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is a blog to give a fresh angle on a fascinating and beautiful Caribbean Island country that, despite being relatively small and with only 11 million people, has been a major player in American and world politics for a half century. I also suggest you try

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Tale of Two Foreign Policies

By Circles Robinson
November, 2004

No two countries have more divergent foreign policies than the United States and Cuba; while the former uses its gun barrel diplomacy and double standard on terrorism, the latter provides medical assistance and educational opportunities to the Third World.

Venezuela, and last Thursday’s political assassination in that country, is a case in point to illustrate the “friendly” hand of Washington and the solidarity of Cuba.

The Caribbean island provides the South American country with several thousand doctors and other health professionals to extend its health care system to include the large previously excluded sector of the population.

The “Barrio Adentro” neighborhood clinics and a nationwide literacy campaign, both with Cuban assistance, are widely popular among a growing majority of Venezuelans. The 60-percent vote obtained by President Hugo Chavez in the August 15 recall referendum and subsequent regional and municipal election victories exemplifies this.

Upon returning home to the island for a one month vacation, Cuban physician Alina Cardenas Diaz described her experiences to Juventud Rebelde newspaper: “We visited houses high up on hills where people were astounded to see the first doctors to ever visit their neighborhoods. I wasn’t alive during the early years of the Cuban revolution, but now I’ve had the opportunity to live the intensity of the Venezuelan one.”

Bilateral cooperation has also made possible for thousands of Venezuelans to have urgently needed operations in Cuba and hundreds of Venezuelan young people are studying medicine in Havana to serve their country upon graduation.

The US, on the other hand, has done everything to undermine the peaceful revolution led by President Hugo Chavez short of an invasion or a blockade like the one it has maintained for 45 years against Cuba. American “aid” included support for the April 11, 2002 coup and hasty recognition of the “highly democratic” ringleaders who declared null the country’s Constitution, Courts and Parliament.

Not surprisingly, one of the junta’s first acts in power was sending a mob to besiege the Cuban embassy, cutting water and electricity, burning vehicles and threatening to kill the diplomats.

When the coup failed 47-hours after it began, the US offered sanctuary to its perpetrators, like it has to countless other fugitive international criminals. On the streets of Dade County or the white sands of southern Florida it allows them to organize efforts to sabotage the Venezuelan economy and train cells that will enter the country to carry out terrorist actions.

One such act occurred Thursday evening when Danilo Anderson, a courageous 38-year-old prosecutor, was assassinated as explosives placed in his car were detonated in Caracas. Not by coincidence, he had been in charge of the case against corrupt politicians and businesspeople that signed on to the April 2002 coup.

Shortly after the politically motivated killing, Venezuelan Communications and Information Minister, Andres Izarra stated: “The government of the United States should explain how it is that these terrorist groups operate with total freedom from US territory. Why haven’t the US authorities investigated the training camps where the “students” prepare to carry out terrorist attacks against Cuba and Venezuela? How is it that they can use the Miami media to call for violence in our countries under the complacent eye of the US government?”

These are powerful questions and the world deserves some answers.


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