Chavez Propped Up Cuba, 'Father' Figure Fidel Castro

Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013 07:11 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
From the moment Hugo Chavez assumed the presidency in Venezuela, he formed a very close bond with Cuban President Fidel Castro — one that boosted Cuba’s economy through trade, advanced its health care system and bolstered its military might.

"Venezuela is traveling towards the same sea as the Cuban people, a sea of happiness and of real social justice and peace," Chávez said during a visit to Havana in 1999, the same year he rose to power.

One of the first major ties between the two countries came in 2000, when the two presidents inked an agreement under which Venezuela sent 50,000 barrels of oil per day to Cuba at a heavy discount. The shipment was nearly doubled by 2005.

In exchange, Cuba sent thousands of specialists in the fields of education, the arts, sports and medicine to Venezuela.

In 2005, the two countries hammered out a contract to bring tens of thousands of health care workers, including doctors and nurses, to Venezuela and establish them in brand-new health care centers.

Chávez and Castro signed a declaration ripping the Free Trade Area of the Americas, a program supported by the United States as an "expression of a hunger to dominate the region."

Cuba also helped Venezuela free itself from U.S. influences on its military by helping train its soliders in guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency.

In 2007, Chávez signed an agreement with Cuba to embark on a series of technical projects, including the construction of an underwater fiber optics cable.

Venezuelan and Cuban scientists also worked together to improve their countries' food production — spearheading a research project to improve the growing of rice.

Last summer, as The New York Times reported, Chavez announced an agreement with Cuba to create a factory to produce Coppelia ice cream, famous in Cuba for its tropical flavors.

Washington has kept a weary eye on the ongoing cooperation between Venezuela and Cuba with the idea they are trying to dominate the Caribbean economically and militarily. And both sides have fired verbal shots.

President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice slammed Cuba as an “outpost of tyranny.’’ She labeled Chavez a “negative force’’ in Latin America.

Chávez called Bush’s diplomatic efforts "a false democracy of the elite.’’

The friendship between Venezuela and Cuba long predates Castro. Diplomatic ties between the two powers were first established in 1902. In 1913, they agreed to an extradition treaty.

The bond between the two men was often described as a father-son relationship — with Castro was seen as a father figure to Chavez.

"Fidel to me is a father, a comrade, a master of perfect strategy," Chavez said in 2005.


© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Twitter to Track Which Apps Its Users Have

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 22:22 PM

If you use Twitter on your cellphone, the social media site will soon begin tracking which apps you use unless you activ . . .

Harry Reid: 'We Sure Do Like' Pope Francis

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 22:09 PM

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Mormon, says he's an unabashed fan of Roman Catholic Pope Francis. . . .

EU Presses Google for Global 'Right to Be Forgotten'

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 21:36 PM

The European Union is pressing tech giant Google to expand the right to be forgotten to all its search tools.
A r . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved