Trolling the Kremlinologists?

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God gave me hair, but not a clue...
God gave me hair, but not a clue...
God gave me hair, but not a clue…

On any normal day, Diosdado Cabello penning a lie-filled Op-Ed for The New York Times about Venezuela’s human rights record would have been the big story.

But today was so crazy, the only bit of his Op-Ed anyone will remember will be the third-to-last paragraph. It took me a third reading to get it, and I think my original first impression was wrong.

Reading it again, well, you tell me…

In Cuba, a decades-long trade embargo caused great hardship but failed to realize the United States’ objective of ending the Cuban revolution. The United Nations’ many votes to lift the embargo exposed how isolated Washington had been in its policy. It would be regrettable if sanctions against Venezuela, first opposed by the White House, now became a way for the Obama administration to appease those in Congress who oppose the historic restoration of relations between the United States and Cuba.

[…]

We have tried to move toward improving relations with the Obama administration, but have been rebuffed.

So what did Diosdado know? And what did Maduro know? And when?

There’s a bottomless pit of Kremlinology to be had here. Or maybe the guy’s just trolling us. The fact is that the piece is remarkably tone-deaf.

1 COMMENT

  1. I just read his op-ed on NYT. Diosdado Cabello is the most shrewd, the most power hungry fellow in the chavista camp. The very fact that even our real-life Frank Underwood wasn’t aware of the negotiations between Havana and Washington is startling to say the very least. Either he knew about it but pretended not to (in order to further jeopardize Maduro), or chavistas as a whole are hopelessly idiotic fuckwits.

  2. Maybe Cabello didn’t know it, but it’s impossible that Maduro was ignorant about everything when people like Dilma Rousseff clearly knew it and repeated like dozens of times that the end of the embargo was close.

    There are like hundreds of sources available:

    To name a few:

    On January this year a commie Brazilian site had an article on “Why Brazil was correct to invest in Cuba”, and in the middle of the article there is a “government source who didn’t want to be identified” claiming that to build a port there was justifiable because the embargo “won’t last long”. And because the port is “just 150 km away from the largest market in the world”.

    http://www.cartacapital.com.br/internacional/por-que-o-brasil-esta-certo-ao-investir-em-cuba-1890.html

    Again, on January!

    Deutsche Welle has now published an article claiming that Brazil was investing in Cuba because they knew what would ensue, reforcing what the “government source who didn’t want to be identified” said on January earlier this year.

    http://www.dw.de/porto-de-mariel-indica-que-brasil-previa-fim-do-isolamento-cubano-dizem-analistas/a-18138027

    I mean, governments interact, if Dilma knew it, Maduro obviously knew it too, I don’t believe for one second that Maduro was in the blind on this. But yeah, maybe Cabello is less influential than we think he is and didn’t know about anything indeed.

    This Maduro’s bizarre circus against the US is for internal consumption only, and it has probably worked the way he have expected to. He would have done it anyway.

    • Of course the Venezuelan government knew. The writing was on the wall, especially after the Democrats limped out of the elections up here in November. Look no further than the OAS Summit announcement from last week to see the signals.

      It’s likely that some of the same persons who consult Cuba on international PR approaches, and who advocate on behalf of Cuba, are helping Venezuela. This was a great PR move, with a tint of intended irony, to hit with a Diosdado piece the same morning the announcement on Cuba was to come out. It begins the narrative “do we really want to do this all over again?”, which I would guess we’ll hear some folks on Capitol Hill now begin to say, and we might even hear Obama start to “lean backwards” on it, despite appearing bullish on it last week.

  3. I don’t know if Diosdado knew. Others certainly didn’t, especially those supposedly beloved of Havana: Jaua, Arreaza.

    All that dignified posturing against the US was just cardboard; Cuba was only too eager to get into bed with the Americans and leave their Venezuelan harlot looking ridiculously out of place.

    How humiliating! burning visas while the Castros were interviewing to get one!

    Chavismo never looked so meaningless.

  4. Que arrechera. Nosotros sancionados, sin poder ir a Miami, y Raul de rumba en los cayos. Que bolas.

    Aporrea in shock, by the way.

  5. Frankly, for a lame-duck president, who has just been trashed in elections, this is a quite big decision, especially since it is hard to understand the why now, especially since it would look that Cuba might be going down on its knees as a result of getting less support from Venezuela… (but on the other hand I guess Cuba could also be benefitting from lower oil prices)

    So perhaps we should wait a bit for what the US Congress says…for many in the US, the anti-Castro Cubans and the pro-Castro Americans, this is a big issue, but for most a totally non-issue.

    • A lame-duck president who has just been trashed in elections is exactly the kind of president who takes dramatic, executive action like this (not forgetting the immigration move) without worrying if it will affect his re-election chances. When you can’t get anything through Congress and you’re looking for a way to establish your legacy, why not do what you would have done all along, were it not for electoral constraints?

      • ‘lame duck’ is an expression, it means someone who cannot be reelected or already lost reelection, and is just tying up loose ends before handing over office to his/her successor… in this case yes, Reagan was in his lame duck period in 1986.

        • A lame duck refers to a President (or whomever) who is still in office but his replacement has already been elected. Unless it’s meaning has changed or is different in Latin America, it does not refer to Obama now or Reagan in ’86 or others in the same position.

        • In your definition, every newly elected president is a lame duck as there is no guarantee that he’ll be elected to a second term.

  6. The Cubans schmoozing Obama, the FARC going lame… As it turned out, everyone in this fuc#%&ng continent was a pitiyanqui,

    And me, painting murals in the 23 for nothing. Life is a bitch, really.

    Where is that red shirt love you got me for christmas love?… I need to change it, a blue one I am getting now…

  7. Why is Diosdado, a thug, a criminal, coupster and human rights violator EVEN ALLOWED to submit an article to NYT?

    That fourth ammendment, right.

      • Think : This is not the NYT asking Diosdado to submit a piece for publication , this is some highly paid professional lobby group arranging for such publication as part of an effort on the part of the regime to improve its image in the US . The regime is in big financial trouble getting worse , its going to need money from international institutions some time next year or alternatively somekind of roll over arrangement with its creditors , to that end they need to improve their image vis a vis the US Public , Congress and finally the US Govt . The piece is not written by Diosdado , its written for Diosdado by some highly paid US firm . What is important is not the piece itself getting published but what it signals about the state of affairs inside the mind of the regime bigwigs and what prompts them to do this.

        • Indeed. that’s kind of what I was getting at. Anyone who’s ever heard DC speak would have a really hard time even imagining him reading that piece out loud, let alone writing it.

  8. My guess is that the chavista inner circle was reasonably well informed, although perhaps not provided a specific timetable for the re-opening of relations. In addition the government information services were not prepared in advance, which is not surprising for many reasons.

    Anyway, one would hope the US public would see through Godgiven’s absurd comparison between sanctioning an entire country versus just a few of its leaders.

    Obama evidently made a rational decision at politically little cost at home and clearly big repercussions abroad.

    The losses:

    * Stalwart anti-Fidel cuban-americans up in arms, the democratic parties political influence in Florida continues to shrivel down
    * Fidel, Raul and their undeserving pals receive get-out-of-jail free cards for Hannukah
    * Likely set back movement for liberal reforms in Cuba
    * turn all the angry opponents of the cuban dictatorial oligarchs into angry opponents of the cuban capitalist oligarchs

    The gains:

    * improvement in the standard of living of most Cubans
    * potential commercial and other opportunities for US citizens, including through increased links between Cuba and Florida
    * greater economic and political influence and stability in the Caribbean, opportunity to work in collaboration with Cuba on regional problems
    * increase freedom in Cuba, for instance by encouraging dissemination of information, educational exchange
    * by offering to remove Cuba from terror-sponsors list in exchange for its encouraging FARC etc to lay down arms, pull the plug on tacit Cuban support of military insurgencies, thus helping stabilize allies such as Colombia
    * shed stigma of past yankee imperialism in LatAm which has seeded mistrust and provided cover for influence peddling by chavistas, peronistas and other weasels

    You do the math. Despite being pissed that the Castros get away scot-free to enjoy a peaceful retirement, I think most people come out better off, even if the US congress does not ease sanctions.

    • You contradict yourself. First you say it is a setback for liberal movements, and then you say that freedom will increase in Cuba.

      Which is it?

      I don´t see how Cuba is an important issue to Floridans. They care about mortgages, not bloody Cuba. What is more: I bet most Floridans can’t find Cuba in a map.

      • No contradiction. However, in Cuba there could be conflicting outcomes: reduce the incentive for political reform, versus increased access to information. If you want the sum total extent of liberalization across all nations provided by the measures, my crystal ball says, 42.

      • Regarding Cuba as an “important issue”. Commercial exchange between the island and continent could be important.

        While on the subject, why would Brazil help build a port in Cuba under the premise that it will provide access to the north american market, when it is obviously not contiguous?

  9. The Diosdado comment above leads to two posible interpretations: a. 1) The Chavista inner circle knew some negotiations were going on between the US and Cuba, but had no idea that a breakthrough had been made. (The timing seems to have been driven in part by the health of prisoner Alan Gross.)

    Alternatively, Diosdado knew that a breakthrough was imminent, but chose not to share that info with Maduro, who went ahead with the ill-timed “Obama=imperialist lackey” march on Sunday.

    If Maduro is understood internally to be affiliated with the pro-Cubans, (viz. Mario Silva) then being kept out of their circle of confidence makes him look terrible. A pendejo.

  10. I urge everyone on here to post comments under Diosdado’s Op-Ed of lies and distortions. People who aren’t really sure what to think read the comments sections to get an understanding of how to react and to hear alternative views….People need to know the truth.

  11. Do you guys realize that after yesterday announcement of love between Cuba and The US of A, Vennys and PDV bonds have jumped up around 8 points?

    It seems like traders believe that Cuba has found another bitch in Obama and is leaving his old ugly one in the dust. I find that hard to believe, I think that Cuba is not giving up on Venezuela at all, he is just taking some eggs out of there and putting in Obama’s basket.

    To believe that Cuba is giving up on Venezuela is insane, Cuba just added a second source of income and I believe that is what Raul is telling to Maduro “Hijo mio, esto te va a aliviar la caja, yo sigo siendo tu Papi, tu maestro, solo te estoy quitando un poco de presion. Quien iba a pensar que el imperio era el que nos iba a sacar de este peo?!”

  12. Diosdado Cabello: defender of human rights. For once I have to wonder, I’m all for hearing the views of exotic tropical machiavels or Slavic despots as translated through some gringo marketing outfit, but surely NYT op-eds should pass some sort of smell test….I mean really….

    • opinion / editorial by definition is what it is, the author’s un-edited spiel!
      Take it in accordingly!

      Now, big PR circus all around! :good show!
      FARC and Cuba, US and diosdado, the pope and other cuban satellites (Evo, et alias), brazil and spain, Canada!

      Realpolitik in the big leagues, and Venezuela being pushed around as a pawn back and forth.
      Its embarrassing to say the least, our international standing as a colony, a booty and a trading chip!

      Chavista nomenclature was ll in on this, and have been developing testaferros and legit investments alike, saving and hiding cash, weapons and favours/ extorsion material for YEARS to be ready for whatever happens next.

      Chavista rank and file, condones usados.
      Venezuela, ready for the rape to come from our friendly neighbours, and international big oil!

      Sad to say, but it was all foreseeable: the moment people in the nation stop doing their jobs, all fails apart.
      Militares, parlamentarios, poders publicos and above all , ciudadanos!

      Venezuela ex pais. : Un territorio sin dolientes, un gran campamento minero, 500 years and counting…

  13. Of course the Venezuelans knew nothing about this. Maduro said so yesterday – he said he was finding out via Twitter and CNN!

  14. Not sure if it matters that regime official knew or didn’t know. The question presupposes a synchronicity between Havana & Caracas that is unlikely. For one, Cuba-US relations have a long history, going back to the Spanish-American War in 1898 and subsequent Cuban independence from Spain (and growing dependence on the U.S.). (Jose Marti’s essay Nuestra America is especially eloquent on Cuba & Lat Am, US relations: [http://writing.upenn.edu/library/Marti_Jose_Our-America.html].
    The Cuban Revolution and the Cold War context brought about a radical shift in Cuba-US relations. Obama’s present shift may seem sudden but it was likely long in the making, with the participation of a numbers of intermediaries, like the Canadians, who since Trudeau have had cosier ties with Cuba. In part, Obama’s foreign policy shift may be one of those ‘legacy’ items of a prez now concerned with what he will leave for historians to judge. For the present, Obama has pissed off a good number of radical & Republican Cuban-Americans. But in the long haul it will be Obama’s name the one linked to this ice breaking decision, the short-to middle-term results of which in Cuba are yet to be judged.

    • It matters a great deal. If the Venezuelans did not know, it means the Cubans are going around behind their partner’s backs. It creates a wedge between Venezuela and Cuba, the first in fifteen years. It creates a vacuum of trust between the two sides. The whole idea of Cubazuela, whereby Venezuela and Cuba consult and act together on *everything* pretty much goes down the toilet.

      I say those are all very significant things.

      • I’m not sure there was ‘trust’ between the two, certainly not from a Cuban perspective, and likely not from some regime sectors in Venezuela. More like a mutually beneficial relationship – ‘revolutionary’ capital in exchange for energy capital in the form of oil. At present, in Cuba not much has changed; the Castros are still in power, and the embargo remains until laws are changed in the US, something that may not be easily accomplished with the recent Republican wins.

      • Partner?? Vzla a partner of Cuba?? Jamás. Partnership is what Chávez, Maduro et al tried to sell Vzlans to make the boiling water feel like an inviting warm bath. Helping to sell the Potemkin village scenery were the repeated screeds on national sovereign vs US Imperialism, CIAism, and a host of other isms: nothing more than turbulence to distract from the reality: Vzla as a puppet of Cuba. For those with vision difficulties and in need of proof, check out the Cuban airplane Maduro took after he was sworn in, using as an excuse the faltering Airbus A-320, check out Maduro’s and Diosdi’s need to go to Havana for post-election benediction, prior to the spin-doctor announcement of a military-civilian alliance. Wakey-wakey, folks!

  15. Our government did indeed look lost for words. That may be as important as knowing or not what the Cubans are doing.

    They were calling for an American flag burning session the day before the thaw.

  16. Why everybody is so sure that cuban-american radicals in Florida are drowning in their own blood?

    The dictatorship’s still a bunch of douchebags screwing millions of people’s lives everyday, and the final objective is to abolish the regime and destroy communism there.

    Now, having the castros in prison is something that’s simply not gonna happen (They’re like, what? 100 years old each one?), they got away with it, and their asslickers will take every chance to rub it in the rest of the world’s faces forever and ever.

    As long as there’s a right-raping regime in the island, the radicals still have political power and influence, and when the regime’s gone, the radicals’ll have their victory at last.

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