Ideological Slogans Dominate Diosdado Cabello’s Visit to Cuba

Diosdado Cabello and Miguel Díaz-Canel this Thursday in Havana. (X)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 11 August 2023 — The visit to Cuba of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s number two, Diosdado Cabello, ended as it began: with a political-ideological allegation, this time by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Gone are the cryptic agreements signed with Ricardo Cabrisas, head of foreign trade on the Island – including the construction of a warehouse in the port of Mariel, to make way for the slogans.

The Cuban president opened the meeting, according to the official press, with a message also published on his X account (formerly Twitter): “Cuba and Venezuela, always together.” That was the framework that both leaders wanted to use in a context in which Caracas is no longer the essential partner of Havana that it was for almost two decades. The Venezuelan economic crisis has forced Cuba to look for more profitable allies, such as Russia, China and even Mexico, which is already the second oil supplier on the Island behind Russia.

Venezuela, despite the fluctuations in fuel shipments, still maintains the status of the main supplier to Cuba, but yesterday’s meeting makes it clear that the alliance, especially in ideological terms, continues to be a priority.

“Both leaders talked about everything that politicians can do in the articulation of the leftists of our time, who today face a huge media and communications war, based on lies, slander and campaigns of discredit,” says the official article, fortified by photos of the two leaders shaking hands in shirt sleeves.

Díaz-Canel made Cabello the bearer of his message of gratitude to Maduro — afflicted these days with an ear infection that prevented him from participating in the Amazon Summit — for his “permanent solidarity” with the Island and his “support in the most complex moments.” In addition, Cabello, the presenter of Con el mazo dando* – of which the Cuban declared himself a fan and spectator – was charged with giving an “extensive hug” to the entire Venezuelan government team.

The Cuban leader also resorted to his X account to proclaim the positive impact of the meeting – “embracing a brother at home is the greatest joy” – but he did not deprive himself of throwing a dart at his critics in the same message: “Now you will see our adversaries speculate. We only reiterate that whoever messes with Venezuela messes with Cuba, and vice versa.”

Then came Cabello’s turn, and he did not hesitate to re-establish the architects of the fruitful exchange of interests, the deceased former presidents of both countries. “The presence of Fidel, his legacy and history gives joy to the Venezuelan comrades, as a sign of brotherhood, unity and the perennial reminder of the friendship between two giants: Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.”

Shortly before, the Venezuelan visited the Fidel Castro Ruz Center, along with its director, René González Barrios, who, “accompanied by all the staff,” set out “to provide all the information about the life and work of the Commander-in-Chief.” Cabello recalled “the legacy of friendship and closeness between the historical leaders of the Cuban and the Bolivarian Revolutions,” which he summarized in one sentence: “The love of Commander Fidel and Chávez is reflected in their people.”

Cabello, the first vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), told the media that among the objectives of his visit, which ended this Thursday, was laying the institutional foundations to expand the collaboration and interrelationship between the PSUV and the Communist Party of Cuba.

In addition there will be “an in-depth review” of the state of bilateral relations, “from what has been done in the past, the future potentialities and what remains to be done.”

The first vice president of the PSUV said, in a press conference, that the valuable visit will allow the two parties to deepen collaboration and economic cooperation. He stated that the Venezuelan delegation “will return to its country filled with new energy and more love” for Cuba.

“Both countries,” he said, “are marked by the same enemy: imperialism,” although the hostility is not reflected in the economic recovery that Venezuela is experiencing since the United States decided to ease the oil sanctions, the main source of foreign exchange for the South American country.

According to the latest information from Reuters, Caracas sold 877,032 barrels of oil a day last July thanks to its contracts with the American company Chevron, which since November has had a license from the Treasury Department to trade with the state PDVSA.

Among the main events of Cabello’s visit to Cuba have been the visit to Castro’s tomb, in Santiago de Cuba, the signing of the agreement for exchange and cooperation with the PCC, and the tour of the Mariel Special Development Zone, in Artemisa.

Cabello returned at night to Venezuela, where the opposition has criticized the visit to the Island, accusing the leader of going to receive “guidelines” and instructions to liquidate anti-Chavista politicians, including María Corina Machado, who has recently denounced threats.

“We still have many struggles and battles together, always together, Cuba and Venezuela always together, and no matter what they say, there is no way that they can manage to separate or divide us,” Cabello insisted. He thus closed the circle he had started when he arrived in Santiago on Monday, where he said: “Cuba and Venezuela continue under the same flag.”

*A political opinion television show that frequently accuses and incriminates the Venezuelan opposition. The phrase is shortened version of “a Dios rogando y con el mazo dando” — roughly: Pray to God but keep rowing, or God helps those who help themselves.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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