, although that isn’t in any way to underestimate the potential for destabilization emanating from the island’s pivot. The US’ co-opting of Cuba is the Latin American relationship that has had the most immediate effects on Venezuela’s national security, albeit in an indirect way, since it’s already led to it entering into secret talks with Washington after having survived a string of failed Color Revolutions, coups, and assassination plots. The only reason Venezuela would deign to speak to the US after such blatant affronts to its sovereignty (to say nothing of the intense economic war being waged against its people) and risk contradicting its proud anti-American rhetoric is because the deal with Cuba showed that it’s acceptable for beleaguered multipolar states to eventually throw in the towel of resistance, provided of course that the US helps them save face by calling it a ‘victory’ and goes along with the entire charade. In the future, if Venezuela doesn’t surrender (which it doesn’t seem likely to do), then it may find itself engaged in an unfriendly regional competition with its former ideological mentor, prodded on by the US, in what could likely lead to at least a few multipolar casualties (e.g. Ecuador, Nicaragua) in the region.
Creating A Casus Belli For Colombia
Colombia has functioned as the US’ Lead From Behind proxy for decades already, and it’s not predicted that this relationship will change anytime soon. If anything, it’ll only strengthen, and the impetus for this is the US’ geopolitical war against Venezuela. It’s well-known that the two Andean neighbors don’t exactly have a recent history of cordial relations with one another (although they’ve lately been somewhat on the mend), and they almost went to war in 2008 after Colombia staged a unilateral special forces operation against FARC in Venezuelan-allied Ecuador, so the there’s certainly an atmosphere of exploitable hostility and mistrust that’s developed between them. While the US can certainly use Colombia as a staging ground for anti-Venezuelan destabilization operations (special forces deployments, information warfare hubs, etc.), the country’s real potential opens up once the FARC conflict is finally resolved.
Herein lies the overlap between the US’ moves in Cuba and Colombia. The FARC peace talks have been ongoing in Havana, which has just pivoted towards the US. As a result of the island’s foreign policy reversal towards the US, Washington reciprocated by removing Havana from the list of ‘ state sponsors of terrorism ’. The sticking point is that the US officially designates FARC, which Cuba has had ties to in the past, as a terrorist organization, although it recognizes that Havana hasn’t provided any material support to it, ergo its removal from the list. An interesting diplomatic tango is going on here, whereby the US removed Cuba from the politically minded ‘state terrorism’ list not only as a prerequisite for the resumption of bilateral relations (and to give Cuba a symbolic victory), but also with the expectation that the quid pro quo would be for Havana to sincerely press the group to reach an historic peace accord. With the US, Colombia, and Cuba all pushing for peace, the likelihood for an historic breakthrough increases, which, although it’s long overdue and theoretically in everyone’s interests to see happen (including Venezuela’s), could predictably lead to long-term negative consequences for Caracas.
Here’s the four-step anti-Venezuelan plan that the US would like to see come into effect after a Colombia-FARC agreement is reached:
1. Colombian Military Deployment Along The Venezuelan Border:
As it stands, FARC has lost a tremendous amount of its territory since 2002, now only occupying various niches scattered haphazard throughout the country. Still, the group’s existence and its recently renewed campaign against the government (even in light of the ongoing peace negotiations) creates a less than desirable security situation for the country, and accordingly detracts from a significant military focus along the Venezuelan border. Should FARC be neutralized, however, then the Colombian military could reverse this state of affairs and concentrate more on the country’s external security as opposed to its internal one. As such, it’s likely that Colombia’s military will strengthen its position along the border and reinforce strategic areas. In the event of future hostilities with Venezuela, this could give the Colombians a decisive edge and tilt the balance of power in its favor, especially if Caracas has to contend with a simultaneous threat from Guyana (to be described later). This change of affairs would ironically place Venezuela in the same position that Colombia once found itself in during 2008, when it was between two potential foes (Venezuela and Ecuador) and on the verge of war with both.
2. More US Bases:
The US already has a handful of bases in Colombia, but following the conclusion of the FARC conflict, it’ll probably expand its military footprint even more. Ostensible ‘justification’ for such deployments could be to help the Colombian government ‘reinforce control’ over the formerly rebel-administered zones (a derivation of the US argument for giving military assistance to Kiev), and it doesn’t matter whether the military presence is permanent, rotating, or part of an extended ‘training’ regimen (again, like Ukraine ). In essence it’s all the same, since the US won’t withdraw from Colombia just as it won’t pick up and leave from Germany, and just as it crept ever eastward towards Russia after the end of the Cold War in Europe, it’ll do the same in regards to Venezuela after the FARC war in Colombia. The combination of US and Colombian military deployment and hand-in-hand cooperation along Venezuela’s borders would lead to a deterioration of the security situation and offer tempting opportunities for staging a false-flag attack.
3. Aggressive Colombian Claims For The Guajira Peninsula And Related Maritime Area:
As it stands, Colombia controls the vast majority of the Guajira Peninsula, with Venezuela only administering a tiny sliver along Lake Maracaibo. Still, as a result of its control over the Los Monjes islands (basically tiny, inhospitable rocks) at the lake’s entrance to the Caribbean, Venezuela is able to exercise sovereignty over the entire oil-rich area, which forms the bedrock of its natural resource industry, and the Gulf of Venezuela that connects it to the outside world. Colombia has taken issue with this since the 1950s , and the dispute once more resurfaced after Maduro released Decree 1787 on 26 May to create Operating Zones of Integral Maritime and Insular Defence (Zodimain) along the Colombian and Guyanese maritime borders. Per its relation to Colombia, Bogota is incensed that it’s now cut out of the opportunity to control its neighbor’s most critical maritime trading route, and it’s possible that it could try to transnationalize the crisis by bringing the US in on its side. Such a development would surely increase the geopolitical pressure on Venezuela, and might even see the US beefing up its forward operating locations in nearby Aruba and Curacao. Furthermore, the Fourth Fleet might even decide to set up a ‘temporary’ location in Colombia’s planned state-of-the-art naval facility in Tierrabomba, right near Cartagena and within operational capacity of the Guajira Peninsula.
4. Chase FARC Into Venezuela:
The final step of the US’ ideal plan in Colombia would be for the country’s military to ‘chase’ renegade FARC units into Venezuela, preferably at a time when the country is undergoing the height of Color Revolution destabilization. The pretense would be simple enough – rogue FARC units would be accused of operating cross-border and exploiting Venezuela’s domestic difficulties, which would give Colombia the ‘justification’ it needs for surgical strikes against its neighbor. If this sounds like the same thing that happened in Ecuador in 2008, it’s because it is, just this time, with Venezuela much weaker than it previously was, such brazen breaches of national sovereignty could now be directed to the east with the intent of decisively shifting its neighbor’s domestic balance of power towards the side of the Color Revolutionaries. Expanding upon this scenario, it might just so happen that the Colombian military ‘tracks’ the supposed FARC fighters to the Guajira Peninsula, and the resultant military intervention there could lead to a fait accompli of Colombian control over disputed mainland territories. This would carry over into a change of maritime boundaries (the main purpose) that would give Colombia control over the primary access point to Venezuela’s critical oil reserves, Lake Maracaibo.
Because of the concrete geopolitical benefits that this scenario would entail, it’s meant to infer that any potential cross-border anti-FARC raids on Venezuelan territory would only be staged by Colombia in the midst of its neighbor’s deteriorating domestic situation, most likely a partially successful Color Revolution. In fact, there might not be any cross-border FARC fighters to begin with, but if Colombia’s information apparatus (aided by the US’ global communication networks like CNN) manages to coordinate a buildup of hype concurrent with the escalation of a Color Revolution campaign in Venezuela, then it could create the ‘plausible pretexts’ for at least threatening such an intervention. This in turn would keep the Venezuelan military on edge and unable to fully deploy in the cities experiencing the worst unrest, as they would have to retain a sizeable enough deterrent force on the Colombian border to guard against the possible threat. Thus, even if Colombia never crosses over into Venezuelan territory, the mere threat of doing so in the context of a full-scale Color Revolution could be enough to achieve the desired power tilt that the anti-Venezuelan forces are looking for, and the successful completion of the regime change operation could bring to power a pro-Colombian government that’s amenable to changing maritime and/or land borders to Bogota’s favor.
* * *
The threat coming from Colombia is of a classic military nature and seeks to physical contain Venezuela. While its consequences would be severe, much of the plan is ultimately contingent on the resolution of the FARC war. The longer that the conflict drags on for, the more time Venezuela can gain for itself in crafting an adequate defense against such military-political intrigue, thereby meaning that although it’s in favor of a peaceful settlement, it does acquire a certain strategic edge if the reconciliation process can be prolonged as much as possible. While it’s indeed possible that the US could deepen its military commitment to Colombia if the FARC war intensifies, it may not be able to project the coordinated force against Venezuela that it envisions if the domestic conflict is still ongoing or is not yet fully resolved. Additionally, since it’s expected that US forces will continue their involvement in Colombia after the war anyhow, from Caracas’ strategic perspective, it’s better for them to focus more on FARC for as long as possible before they set their full attention on Venezuela. Even if a peace treaty is signed tomorrow, it will still take some time for government control to be entirely reestablished throughout all regions of Colombia, meaning that the abovementioned scenario of anti-Venezuelan destabilization is one to prepare for in the near future (at the earliest), but which has yet to see immediate consequences for the time being, although this could of course change pending an unexpected escalation of the Guajira Peninsula and related maritime dispute.
The 2nd part of this report will be posted tomorrow
An don’t forget Curacao/Aruba with its NATO presence as intelligence hub and airport used for US military reconnaissance planes. The empire even organized an assessination of Hermin Wiels in 2013, the very popular candidate of the Pueblo Soberano, who stood for independence from the Dutch crown and better relations to Latin America.
I hope Andrew would soon do an in-depth analysis of Brazil.
Venezuela is a minor target compared to Brazil and the role it serves in the BRICS and with China’s global scheme for development of Latin America.
Venezuela will always be a target because of oil. The socialist experiment, once thought to be a threat of contagion, is such a disaster, it is not the core of what the US fears.
Basing of Chinese and Russian navies is more frightening to the US.
China and Venezuela are working on a 10-year plan of cooperation.
I agree with Larchmonter445… The first paragraph is far from being an accurate picture of Brazil’s role in the region
Mr. Korybko makes multiple references to “the article” and “the author” and “the audience.”
Do we know what article, author and audience he is referring to?
I try to stay away from first-person references in my writings, and hence “the article” is the piece at hand, “the author” is myself, and “the audience” is you and whoever else reads my work.
Thanks for replying. I think your article is tremendously important, and I have posted a link to it on a fairly popular political blog where I am a member.
The weakness of the Stalinist (1 Party – 1 Idea – 1 flawless unquestionable Leader), 1 dimensional political set up should by now be obvious to all.
Without a free give and take of ideas and initiatives from a free and fearless citizenry, political and spiritual decay sets in. Look at Kiev; look at Havana; look at Miami.
When Stalin died, his political servants were afraid to enter his room and affirm his death. When Gorbachev gave up the ghost in 1990, the Russian people were powerless, and more importantly, clueless as to what was happening to their country, their world, and themselves.
The goodies were divided up among the Party favorites, and Yeltsin and the other puppet leaders
spread their legs and attempted to enjoy their humiliation.
The same may happen in China. One Billion Chinese have absolutely no say in their political or economic future. They are under educated, and not fully formed, alive, contentious political animals. The moral corruption in China is approaching that within the imperialist USA and the rest of the imperialist world. A few are fabulously wealthy and politically powerful, and the 99% exist, (just barely), to serve.
The Cuban cynical Marxist Lemonist elite are free of all restraints to fashion any deal, any deal at all, with the worst genocidal terrorists since WW 2. And the Cuban Masses are silent. Worse the Cuban Masses are politically invisible. Just as with Hollywood Obomber, they do not actually exist. Additionally, the Cubans in Miami also do not exist, as they look on with horror at (what they think is) the American government sell-out to the horrible revolutionary communist regime in Havana, and they are powerless and untrained to do anything about it.
One of the most powerful advantages of revolutionary advances throughout history has been the Egalitarianism, moral and physical of the revolutionists. Perusing the Cubans who entered Havana in 1959, La gente de Playa Giron, the Rabble in Arms of the Lexington and Concord and Valley Forge, the aroused slaves of Toussaint L’Ouverture, Durruti’s Anarchists (as finely described by Orwell, in his “Homage to Catalonia”), the fighting Lacota, those at the Paris Barricades, and the Novorossiyan Militia with their Generals at the front lines and suffering with them, among others, one sees the comraderie and life spirit of the Citizen Revolutionaries.
The Comradery, the Liberty Egalité and Fraternity is absent in totalitarian structures. The people remain powerless children, politically unborn. Without the people in motion, alive and well, resistance to the imperialist New World Order is far more difficult. Deals can be made, sales can be made, and betrayal becomes the order of the day.
The Stalinists in Havana have only prepared their people for Casinos, Bloodsports, and Sexual depravity. Che Guevara, to his credit sought a World Revolution; but his revolution contained a fatal shortcut; it offered no VISION for the future empowerment of the ‘liberated.’ The government offered the newly freed was that of the Exalted and always wise and always right, and always powerful leader (at least until he becomes old, looses his mind, and becomes separated from his people by – more than 2 generations).
With all their flaws, John Locke, the Americans Jefferson, Tom Paine, and Benjamin Franklin, among others, were much closer to the truth. Durruti, Bakunin, Luxemburg, Trotsky at St Petersburg 1905, Martin L. King, Malcalm X, Orwell in Barcelona, and Kennedy in Dallas. Verbs not needed.
For the Democratic Republics!
Take a look at Greece right now. Greece voted no in a referendum. Educated or uneducated, communist, socialist or capitalist seems to make no difference.
Elected or appointed, either one does not seem a guarantee of having a leader or leaders that will look after the best interests of their people.
In the so called educated west, 60 – 70% of the people are easily led by whatever they are fed in the MSM.
It is only like in the case of Greece, where people are doing it that hard that they start looking for answers elsewhere, but even then it didn’t help them.
to Peter J. Antonsen: “El Pueblo unido jamas sera jodido”
Peter, (who me?)
You guys are on the money, as we say.
We see the pressures and tricks tiny Greece is submitted to. Better leaders than Tsipras would cave. Nevertheless, the Vote NO is forever. The Greek peoples do not like to crawl, and they will prevail, and they will set off shock waves across the Mediterranean.
Yes, there is no guarantee these days. However, the referendums in the Crimea, and the Donetz and Luhansk Republics, as with the referendum in Greece, and the 1936 election in the Spanish Republic, will be seen as the high points of their struggles. The people were able to freely participate and freely voice a Clear Yes, or No.
The people performed magnificently, including, old, young, genders, all humans. Many in Novorossiya went directly from the voting booth – to volunteer for the Militia. People in motion are beautiful to see and very difficult to conquer.
China and Cuba are under terrible pressure from the imperialist powers. Their people and their leaders have resisted to some degree and deserve our solidarity. But we must “keep our eyes on the prize.” It is very helpful to have a VISION of what is that prize is. That is what a Constitution, or a Declaration “of Independence” or “of the Rights of Man,” or a “Proclamation of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic,” or, “El Plan de Ayala,” are. They are a commitment (VISION) of the Revolutionary leaders to serve the people (and not the other way around).
The struggle is not easy, but we will do our best.
One day The Saker will be the President of the -truly- United Nations, and Joan Baez will sing IMAGINE as President Ron Paul inaugurates the restored American Democratic Republic.
Peter, don’t forget Bernie Sanders. I’d sure prefer him vs the Paul family…
Stalin is revered and admired in Russia — with good reason.
The Cuban revolution is revered and admired in Latin America and Africa — with good reason.
China is revered and admired in Asia and Africa — with good reason.
The Western Left with its infallible, invincible, and irresistible ultra-super-duper “revolutionaries”, however, are not revered or admired by anybody — with very good reason. More specifically, they don’t have anything on offer except their void, arrogant Western supremacy. It’s plain to see how Peter J Antonsen simply keeps spouting worthless tripe learned by rote. Literally all of it forms part of the West’s intellectually worthless “curriculum”. Ergo: French and Pindos — great peoples spreading revolution and progress (by colonial genocide, but never mind). Lesser peoples outside Western Europe and North America sacrificing themselves for the cause of global emancipation — horrible authoritarianism, the more established buzzwords for which are “Stalinism” and “totalitarianism”.
Again: The Western Left has never liberated anybody — nor will it ever. Trotskyism is only militant First World chauvinism practiced as a pseudo-intellectual pastime among a minuscule segment of Western youth. Deluded to the n:th degree.
I admire, but i don’t revere.
Do I learn tripe by rote?
Am I truly a 1st world chauvinist? Evidence?
Stalin, China, Cuba “revered”??? Revered??? Evidence?
I, who campaigned for Ron Paul, am member of the “Western Left?”
I may be wrong; and it would be the first time!!!
Rightly or wrongly, I do think that Cuba, the Cuban revolution and the resolute Cuban resistance to fifty years of American bullying and attacks, is revered. And while on one hand Cuba is, sort of, an autocratic regime, on the other it is somewhat less so than it seems at first glance, and this may account for the surprising degree to which it has remained fairly faithful to many of the ideals of its revolution for such a long time.
There are an awful lot of elected positions in Cuba, and the people elected to them do quite a bit of governance right down to a quite local, grassroots level. You got once Fidel, now Raoul, at the top calling overall policy, but the whole picture is not as monolithic as it seems through a US lens. It’s still far from my picture of a perfect polity, but consider that recent study so many of us have seen lately that shows the preferences of ordinary US citizens having no impact on policy (while the preferences of elites and corporations have a strong impact). I would suggest that if you ran that in Cuba, you would see some significant impact of popular preferences on policy. And it’s stayed pretty dashed egalitarian; for how poor it is overall, people do pretty well.
Now China is a bit different. I back China against the US on foreign policy just because I think a multipolar world less dangerous than a very violent hegemon, but I’m far from enthused about its government and I worry that it’s headed in the same direction economically as the rest of the world, letting capitalist elites form and manipulate policy to further enrich and empower themselves. And I think there’s a lot more of this sort of conditional, but wary, alliance with China than reverence out there.
And who the hell reveres bloody Stalin?!
I totally agree with you there on Cuba (I’m a bit more positive on China).And as for Stalin,I don’t think its for his overall policies that many admire.It was his industrialization of the USSR,and after his beginning failures at the start of WW2, the way he rallied the people to win the war.As well as his standing up to the West,that brings him a degree of admiration from many today.
Fine, fine, but if you want me to take you seriously maybe you should make with a couple of those reasons. So far the vibe I’m getting is that we should revere totalitarianism over, say, egalitarian democratic socialism because the former has often won and the latter hasn’t. By that yardstick, we should all be revering the empire of corporate oligarchy because it has, like, been totally winning so far.
I’ll be continuing to insist that it takes more than might to make right.
Ibero-America’s potential role in the 21st Century human political, economic, and cultural evolution (or tragic devolution…could go either way……….) for it is extraordinarily complex, simultaneously both immensely promising (resources, potential) and immensely problematic (fragmented, divided, culturally weak).
I attended 3 primary school grades and one middle school grade in the 60’s in Spanish, in Ecuador. On the way down there, in the Houston airport in 1959, I saw Fidel Castro in fatigues stride through the airport with a small contingent of body guards, about 25 ft away, with nothing but movable posts and velvet covered rope cordons, as in a bank, separating me and a handful of other curious travelers, from Castro, momentarily, with the tall airport windows on the runway side of the building forming the background.
In 1961 we children were excited by the riots and shots in the streets, chants of “Cuba SI! , Yanqui NO!” and about two weeks off from school, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although only 11 at the time, I remember reading Time magazine reporting as being so at odds with what was actually happening around me, that MSM subsequently had very little influence on me, as I considered it some sort of joke. At the time, I didn’t realize how sinister of a joke it was and is. That came later. After Nov 22, 1963.
What comes to mind is the section of Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope, where he discusses the cultural and political problems of South America in an intriguing formulation that he calls, “The Pakistan-Peru Cultural Axis: Quigley asserts that the far deeper traits of Latin American society than Catholicism or Christianity are actually ARABIC, and more eastern, Asiatic, tribal in nature, than western, owing to 600-700 years of Moorish domination of the Iberian Peninsula! Having been born in the Arabian Peninsula and spent my first 7 years there, I proceeded, a few years ago, to read pages 1115 – 1122 with intense curiosity and interest. I cannot dispute Quigley’s cultural thesis. See if you can. Not from the standpoint of dismissing the enormous human and resource potential there as fixed, but from the standpoint of overcoming the very real and deep obstacles to its positive EVOLUTION and emergence from its long, tragic, victimized, oligarchy dominated past.
What comes to mind is the recent commentator’s point regarding the Hegemon’s frustrations with their goal of regime change in Moscow: “They have forgotten that Russia is not an Arab state.”
Thank God for that, but the cornerstones of the BRICS, China and Russia, must face the objective reality that a large number of states on their periphery and even across the two oceans either are Arab states, or have a lot of the same problems and weaknesses standing up to divide and conquer games of the Empire, having been subjected and manipulated by Empires for the vast majority of their existences.
May they evolve successfully and overcome, all the way from Peru to Pakistan!!!
Here at home in the former “land of the free”, Reinstate Glass Streagall, bankrupt Wall St and London, bury Empire and join the BRICS and give these potential allies in human cultural, political and economic evolution a chance, from Peru to Pakistan! Overcome Tragedy, realize Hope!
Thank you Andrew for a fascinating article. Immensely challenging situation. Strategic necessity of the hour is a Valley Forge breakthrough against treasonous, bankrupt Wall St., arouse the sleeping giant of the fast disappearing US middle class.
Self-correction: 1961 had to be the Bay of Pigs, That got the poor out in the streets, I’m sure, not the other event in 1962.
A side note on your seeing Fidel in the Houston Airport. That reminded me that that wasn’t his first Texas visit.When he was in exile in Mexico he visited Texas. The revolutionaries needed money to buy the boat (Granma) they used in the return to Cuba to begin the Cuban Revolution.The ex-President of Cuba (the Yanukovich of Cuba, Carlos Prio Socarros) who the dictator Batista had overthrown was in exile in the US. He agreed to meet Fidel to talk about giving the revolutionaries the money.They agreed to meet on the Mexican-US border in Texas.Fidel wasn’t allowed into the US legally.So he swam across the Rio Grande to get into the US.They had their meeting and Fidel got the promised money,the rest is history.Another case of “where there is a will,there is a way”.
Fascinating history addition for Texans, in particular, Uncle Bob.
On the Fidel question, my last personal impression was an Arab living in California, with the same first name, Fidel!
I told him a true story about an Ecuadorian man living in San Francisco circa 2000 in whose library was a book on Castro. It is generally true that Fidel is more popular in the Latin American poor, lower classes, not so much with persons such as this Ecuadorian in San Francisco. When my fiance and I inquired abou this interest in Fidel Castro, this many said, “You have to face it, in Ecuador we are a colony. Why am I interested in Fidel? Because”, he said, lifting his right hand and gesturing with his middle finger “Fidel said NO!” The Californian Arab, this spring, said, “That’s why my name is Fidel. I also say NO!”
But it’s complicated. I’ve seen Mexican American immigrants, that admire Fidel be cautioned by others, their peers, that they know friends who visited Cuba and had Cubans plead with them to leave behind their rolls of toilet paper.
More on America’s Machiavellian schemes against Venezuela:
Multinationals Escalate Economic War Against Venezuela
“The premature celebratory atmosphere and Raul’s absurd proclamation that “Obama is an honest man” made many people, even in the region, forget that Obama’s first coup was actually against Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in 2009 and how the US exploited Haiti’s 2010 catastrophe in order to occupy it indefinitely .
Does Raul Castro really believe this nonsense that Obama is a honest man?
The United Snakes of America is honest alright–in the same way that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was “honest.”
It is really amazing the depth of treason, cowardice, and opportunism that these governments around the world display when it comes to selling out their own people to curry favor with America.
Of course he doesn’t believe it. He’s being polite. Cuban diplomacy has tended for a long time to the polite and classy side. It doesn’t mean anything significant.
The pen is mightier than the sword. Patriarchy sows ideological confusion first. The first hunters spread the idea that the animals agreed to their slaughter and then the killers invented gods to approve it. John Calvin pushed the sugar-coated lie that interest was not usury. Unless we understand deep history we are doomed to repeat it. IMO individuals and small groups with deep understanding of the actual causes of evil and their corresponding actions can reverse the patriarchal damage. Analysis is useful but without structural action become “paralysis by analysis.”
Can I borrow some money? No interest.
Andrew Korybko: Thanks for your rather disillusioning update on Cuba/Venezuela. As in Greece the process may turn out to be much more convoluted and the end result much better than we fear. The New Yorker having long surrendered its avante guard literary magazine pose to show itself as a skillful shill of neoliberalism has an article ( 7/20) called ” Opening for Business” by a Cuban expatriate licking his lips on return.
Flaw in Korybko’s analysis: That the Venezuelan army will have to chose between controlling the cities and patrolling the Venezuelan/Colombian border. Venezuela is hip to color revolutions and has popular structures in place to combat these. More will hinge on internal dissent as always among the revolutionary forces in Venezuela and a discussion of the state of these forces is woefully missing . Also totally missing is the influence and power which is formidible of the drug cartels in this area.
If you want the best analysis and true facts, check out Nil Nikandrov’s articles. He is a specialist in Latin/South-American stuff.
thanks, Flor ” Solidaridad” :-)
‘I jumped more than I was pushed,’ said Mr Varoufakis, describing his resignation in the immediate aftermath of the ‘no’ vote in the July 6 referendum on bailout terms similar to those accepted on Monday.
‘I entered the prime minister’s office elated. I was travelling on a beautiful cloud pushed by beautiful winds of the public’s enthusiasm for the victory of Greek democracy in the referendum. The moment I entered the prime ministerial office, I sensed immediately a certain sense of resignation—a negatively charged atmosphere. I was confronted with an air of defeat, which was completely at odds with what was happening outside.
If Varoufakis’s story is indeed honest and not some attempt at prettifying an insincere, cowardly mindset, then his account is proof positive of Syriza’s real assignment: to keep Greece inside the vile, filthy swamp of EU, NATO, and even the torture chamber known as the Eurozone. The massive “No” to the Troika’s proposal meant that Syriza couldn’t even pretend to make a difference — the charade had to be called off.
It seems to me the real significance of the US approach to Cuba is that, having an embassy there, the US can now proceed with a color revolution in Cuba.
EXCERPT FROM THE SECRET COVENANT
“An illusion it will be, so large, so vast it will escape their perception.
Those who will see it will be thought of as insane.”
24 hours for about one week it was broadcasted by the western media around the world and now look at this fraud how it was finally exposed to the world
Hackers of the CyberBerkut group,
an organized group of pro-Russian
hacktivists, who are known for
DDoS attacks on the websites of
the Ukrainian government and on
those belonging to Western and
Ukrainian corporations have
released this video of the execution
of a prisoner of the Islamic State
(IS), which appears to have been
shot in a professional motion
The hackers claimed to have found
this video in an electronic device
belonging to a staffer of U.S. Senator
John McCain. The hackers bragged,
“We, the CyberBerkut group, have
acquired a file of inestimable
importance! Dear Senator McCain,
we recommend that you not take
secret documents with you, when
you travel abroad, especially in
Video: (1 minute 15 seconds)
Staged ISIS Beheading Video Hacked from McCain Staffer
The video shows a “prisoner” being
“executed” in front several cameras
and professional lighting equipment.
An actor playing the executioner is
dressed in the typical black garb of
members of the Islamic State. He
applies a knife to the of throat of the
“hostage,” in a sawing motion, while
the “victim” feigns suffering.
Several videos depicting similar
scenes have been broadcast by the
Mainstream Media. In all cases, the
victims are noted to appear unduly
calm, prior to making their final
statements and then neatly expiring
in the arms of their terrorist
Since the first of these broadcasts
were released in August 2014, many
Internet users have expressed that
these videos are hoaxes, especially
due to the demeanor of the would-be
victims and the dubious quality of the
videos, such as this one, which is
clearly shot using the green screen
The background frames are
unquestionably still photographs,
which are neither motion picture
images, nor part of the same scene,
as the strong wind (likely, from a large
studio fan) blows heavily on the two
subjects ruffling their clothing, while
the desert plants in the background
Moreover, the black clothing of the
“terrorist,” who speaks with the
distinct tones of a London suburb
would have to be reflecting some of
the fierce desert sunlight of the
mise-en-scène – but instead, the
scene was lit with more of an interest
in “pulling a solid matte” from the fake
background, as it’s called in the film
Light reflections, while using the green
screen technique cause a “bleedthrough”
of the background, as was the case
with another infamous CNN fraud,
where Anderson Cooper’s nose was seen
to noticeably fade into the fake
background of a “Connecticut location,”
from where he was allegedly
broadcasting, outside the funeral of a the
victim of the Sandy Hook mass-shooting,
seen here, three minutes into this piece).
American interests have been accused
of producing these Islamic State videos,
to instill fear and panic among Western
Mainstream News audiences by a skeptical
Alternative Media public and General Wesley
Clarke (Ret.) actually admitted on CNN,
last February that the IS was financed by
the West and its allies, to battle Hezbollah.
The proclaimed goals of CyberBerkut are
of fighting against neo-fascism, neo-
nationalism and arbitrary power in Ukraine.
So far, the group has only attacked NATO
and their allies’ targets.
Once a crook, always a crook.
Getting things by hook or crook.
So, unca Sammy
sheetscheats. Why should I be surprised?
Or to quote an honest, Greek, financial crisis broker, “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”
― Sophocles, Antigone.
Message sponsored by FUKUS.
There is a lot I find questionable about this analysis, particularly where it pertains to Cuba.
On Cuba, there are two problematic dimensions. One is the question of whether Cuba has, in fact, surrendered anything. The other is the question of just why the US is doing their “rapprochement” thing.
Starting with the second, while I’m sure the US would like to gain diplomatic cover for actions elsewhere in Latin America from their charm offensive with Cuba, this is probably a secondary objective. One thing that needs to be remembered is that for the US especially, foreign policy is very often domestic politics. The main reason Obama has taken steps towards Cuba is that attacking it is no longer popular, even in the key swing state of Florida which can decide presidential elections. There’s a new generation descended from those Cuban expats, and they aren’t the fanatics their parents were. So votes will now come from rapprochement, or at least the appearance of it.
As to Cuba, they’re doing diplomacy exactly the way Venezuela does: Always be willing to talk as long as you’re treated with respect. I doubt it was ever the Cubans who were against diplomatic relations. And the Cubans have made no real concessions in this process. I’ve seen no signs of Cuba compromising in any way its alliance with Venezuela–to the contrary, when in the midst of negotiations the US started attacking Venezuela, Castro spoke out against those attacks quite forcefully and said that he would never sell out their alliance out of hope for American crumbs. Overall I just don’t see any signs of Cuban capitulation. Mr. Korybko talks about the symbolism, but does so in contradictory ways–on one hand, he says the US is offering the cosmetic appearance of defeat in order to gain something substantial. But what he says the US gains is Cuba’s symbolic capitulation! I don’t see how Cuba can be symbolically capitulating by appearing to win. If you appear to win you are symbolically winning.
In more substantive areas, Cuba has neither conceded, nor capitulated, nor for that matter gained anything much. There is much less to the whole thing than meets the eye. The whole thing has been mainly a public relations exercise in which the US gained some goodwill and the Democrats some votes at the expense of a couple of crumbs. Unfortunately for the Americans, their hamfisted insistence on attacking Venezuela and other Latin American interests just as they were gaining some goodwill undermined the achievement decisively, but that matters little to the Democrats who will still get the domestic gains out of it.
The bottom line here is that the US may wish to get from Cuba all that Mr. Korybko suggests, but there is no evidence whatsoever that they have actually gotten any of it, nor does it seem likely that they will.
On Colombia I come closer to agreement. But there are complications. It’s certainly the case that Colombia has acted as a proxy to the United States vis-a-vis Venezuela. But the situation is not as simple as all that. The previous president of Colombia was, and still is, a hawkish anti-Venezuelan dedicated to destabilizing the region, and he continues to foment trouble and work with paramilitaries and certain opposition figures to destabilize Venezuela. But the current president, while an establishment figure, seems more or less in favour of Colombia becoming a normal country, one which is not in a civil war, one which is not in active conflict with its neighbours. He goes along with the US to get along, but seems to prefer trade over hostility with Venezuela to the extent that he can get away with it. It seems as if there is a constituency in Colombia that goes along with this approach. The sheer number of Colombian refugees that have fled to Venezuela over the years has probably created a lot of cross-border ties and networking.
For the moment at least this somewhat complicates US efforts to create direct conflict between Colombia and Venezuela. Just how much and for how long remains to be seen; certainly the general US ambitions there are as Mr. Korybko says, and there are plenty of powerful US clients in Colombia.
It’s not just America out to regime change Venezuela:
Venezuela and Bolivia Cut Diplomatic Ties with Israel
Venezuela and Bolivia both broke off diplomatic relations with Israel Wednesday, citing its refusal to heed recent UN resolutions regarding the attacks on the Gaza strip, which have killed over one thousand Palestinians and injured nearly 5,000. Carora, January 15, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com)– Venezuela and Bolivia both broke off diplomatic relations with Israel Wednesday, citing its refusal to heed recent UN resolutions regarding the attacks on the Gaza strip, which have killed over one thousand Palestinians and injured nearly 5,000.
“Israel has repeatedly ignored the calls of the United Nations, consistently and shamelessly violating the resolutions approved by overwhelming majorities of member countries, increasingly placing itself on the margin of international law,” Venezuela’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Israel’s state terrorism has cost the lives of the most vulnerable and innocent: children, women, and the elderly,” the statement continued.
The complete diplomatic rupture comes a week Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador from the country in protest of the Israeli strikes. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets in cities countrywide in recent weeks, with marches arriving to the doors of the Israeli and Egyptian embassies in Caracas.
Earlier in the day, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced a similar action by his government, including that it would formally accuse Israel’s leaders for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.
“They’ve made the world move backwards with crimes against humanity that we haven’t seen since Rwanda and Yugoslavia,” Morales said.
Morales also called for the restructuring of the United Nations, blaming the “insecurity council” for its inability to bring an end to the attacks.
“The international community cannot allow this genocide in Palestine to go on,” Morales insisted.
Bolivia’s ambassador to Venezuela, Jorge Alvarado, later announced that Bolivia, despite its own difficulties, would work with Venezuela to send food aid to the embattled Palestinian territory. Venezuela’s first aid shipment, containing 12.5 tons of medicine, arrived to Egypt last night.
Since the article is in 2 parts,I disagree with the first half of this article.And have doubts on the second half .
The author I fear doesn’t understand Cuba at all.He is right about what the US would like to accomplish there.Though actually I think he underestimates what they’d like to accomplish there.They want “regime change”,not just policy change.But the article vastly overstates what is happening there.They are reestablishing diplomatic relations.Something Cuba has wanted since at least the 1970’s.The US hasn’t (though they should) overturned the blockade of Cuba.The US is trapped by its own propaganda.The US State Department and Obama might what to use Cuba.By the Republicans, other right wingers in the US,and most especially the Cuban Exiles in the US, want nothing to do with that.They won’t be happy until Cuba is destroyed,the government overthrown and Cuba returned as a slave to the US.They’d schemed and plotted that for 56 years now.And aren’t about to change.But Cuba,and the Cuban government is quite aware of all that.
Cuba has endured the onslaught over all these years.She has gone through “sanctions” that would have destroyed other nations.The Russian and Iranian sanctions pale in comparison to what Cuba has suffered from since 1959.The Yeltsin decline would be a picnic for Cubans in comparison.Cuba isn’t a huge resource rich country.It is a small country located 90 miles from “the belly of the beast”.And the only reason they still survive is the tenacity of the Cubans desire to be free.If Cuba didn’t collapse under those attacks,and during the “special period”,when in 1991 she was left friendless,she isn’t collapsing now.
The sole reason that we see the success of the freedom movement in Latin America,Ecuador,Bolivia,Nicaragua,and Venezuela,is because the Cuban Revolution paved the way for them to stand-up to the US.Without the Cuban survival over those years.And the aid they have given (even when only by example) they would never have been able to defy the US.And the US knows all that.They are trying to reverse that with “words and empty promises”.What are they offering Cuba? Removal from a fake list,that they should never have been on in the first place (the list shouldn’t even exist).Resumption of diplomatic relations that should never have been broken in the first place.Removal of the few sanctions that Obama can do on his own.There is no “Nixon’s visit to China” or a “grand bargain”.Politics in the US stops the White House from doing anything worthwhile for Cuba to change 56 years of history .Cuba’s international position is one of Latin American solidarity,and World solidarity.The Cuban people have been taught that for all those 56 years.They aren’t changing that because Raul said Obama was “a good man”.Putin almost daily talks of “our colleagues”,and “our pardners”,as well as he’s said in the resent past some kind words about Obama.Yet that doesn’t mean Russia is kneeling to the US.
The implication that Cuba is somehow “betraying” her friends is wrong.If anything her friends have betrayed Cuba.After being a total ally to the USSR and China for all those years.After 1991 she got the back of the hand from both those countries,as they both tried to move closer to the West.Cuba is the linchpin of resistance in Latin America.No country has stood more for the independence of Latin America than Cuba has.And what have the “champions” of the multi-polar World done to help them stay committed to that course,nothing (since the fall of the USSR).
Lets look for a moment at Cuba.Its a country near the size of England ,with 11.5 million people (around 1/5 of England’s population).She has some of the best harbors in the Caribbean,and the most fertile soil.Large nickel,manganese,and copper deposits.And in the West and North Coasts medium sized oil deposits.Cuba has overall the most educated and healthiest population in Latin America.Her social advances since the Revolution can only be dreamed of by the poor in other Latin American countries.And that has all been accomplished while constantly being attacked by the greatest empire on earth.Who has used every trick in the book short of outright war to destroy them.With a country that small,and because of history and her position,that important.It would seem to many,that countries such as Russia and China,would do any and everything to see her succeed.As an example of freedom for not just Latin America but the entire “Third World”, it is important for Russia and China that Cuba not be reclaimed by the US.And yet,while those countries waste their time trying to hopelessly pry loose the EU from the US’s grip.They stand around doing nothing to help their one true friend in the “West”.Investing in Cuba’s economy,making it shine in Latin America would be the smartest move they ever made.It would show all Latin America that membership in the multi-polar World was to their advantage.And lessen the influence of the US and their 5th columns throughout all Latin America.
But as for now.Unless tomorrow the US drops all their sanctions,and returns Guantanamo to Cuba.Which is “very” unlikely to happen.Short of them being that smart ,all that is happening is the restoration of diplomatic relations.Cuba can clearly see the chaos the US has brought to the World.They can clearly see the plans the US has for them (and all Latin America).Certainly Cuba will need to be vigilant.But they have arguably the best intelligence service in Latin America.And their middle name is “vigilance”.
Pedro de Hungria (July 17, 2015)
re – Uncle Bob 1
I agree with your comment. In 1982, I told some American Marxists that the Cuban Revolution would survive long after the USSR had collapsed. They looked at me as if I was crazy. I was not then predicting the collapse of the USSR (which took me by surprise) but the strength of the Cuban Revolution. This was based on personal observation from 1977 thru 1984. Now, in 2015, the USSR has been gone for a quarter of a century and the Cuban Revolution still survives. The author of the above article is wrong about Cuba. Raul will retire in 2018 and a new generation of revolutionaries will take over. They are well aware of the lies and dirty tricks of Imperialismo Yanqui and will not be fooled. The Cuban Revolution will survive long after we are all dead and gone. I am sure of it. Whatever it’s faults and mistakes, the Cuban Revolution has always been honest with the people and has tried to give them a better life (medicine and education were always the priorities, not plastic consumer goods). The Cuban people ‘know the score’ and will continue to support the Revolution. Note too that there will be no Castro dynasty. Raul and Fidel’s children will continue to serve the Revolution, but not in a top leadership position.
Hasta la Victoria Siempre, Pedro de Hungria
Muy interesantes tus comentarios Andrew, sobre Venezuela en el aspecto geopolítico a la luz de los últimos eventos que involucran a mi país Venezuela, dada su posición geoestratégica y los últimos acontecimientos que también incluyen a los EEUU, Cuba, Colombia y Guyana, sin duda, Venezuela Venezuela es un pastel apetecible para la garganta voraz gringa, aun estamos débiles, no esta Hugo Chavez quien fue el que dio el viraje valiente por un mundo multipolar, de tu blog The Saker, a pesar de haberle leído algunas notas, es hasta hoy que he entrado ( he tenido problemas con mi vetusto ordenador) y por sorpresa me consigo con tus notas sobre Venezuela, ahora leo la segunda parte, saludos desdela patria de Bolívar!, ahora mas te sigo leyendo!!
None of this has happened 1 year later. None of this will happen. Venezuela is following the path of every socialist country before it. They are starving.