What are Cuba, Russia, and Iran doing in Venezuela?

This is the big question asked by The Strategist in an opinion piece.

Their answer isn’t pretty, as one might expect. None of those three enemies of the U.S. are willing to give up their investment in the oil-rich land.

The Strategist‘s analysis reveals some truths, but their final conclusion is alarmist, and a thinly-disguised plea for the U.S. to leave Venezuela alone.

Clever leftist writers at The Strategist, for sure, but not too clever.

Their five-alarm warning undoes their cloaking device: “Any uncalculated escalation or sudden collapse of the regime could inadvertently involve US forces battling Iranian- and Russian-backed Venezuelans in America’s own backyard.”

Oddly, their dire prediction leaves Cuba out of the picture. Could it be because leftist ideology prohibits mentioning the fact that Cuba is really a threat to the U.S. ?

When about 100 Russian servicemen and military equipment were reportedly flown into Venezuela in late March, US President Donald Trump’s response was to declare that ‘Russia has to get out’. Moscow refused, saying that the troops would stay ‘as long as needed’ and that they were only there to repair equipment, such as Venezuela’s Russian-made S-300 air-defence system. Russia has denied the recent reports that it had told the US that it was pulling defence personnel out of Venezuela.

Amid the continuing political, economic and humanitarian meltdown of Venezuela, an anti-American alliance consisting of Russia, Cuba and Iran is coalescing to counter US economic and diplomatic pressure on embattled President Nicolas Maduro. The anchor of the alliance is Cuba, which colonised Venezuela through its security services when Fidel Castro’s protege Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998.

Castro then began shipping tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day back to Cuba, while Venezuela became what is widely considered a ‘mafia state’. He also expanded his relationships with the narco-terrorist insurgencies plaguing the region, most famously FARC and the National Liberation Army in Colombia. Cuba’s security services helped stand up loyalist paramilitary organisations called colectivos to terrorise opponents of the Maduro regime. More recently, Cuba assisted in creating the Special Actions Force, or FAES, which strikes  at opposition figures.

But Cuba is not alone. It cooperated with its longstanding ally, Iran, to help build security architecture to protect its colony. The expeditionary wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force, worked alongside Cuban intelligence in Venezuela to consolidate the regime’s hold. Since 2005, Iran has extended €1 billion (A$1.61 billion) in loans to Cuba and is heavily involved in several projects there, including a shared intelligence station to block US radio broadcasts.

proxy of the Quds Force, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, has also had a close relationship with the Venezuelan regime, which mostly revolves around proceeds from illicit drugs, money laundering and other organised crime to supplement its activities in the Middle East. 

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