President Hugo Chavez warned in the past week that there is no middle ground anymore in Venezuela. Everyone must choose sides, and there is no going back for anyone who chooses the wrong side. There are only two sides: with or against Chavez.
Chavez has drawn a line in the sand and he is not bluffing. Chavez is determined to remain in power permanently, and he does not care who or what he must kill or destroy to achieve his all-consuming ambition to be master of Venezuela for the rest of his natural life.
This is very bad news for Venezuela, but it is, potentially, even worse news for thousands of Cubans currently in Venezuela on various official “missions.”
There are, roughly, two categories of Cubans officially working in Venezuela. One category consists of physicians, sports trainers, engineers and others engaged in activities which are not related to any intelligence, security or military functions. The second category includes Cubans assigned to military, intelligence and other security-related functions.
This second category of Cuban “advisors” is increasingly visible inside Fort Tiuna in Caracas, at the Defense Ministry and within the recently created Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SINB), whose titular director is General Hugo Carvajal.
It’s impossible to say with any precision how many Cubans are in Venezuela on security-related missions, and how many are engaged in missions which are unrelated to security. But overall, based on official admissions over the past 18 months, it’s probably accurate to say that there could be at least 40,000 Cubans in Venezuela on official missions of one sort or another.
President Chavez frequently boasts that he has full control over Venezuela’s armed forces. The Bolivarian FAN are totally committed to the revolution, he likes to brag. And just to make sure this is so, Carvajal’s SINB and Cuban intelligence officials are constantly testing the waters within the military establishment, fishing for anything that smells like dissent.
But active-duty military officers and professional personnel who oppose the Chavez regime’s wholesale Cubanization of the Venezuelan Republic founded by Simon Bolivar are not fools. They keep their mouths shut, discharge their duties professionally, outwardly demonstrate in all ways their loyalty to the government, and avoid being entrapped in the countless snares the regime has seeded within the armed forces. And they also quietly observe the systematic treason being committed by President Chavez, whose entire adult life has been committed to treachery and betrayal of the Venezuelan people and Venezuelan democracy.
There already are hundreds of Cuban military personnel who have been “assimilated” unofficially into Venezuela’s armed forces. Everyone in the FANB knows who they are, and everyone also knows precisely where they are located. This is something that President Chavez, and senior regime thugs like Diosdado Cabello, Jose Vicente Rangel and others should always keep in mind.
Why? Because if Chavez attempts to carry out his escalating threats to erase anyone who stands in his way, many Cuban nationals in Venezuela on military, intelligence and other security missions will be clipped. “We know who they are and where they are, and if Chavez uses these Cubans to repress Venezuelans we are going to take down the Cubans,” a Venezuelan military source tells Caracas Gringo. In effect, if Chavez spills innocent Venezuelan blood, Cuban military personnel in Venezuela will pay with their lives.
The Castro regime is sufficiently concerned about the very real and growing threat to Cubans in Venezuela on official missions that it dispatched Ramiro Valdes to assess the situation on the ground, in person.