For Cuba and Venezuela, US Silence May Not Be Golden

Photograph Source: Difference engine – Own work – CC BY 2.0

The U. S. President and his Secretary of State frequently expound about the supposed failings of enemies abroad. Recently they’ve blasted China’s response to the pandemic, Venezuela’s dictatorship, Cuba’s “slave doctors” overseas, and even Iranian border guards beating up on Afghan migrants. But they’ve been mostly silent about two recent disruptions of the imperialist status quo.

Firing his AK-47 automatic rifle, an apparently mentally-ill Cuban émigré on April 30 caused serious damage to the Embassy building and the bronze stature of Cuban national hero Jose Marti. The only peep of official reaction came from the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Charge daffaires Mara Tekach stated that, “the U.S. Embassy condemns the shooting” and “the United States takes its Vienna Convention responsibilities very seriously.”

Her reference was to the multi-lateral United Nations agreement of 1961 that converted national customs into international norms for conducting diplomatic relations. The requirement emerged for host governments to protect the envoys of enemy countries and to respect “the inviolability of mission premises.”

Assailant Alexander Alazo told investigators that if Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas had appeared at the door, he would have killed him. There were no injuries. Washington authorities detained the shooter and charged him with assault with intent to kill and possession of an unregistered firearm. The incident was characterized as a hate crime. That it was: generations of U.S. politicians and Cuban – American political leaders have been railing against Cuba.

Ambassador Cabañas declared that, “Neither State Department officials nor the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has issued even one formal public condemnation of the attack.” Instead, “the Secretary inveighed against the Cuban medical brigades that today are offering assistance in dozens of countries in the world.”

At a press conference May 13, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez blamed the U.S. government for “complicit silence” in regard to “a grave terrorist attack” and for using “hate speech” that is a “permanent instigation to violence.”

Rodríguez mentioned the accused shooter’s attendance at the Doral Jesus Worship Center in Florida. Frank López, the pastor there, is friendly toward “Senator Mark Rubio … and other known extremist figures.” Plus, the “U.S. Vice President … recently visited that church,” and in 2019 gave a speech there “openly hostile to Cuba.”

Clearly, the U. S. blind eye toward Cuban-American paramilitary conspiracies, the U.S. turn to germ warfare, and a U.S. economic blockade directed at causing human misery are all manifestations of hatred. That’s so also with the impunity awarded arch-conspirators like Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch.

Cuba’s representatives serving abroad are no strangers to hatred manifesting as terrorism. A recent historical survey provided by Cuba’s security services cites: “83 attacks against Cuban embassies throughout the world and 29 attacks against Cuban diplomats with eight deaths as the result of terrorism encouraged, financed, or allowed by Washington.”

Another mission of hate and terror emerged on May 3-4; a small invasion force of mainly Venezuelan Army deserters attempted to invade Venezuela from the sea. As with the Embassy affair, U.S. leaders said very little.

Venezuela’s Army and civilian militia quickly finished off the expedition, which had departed from northeastern Colombia. One of their number, a former U.S. Special Forces soldier, told his captors that the purpose of the force had been to seize President Nicolas Maduro and take him to the United States. Florida-based company Silvercorps USA had charge of the operation.

The company’s owner is U.S. Special Forces veteran Jordan Goudreau.

Goudreau had recruited former Green Berets to supervise the training of the dissident Venezuelan troops. Two of them are now prisoners in Venezuela.

Venezuelan opposition figures had contracted with Goudreau and Silvercorps USA to carry out the invasion. A contract worth $212.9 million was signed in an expensive condo in Miami. Venezuelan oil resources stolen by the U.S. government served as guarantee for the transaction.

U.S. leaders said little about the assault. Secretary of State Pompeo indicated that, if necessary, “We will use every tool that we have” to retrieve the two captured U.S. mercenaries. President Trump remarked only that he “wouldn’t send a small, little group. No, no, no. It would be called an army. It would be called an invasion.”

Trump might have remained totally silent in view of his personal connection with Silvercorps USA. President Maduro on May 4 declared that two of the Silvercorps invaders were “members of the security team of the president of the United States.” Goudreau reportedly “worked as security at Trump rallies” – one in Charlotte, NC , for example – and “Silvercorp USA also apparently provided security for a Trump rally in Houston.”

According to the company’s website, “We provide governments and corporations with realistic and timely solutions to irregular problems.” Jordan Goudreau has “planned and led international security teams for the president of the United States as well as the secretary of defense.”

A mix of nefarious connections, hatred, and terrorism contributed to these irregular attacks on Cuba and Venezuela. Such material does not lend itself to official pronouncements. That nothing is said about the incentive for the two actions also makes sense.

Cuba and Venezuela put people and people’s basic needs first. They exemplify an alternative to U.S. purposes. Those in charge in Washington, imperialists to the core, seek to preserve the profiteering, market-based political and economic system that holds most of the world in its grip. Employing terrorism and military aggression, they stop at nothing.

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.