Tags: America's Forum | Raul Mas | Obama | Venezuela | Cuba | Castro

Raul Mas: Obama Demonizes Venezuela While Rewarding Cuba

By    |   Thursday, 09 April 2015 12:51 PM

President Barack Obama's characterization of Venezuela as a national security threat to the United States, while bending over backward to lift embargoes and normalize relations with its "twin brother" Cuba, doesn't make sense, Hispanic activist Raul Mas said Thursday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

The irony, according to Mas, is that "you've got a situation where we're saying, OK, Cuba's fine but Venezuela is on our nasty list. They basically are both joined at the hip and Cuba depends enormously on the oil subsidy that they receive from Venezuela."

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"Latin American observers who are looking at this are just sort of scratching their heads saying, how can you on the one hand be saying things are OK in Cuba and it's OK for us to deal with them — and on the other hand Venezuela, who's basically their twin brother, you're saying is a national security risk?

"That makes absolutely no sense to any sort of impartial observer, I would argue, of what's going on in Latin America."

Last month, Obama signed an executive order authorizing the American government to freeze the U.S.-held assets of seven Venezuelan law enforcement and military officials  who, U.S. officials maintain, are "responsible for human rights abuses or violations of democratic due process," according to The New York Times.

"Venezuela has been doing all sorts of things that, quite frankly, require not just a slap on the hand but, quite frankly, more than a slap on the hand," Mas said. "They have been following the same model that Cuba has used historically.

"And, in fact, most people will tell you that Venezuela is completely infiltrated by Cuban intelligence agents who are supporting the Maduro regime. They basically jailed the principle opposition leader, there's been all sorts of shootings of civilians in the streets. I mean the situation in Venezuela is deteriorating very rapidly and obviously the corruption is absolutely endemic."

A recent poll of 1,200 Cubans on the island nation found that Cubans are hopeful that the normalizing of relations with the U.S. will improve their situation, NPR reports. Some 80 percent of those polled held a positive view of Obama, and just 17 percent held a negative view.

The results make Obama far more popular than the island's leader, Raul Castro, who received a 48 percent negative view from his citizens, slightly less than the 50 percent negative view Cubans had for his brother, Fidel Castro.

"One of the interesting things about the poll is that more than 75 percent of the people said that they felt uncomfortable even being polled," according to Mas. "So you have to sort of wonder that if some of the revelations that came out of this poll had been done in a freer environment, they may have actually looked worse, quite frankly.

"But a lot of people still express, for all the right reasons, a certain amount of reticence in speaking freely about how they feel within the island of Cuba."

Despite the thawing of relations between Cuba and the U.S., Cubans on the island are still suffering enormously and fleeing "in droves," according to Mas.

"There's an incredible shortage of food," he said. "I mean the biggest thing in the poll was that their main concern is not even really politics. It's economics. It's how do I improve my condition? How do I feed myself and my family still remains a top priority for the Cuban people."

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President Barack Obama's characterization of Venezuela as a national security threat to the United States while bending over backward to lift embargoes and normalize relations with its "twin brother" Cuba doesn't make sense, Hispanic activist Raul Mas told Newsmax TV.
Raul Mas, Obama, Venezuela, Cuba, Castro
Thursday, 09 April 2015 12:51 PM
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