Is Venezuela the Real Target of Bush's New Cuba Plan?
Cuba calls the shots; and Venezuela pays the bills. That is the major premise underlying the Report made public last Monday by the U.S. State Department concerning Cuba. Its findings are as much about the Bush Administration's plans for regime change in Cuba, as they are about the alleged threat that Venezuela poses to U.S. national security interests.
The ninety-three page Report was prepared by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, co-chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. Its recommendations were accepted by President George W. Bush. They include a budget of $80 million during the next two years to ensure a transition, rather than a succession of leadership, in Cuba. The Report also contains a classified attachment that contains a secret plan for regime change in Cuba.
Although the Commission's Report and its recommendations are ostensibly about Cuba, Venezuela is a featured star player in the drama. It mentions Venezuela at least nine different times, always emphasizing Washington's perception that the Chávez government is bankrolling the Cuban government: "Cuba can only meet its budget needs with the considerable support of foreign donors, primarily Venezuela," says the Report.
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