The U.S. Military's Real Worry about Venezuela: That We'll Stop Giving Oil Away to Cuba

These Colors Don't Run* *Certain conditions apply. Offer void where it inconveniences rapprochement with tinpot communist island dictatorships.
These Colors Don't Run* *Certain conditions apply. Offer void where it inconveniences rapprochement with tinpot communist island dictatorships.
These Colors Don’t Run*
*Certain conditions apply. Offer void where it inconveniences rapprochement with tinpot communist island dictatorships.

This, from a press conference today by Commander General John F. Kelly (USMC), U.S. Southern Command, simply defies parody:

The real shame of it is, of course, they have the second-largest oil reserves in the world.  If it — if it continues to degrade, I’m — here’s where I am concerned.  There are many, many countries in Latin America that take virtually free fuel, Petrocaribe, that Chavez and now Maduro provides, Venezuela, Colombia, Jamaica — not Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, places like that.  These small, small countries rely on — on the oil more or less free.  Their economies would, I think, collapse if they didn’t get the oil.

So if we see a continued degradation — you know, right now, I think the inflation rate is 56 percent.  That is impossible to sustain that in any economy.  So if he starts to — if they make a decision to stop the flow of relatively or all but free oil to these smaller economies, and those economies fail, then that — that would have certainly a migration impact, and you know where they’re coming, and — and particularly Cuba.  I mean, Cuba is very dependent on the Petrocaribe, as is Nicaragua, and if that was turned off, I think there would be some real repercussions economically.  But, again, I’m — I’m a military guy and — just a simple military guy trying to do a job.  I don’t understand the economy — economic thing very well. But we’re watching.  And I just wish the Venezuelan people well.

Was this a freelance burrada? A calculated gambit? An actual strategic calculus? Some mix of the above?

Is there some kind of back-channel through which the U.S. military is warning Maduro that under no circumstances shall he consider cutting off the Cuban oil giveaway? Has the whole world gone friggin’ insane?!

Inquiring minds want to know…

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