HAVANA - Relations between the United States and Cuba have quickly deteriorated as the two countries continue to exchange verbal blows over the situation in Venezuela.
The American government argues Cuba and Russia are playing a central role in undermining the democratic dreams of the Venezuelan people and their welfare.
“No nation has done more to sustain the death and daily misery of ordinary Venezuelans, including Venezuela’s military and their families, than the communists in Havana,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.
“Cuba is the true imperialist power in Venezuela,” Pompeo added.
Pompeo alleges, without proof, Cuba continues to train Venezuela’s secret police in the use of torture tactics, domestic spying techniques and mechanisms of repression.
In a tweet, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez rejected the allegations and called them lies.
“Cuba doesn't interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs just as Venezuela doesn't interfere in Cuba’s,” Rodriguez said in a separate tweet.
“It is absolutely not true that Cuba is engaged in FANB (National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela) or Venezuela security services operations,” Rodriguez said. “These are slanderous rumors disseminated by U.S. government with aggressive political purposes.”
Cuba admits to having what it calls a “Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement” with Venezuela, where more than 20,000 Cuban collaborators are in the South American country. Most of them are women and 96 percent are health workers, the statement said.
“Others work in other sectors such as education, culture, sports and agro-food production,” the statement said. The Cuban government has not provided figures on how many military advisors it has in Cuba.
In late February, when Univision journalist Jorge Ramos and his team were detained by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a Cuban-American member of the team of journalists said she detected the Cuban accent of some of Maduro’s security agents.
When asked if the U.S. has security personnel helping guard opposition leader and Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaidó, Pompeo declined to provide details.
Venezuela Power Problems
In a statement from Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, the Cuban government called Venezuela’s electrical power problems “terrorist sabotage against the power supply system.”
Cuba did not provide any evidence.
The statement goes on to allege the U.S. intends “...to harm the defenseless population of an entire nation and turn it into a hostage of the non-conventional war.”
Pompeo said Venezuela’s power problems “are a direct result of years and years of neglect to the Venezuelan energy system.”
Oil to Cuba
On Monday, Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó said there will be no more oil shipments to Cuba.
Guaidó said the National Assembly unanimously approved a state of emergency. He said suspending oil shipments to Cuban will help improve the ongoing economic crisis.
Guaidó asked for international cooperation to help enforce the measure.
The Spanish press agency EFE reported Cuba receives roughly 100,000 barrels per day of crude from Venezuela.
“Insurance companies and flag carriers that facilitate these give-away shipments to Cuba are now on notice,” said John Bolton, assistant to the president for national security affairs.
Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.