By David Schussler
Washington – AP- Katherine Shrader -”The government believes Fidel Castroâ€™s health is deteriorating and that the Cuban dictator is unlikely to live through 2007.” This was posted in todayâ€™s news columns. The hatred for the U.S. may be endemic in the Caribbean today as well as in the other current theaters of strife and war.Â Itâ€™s very important that we do not become so distracted by the events in the Middle East and other “hot” spots that we neglect to pay attention to those nearby who, for years, have been waiting for an opportunity to hurt us. In the event of Castroâ€™s death what will happen to the leadership of Cuba, and consequentially, theÂ amalgamated haters of North American democracy in Central, South America, and the Caribbean?
The recent public outbursts by Venezuelaâ€™s Hugo Chavez are reason enough to give us additional concern. As reported by Greg Morsbach in Caracas, Saturday March 04, 2006, in “The Guardian”, “Around 500,000 Venezuelans will start a four-month military training program today to turn them into members of the country’s territorial guard. They are the first group of a total of 2 million Venezuelan civilians who have so far signed up to become armed reservists.”
â€¦.”By the summer of 2007, Venezuela is likely to have the largest military reserve in the Americas, which is expected to be almost double the size of that in the United States.”
Cubaâ€™s active military which is already in the control of Raul Castro, numbers currently over fifty thousand, and, although not in the best of condition, they are still well equipped and maintain a readiness to expand their forces.
Venezuela today provides over 2.5 billion dollars in various necessary subsidies to Cuba including military.
In Bolivia, June 2005, the U.S. Department of State pulled nonessential personnel out of what was then a specter of civil war intended to change control of the government. The reason for the uprising was instigation by Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Colombiaâ€™s drug cartel.
The United States slapped a full arms ban on Venezuela in mid May but in 2004 the U.S. alone had shipped $8 million in arms to Venezuela, and $51 million in the three years previous to that. Chavez has also bought planes from Brazil, ships from Spain, and helicopters and assault rifles from Russia. Some of these Venezuelan arms have turned up in the hands of Colombian based terrorists. In concert with Castro, Chavez has challenged the U.N.â€™s attempt to halt weapons of mass destruction and terrorism while courting the governments of Iran, Algeria, Libya, and China.
All of these countries although trying to maintain their independence from each other with their desire for personal power, are actually becoming more and more interdependent on each other.
It is assumed by most Caribbean analysts that Cuba will most likely become somewhat unraveled in the event of Castroâ€™s death and although his brother Raul has been by his side since 1959, it is still undetermined how the public will accept him as the ultimate leader as they perhaps try for new freedoms.Â It is also unknown what kind of changes Raul will attempt to make.Â Raul is 75 years old and there is no successor in line to replace him due to the fact that he and Fidel felt that an announced successor in line would offer an opportunity for revolution. All of this lends towards an unstable set of circumstances in this area of the world with several leaders displaying real displeasure with the United States.
Although it would be difficult for these leaders to unite due to their narcissistic natures, it is not unreasonable to think that they would use one another in concert for individual gain.
It is therefore important that we do not let down our guard, or think that our only battles are against radical Islamic terrorists. We are also facing Marxist fascism, drug politics, oil for power brokers, thriving black marketeers, and other sponsors of terrorism in the Caribbean today.