Do you like getting your hands dirty, have a passion for “do it yourself projects” and infiltrating other countries and draining them of their natural resources?
Then why not try a rewarding career as an Imperialist. Crafted over five decades of totalitarian rule, the Cuban guide to Imperialism is guaranteed to get you ruling another state by proxy faster than you can say “ It’s all a lie by the CIA”.
Simply follow these easy three steps used by the Cuban state to seize control of Venezuela and which despite being widely documented by journalists across Latin America, no one in T&T cares about.
1. Nurture would be dictators
The first step to infiltrating another state is being able to spot talented local politicians. Ideally you need to find someone who is charismatic, is an excellent orator and of course harbours idiotic delusions of grandeur.
When Hugo Chavez was released from prison in 1994 after being jailed for leading an attempted coup in 1992, Fidel Castro immediately saw his potential. Welcoming him in Havana, Castro introduced Chavez to a young trade unionist who had been trained by the Cuban intelligence agency (known as G2) and who would be instrumental in running Chavez’s successful election campaign in 1998-Nicolas Maduro.
In 1999, when Chavez became President, he declared that the countries of Bolivar and Marti were “one country united.” A slogan that would ring true as like socialist Cuba, Venezuela would soon run out of democracy and toilet paper.
2. Establish your primary goal
Once you have your local puppet in place it’s time to set up your racket. Fidel Castro wanted control of Venezuela for two reasons - firstly to continue profiting from the drug trade and secondly, getting his hands on much needed oil. As veteran journalist Christopher Dickey has reported on for the Daily Beast, Havana during the 1980’s was a major transshipment point for cocaine headed for the United States. But then in a huge buzz kill, the US war on drugs began to see many Cuban officials being indicted for drug smuggling. This coupled with the disintegration of Cuba’s sugar daddy, the USSR, meant Castro needed new ways to make money. Because you can’t run a socialist paradise on Che Guevara T-shirts alone.
Two of the major drug traffickers in the region, the Colombian FARC guerrillas and the National Liberation Army (ELN), which both had major ties to Castro, began developing operations in Venezuela, transforming the country into a NARCO state. This was in the early 2000s and in what is probably a complete coincidence around the same time T&T’s own crime rate began to dramatically spike.
According to Christopher Dickey “ (Venezuela’s) great leap into narco trafficking came in 2005 when Chavez ended what cooperation had existed with the US Drug Enforcement...A few months later a DC-9 based in Florida but flying out of Venezuela landed in Ciudad del Carmen México, ..it had 5.5 tons of cocaine onboard”. Evidently being an airport security guard in Caracas requires the simple qualification of looking the other way.
On top of all this Chavez began exporting nearly 100,000 barrels of oil per day to Cuba. A policy which continues even now despite millions of Venezuelans suffering from fuel shortages and lack of food, with Maduro borrowing money to continue exports to Havana. As Julio Borges wrote for the New York Times, “Some estimate that over approximately 15 years, Venezuela has subsidised US$35 billion in oil to Cuba.”
The best part is that none of this has drawn any condemnation from Caribbean intellectuals and UWI hippies who love to warn us about the dangers of “imperialism”. That’s because it can only be called imperialism if America was doing it. Which brings us to our last step.
3. Blame America
Here is the best lesson in the Cuban guide to imperialism ; you can commit any crime or human rights atrocity you want, once you blame America.
Are independent newspapers questioning your policies? Well shut them down by accusing them of “media terrorism”. And say you wouldn’t have done if the Native Americans were treated better.
Are human rights groups condemning your use of armed Cuban gangs in Caracas known as collectivos to intimidate dissenters? Just say “ Maybe if America didn’t start the trans-atlantic slave trade, I wouldn’t have done it ! “
Are you using Cuban G2 Intelligence agents to spy on political rivals as well as operate major institutions including the state oil company PDVSA? Well that’s ok. As Bob Marley alluded to, the only evil Intelligence agency is the CIA. What more vindication do you need?
So don’t delay, start leeching off another country today. And as I’m sure my colleague Raffique Shah would agree with me - imperialism, tyranny and brutal human rights violations are only wrong when white people do it.
• Darryn Boodan is
a freelance writer