By Carlos Alberto Montaner
John Bolton, Donald Trump’s security adviser, has declared that they will punish Cuba economically for the support that Havana gives to Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship.
What is the reason of this renovated fury?
According to his tweet: “Cuba’s role in usurping democracy and fomenting repression in Venezuela is clear. That’s why the U.S. will continue to tighten financial restrictions on Cuba’s military and intel services. The region’s democracies should condemn the Cuba regime.”
As part of that punishment strategy, Trump signed Article III of the Helms-Burton Act. This article allows the use of American courts to all American citizens harmed by the confiscations during the first years of the revolution, including Cubans who became naturalized citizens many years after the events, so they can sue the foreign companies that have profited with those confiscated properties. Since 1996, when the bill was passed under Bill Clinton administration, no American president had dared to open that “Pandora’s box.”
The most visible consequence of this measure is predictable – virtually no serious investor will go to Cuba if there’s a risk of becoming bogged down in the costly U.S. judicial system. Nobody in its right mind wants that kind of trouble. The old dictum will rule: “There is no animal more coward than a million dollars.”
Russia raised an outcry after Bolton’s declaration. Alexander Schetinin, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin American Department, said that it was “absolutely unacceptable” and attributed Bolton’s words to the U.S .desire to mold the Latin American countries after its own image and likeness. He did not even try to deny the reasons alleged by the U.S. high official.
Maybe he couldn’t. Rosa María Payá, the leader of Cuba Decide, let public opinion know about a very worrying complaint made by some Cuban mothers regarding the immediate transfer of their children, under the compulsory military service, to Venezuela.
Venepress, a Venezuelan independent news agency, echoed the information and provided the reasons – the Venezuelan Armed Forces don’t want to go out to the streets to repress the people, and Maduro and his usurpers have had to resort to the imprisoned criminals and the collectives (criminal gangs) to perform that dirty job. However, Maduro and his accomplices are not happy with the decision, especially after the murder of several Pemon Indians, which adds “genocide” to Chavismo’s impressive catalog of crimes.
Irresponsibly, Raúl Castro and his pupil Miguel Díaz-Canel have played the Venezuelan card thoroughly and have moved to save Nicolás Maduro at any cost, although the United States has all the evidence that his regime is a kind of toilet in which all the human filth fit – from the shameless theft of public treasure, to collusion with Islamic terrorists, direct or indirect drug trafficking, extortion and murders.
Senator Marco Rubio even stated before the Senate that the Venezuelan armed forces charged the drug traffickers a fee for letting their planes fly through the country’s airspace. If they did not pay, they would be shot down.
It seems that the revelation and the evidence were provided by General Hugo Carvajal, former head of the army intelligence services, after his recent split with the Maduro Regime.
The United States has the potential capacity to economically ruin Cuba as it has done with Venezuela. Seventy percent of international transactions are made in dollars and they go through the American banking system. The U.S. can prohibit remittances from Cubans or continue to attack surgically the companies controlled by the State Military Capitalism and its leaders.
It can even re-open Raúl Castro’s file when, from the Army headquarters, he handled drug trafficking in the eighties, and resume that line of attack, abandoned during the Democratic administrations, when Washington decided that “in Cuba, communism would fall under its own weight, as happened in the Eastern Bloc.”
We already saw that it didn’t happen. Washington resumes the offensive. Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.