Cuba, Venezuela Strong Allies Against United States

Bush Administration Describes Countries as “Outposts of Tyranny”

Cuban President Fidel Castro warned on Saturday that the life of fellow leftist leader, Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez is in danger and that the United States is to blame if any assassination attempt is made.

"If Chavez is assassinated, the responsibility will lie entirely with the president of the United States," Castro said in a six-hour speech ending an anti-globalization conference in Havana.

Castro, who has survived several CIA-led assassination attempts, said that eventual shots at Chavez’s life would intend to stop the progress of social changes occurring in Venezuela. 

Venezuela, a major producer of U.S. oil, has become close allies with communist Cuba and as a result, produced fears within the Bush Administration that a similar socialist-type government will prevail in the South American country.

“With me they’ve already lost their time, this has become too advanced,” 78-year-old Castro said of the Cuban revolution. “But that [the situation in] Venezuela is in a crucial stage.”

Chavez, who refers to the Cuban leader as his mentor, thanked Castro for his remarks and assured listeners that any attempt on his life would fail. 

The relationship between the two Latin American leaders has grown significantly since the 1992 U.S. approved coup in Venezuela that briefly ejected Chavez from power.

Chavez, meanwhile, has been sharply criticized by Washington since pronouncing Venezuela’s intent to buy Russian helicopters and AK-47 assault rifles.  Since being democratically elected in 1998, the Venezuelan president has sought closer alliances with Cuba, Russia and China and distance from the United States.

As the Miami Herald reports, the decision to buy Russian made weapons is an attempt to bolster up the Venezuelan armed forces.  “We have to embrace socialism as a thesis,” Chavez stated, in what observers said was his most direct public reference to his socialist views. He later added that any attack on Cuba or Venezuela “would be an attack on both.”

Washington has repeatedly verbalized disapproval of the resource sharing between Cuba and Venezuela–according to the Washington Post, “Cuba has 20,000 doctors, dentists, teachers and sports trainers in Venezuela, mainly working in pro-Chavez slums,” while Venezuela provides a great deal of oil to Cuba on favorable terms.

Less than two weeks ago in a televised address, Castro rebutted comments made by newly appointed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who identified Cuba along with Myanmar, Belarus and Zimbabwe as “outposts of tyranny,” saying Cuba’s mission is to “defeat empires.”

Meanwhile, the new Venezuelan ideology, cultivated from the same roots as the ‘war of all the people’ in Cuba, has Washington more than a bit worried as Chavez continues to refer to guerrilla tactics as the only way to fend off the United States as a superior enemy.