Venezuela Socialist Party deputy meets Castro in show of unity on Cuba trip

zuela’s ruling Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello met with Cuban Communist Party chief Raul Castro on Friday in Havana in a show of unity as the United States steps up pressure on the governments of the allied nations.
In a news conference at the Havana airport, Cabello said they had discussed preparations for the Sao Paulo forum of leftist Latin American and Caribbean groups in Caracas next month and how to better integrate their two nations.
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Cuban Communist Party deputy leader Jose Ramon Machado Ventura took part in the meeting with Cabello, who had earlier on his two-day trip to Havana also met separately with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
“We need to be united because we have a very powerful enemy in common,” Cabello told reporters.
Cuban state-run media said that Castro had “reiterated Cuba’s firm support to the Venezuelan people and government”.
The United States is trying to force out Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in favour of an interim government and new elections, and has charged Cuba’s security forces with propping up Maduro, accusations that Havana has denied.
Last week, Washington tightened its decades-old embargo on Cuba by imposing heavier travel restrictions in what it said was a bid to pressure the country over its involvement in Venezuela.
Meanwhile, the Lima Group regional bloc of 12 nations has taken a different tack of late and is courting Cuba to help find a solution to the political and economic crisis in Venezuela, which has caused an exodus of millions and sharp increases in malnutrition and the spread of preventable disease.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Friday Cuba would have a role to play in Venezuela’s “return to democracy” after holding the second bilateral meeting with her Cuban counterpart Rodriguez in a month.
Cabello dismissed the Lima Group’s intentions as “hostile towards Venezuela” and totally in line with those of the United States even if they sounded more benign.
Cuba, which has been a key backer of the Venezuelan government since the leftist Bolivarian Revolution that began under former president Hugo Chavez in 1998, has said it is open to help mediate but will never betray its ally.
Cuba has mediated in other regional crises in the past, most notably hosting the peace talks between Colombia’s government and Marxist Farc rebels.
However, analysts say Cuba, which receives subsidised oil from Venezuela in exchange for exports of Cuban professional services, has an economic interest in the Socialist Party staying in power.
The Venezuelan opposition has said it would revise that deal.
Meanwhile in Caracas, opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Friday that the opposition does not currently plan to join a new round of talks in Norway with representatives of Maduro, after mediation efforts collapsed last month without a deal.
Talks seeking a political accord for the crisis-stricken nation fell apart on May 29, as opposition delegates repeated calls for President Nicolas Maduro to step down and allow a transitional government to organise a new presidential vote.
Guaido in January assumed a rival interim presidency, citing Venezuela’s constitution, and denounced Maduro’s government as illegitimate after he secured re-election last year in a vote widely criticised as rigged.
During a rally in the central city of Valencia, Guaido said that more talks are “not on the table today. Why not? Because if anything that does not move us toward (Maduro’s resignation) is useless.”
Venezuela’s information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Editor