This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 18, 2019:
Why hasn’t Nicolas Maduro performed an “Idi Amin” and moved to Saudi Arabia or Libya or even Russia where his talents as a Marxist thug would be more greatly appreciated? When things started going south for Amin, he fled into exile via helicopter in April 1979, heading first to Libya (where he stayed for a year) and then on to Saudi Arabia (where the royal family not only allowed him sanctuary but paid him a generous subsidy in return for staying out of politics).
He suffered from kidney failure in 2003, and his family pulled the plug on the murderer after being on life support for several weeks. His remains were interred in a tiny cemetery in Jeddah, on the coast of the Red Sea. Few attended the ceremony and fewer still lamented his passing.
Maduro’s Marxist regime should have disappeared months ago for all the sanctions, pressures, and criticism his neighbors have applied to him and his people. For two years, the United States has leveled a steadily increasing campaign against him, starting with sanctions against him and a few of his inner circle.
Those sanctions ratcheted up over time to the point where few if any of his top people have access to any funds they might have stashed in the U.S. or its territories. Exports to Gulf Coast refineries (specially built to refine his country’s heavy crude) have been embargoed. His former friends – China and Russia – are presently in talks with Maduro’s interim replacement, Juan Guaido, in order to prevent their investments from going down the drain along with Maduro.
Last week the White House increased the pressure once again. It sanctioned the head of Maduro’s oil company along with five of his top henchmen. The new chairman of Maduro’s oil company just announced its new board to be effective by the end of this week. And it ordered USAID, the “humanitarian” U.S. government aid agency with a $27 billion budget responsible for dispersing foreign aid to more than 100 countries around the world, to send a few cargo planes filled with toothpaste, protein powder, and some medicines to locations on Maduro’s border.
This puts Maduro into a tight spot. He has already ordered his military to keep that aid out, making him look more like a tyrant than he already is, and ensuring that his eventual departure will be celebrated with great relief around the world. If he lets the U.S. aid in, he will in effect be admitting that his administration is a failure.
At the moment he is declaring that the aid is a Trojan Horse (with one of his henchmen even suggesting the aid was poisoned and likely to cause cancer) and was just a trick to allow military intervention if it was met with resistance. It didn’t help any that Mark Green, the head of USAID, admitted as much, saying that if Maduro didn’t let the supplies in, “all options were on the table” to get them in.
With all the pressure being applied, not only by the U.S., but by Maduro’s neighbors who are calling for him to step down and hold “free, fair, and honest” elections for his replacement, one wonders why the dictator remains in control.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio has contended that the only reason Maduro’s military hasn’t folded is because of Cuban infiltration:
They [Maduro’s military] are … loyal … because the Cubans are spying on them. The Cuban intelligence agencies quickly pick up … any of these military officers [who] are being disloyal or expressing doubts – and those guys are arrested.
Because of Cuban infiltration, said Rubio, “There has been a massive purge of Venezuelan military officers over the last two years … it wasn’t because of corruption … it was because the Cubans caught them and reported them.”
That Cuban influence has been so pervasive that, according to the Miami Herald, the White House is considering putting Cuba back on its list of countries that sponsor terrorism. Cuba, it will be remembered, was removed from that list by the Obama administration in 2015 as part of its “opening” toward Cuba.
In a speech at the U.N. Security Council on January 26, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “No regime has done more to sustain the nightmarish condition of the Venezuelan people than the regime in Havana [Cuba]. Cuban security and intelligence thugs, invited into Venezuela by Maduro himself … have sustained this illegitimate rule … Cuba has directly made matters worse.”
Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence (DNA), apparently hasn’t gotten the memo. Three days after Pompeo’s blast at the U.N., Coats delivered a presentation before the Senate Intelligence Committee reviewing the “2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment” put together by U.S. intelligence agencies. In that 42-page presentation, all he had to say about Cuba was this:
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel will adhere to former President Raul Castro’s blueprint for institutionalizing one-party rule and socialism in Cuba through constitutional reforms. Diaz-Canel has acknowledged that Raul Castro, who still commands the ruling Communist Party, remains the dominant voice on public policy.
Coats had another opportunity to expand on his remarks concerning Cuba’s intervention in and support of Maduro’s Venezuela with the prepared remarks now available on his website. But no. Instead his remarks focused on “what I would describe as the BIG 4 – China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran – all of which pose unique threats to the United States and our partners.”
This may be true, but Cuba is supporting Venezuela, which the White House has made a priority target, keeping in place the murderous Marxist dictator who has long since outlived his legal and moral tenure in that unhappy country.
Coats made passing reference to Cuba in his official remarks:
The Kremlin has aligned Russia with repressive regimes in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela….
We expect that attempts by Cuba, Russia, and to some extent China, to prop up the Maduro regime’s security [with] financing [that] will lead to additional efforts to exploit the situation [there] in exchange for access to Venezuelan oil.
That’s it. Nothing about Cuba’s intervention and infiltration that is working to keep Maduro’s regime in power. Nothing about White House strategies to force the dictator from office. And nothing about Cuba’s inherent threat to the United States itself, which has long been a target from a regime far more threatening than Maduro’s.
Coats vehemently denied that he was the “anonymous” author of the New York Times op-ed that detailed a “resistance” movement inside the Trump administration. He protested too loudly for some:
From the beginning of our tenure, we have insisted that the entire IC [intelligence community] remain focused on our mission to provide the President and [his] policymakers with the best intelligence possible.
His statements essentially brushing aside the Cuban threat as inconsequential in Maduro’s longevity provide sufficient evidence for some, including this writer, to conclude not only that Coats is on the wrong side in Trump’s push to remove Maduro, but that he might just be the “anonymous” writer of that treacherous NYT article.
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Aid for Venezuelans Arrives, Setting Up Showdown With Regime
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Sanctions Venezuela’s Oil Chief, Says Food Aid Will Be Flown to Border
2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment from Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence (DNI)
Remarks as prepared for delivery by The Honorable Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence Annual Threat Assessment Opening Statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday, January 29, 2019