More Venezuela and Cuba Antics

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary The good news is that Timothy Tracy, the independent filmmaker who was working on a documentary in Venezuela when the Venezuelan government arrested him for “spying,” was freed and sent back to the United States. I am personally glad that chapter is over—this poor innocent was being used as a pawn in a bitter ideological war by the Venezuelan government against the United States. the idea that Tracy was in any way, shape or form trying to create an independent film on the deep divide and chaos happening in Venezuela now was an attempt at spying is ludicrous to say the least.

Of course, one can ask why the Venezuelan government, so hell-bent on trying and maybe imprisoning Tracy for many years, should suddenly switch gears and just release him like that? There are at least three major reasons why. First, the Venezuelan opposition does not accept the presidential election held on April 14th, and has called the vote rigged and therefore illegitimate. The current Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro—who succeeded leftist President Hugo Chavez when he died—is struggling to hold on to power. The socialist system that Chavez put into place is now causing shortages in such basic consumer items such as milk, cooking oil, rice, beans, bread and (ouch!) toilet paper. This is turning many average Venezuelans against Maduro. On top of this, many countries in South America, such as Colombia, Guyana and Chile recognize Venezuela’s opposition head Henrique Capriles, and still show considerable opposition and hostility to the current Venezuelan government

In comes the U.S. government. The U.S. government had been negotiating behind the scenes with Maduro. This is one of the reasons why Maduro has shown less hostility to the United States than did his predecessor Chavez. Maduro realizes that he is being backed into a corner, and this is why he has accepted the U.S. government’s olive branch. Also, the United States in return gets more oil from Venezuela. How long this type of relationship will last remains unknown, but at least it has helped one individual (Tracy) who had been railroaded. In the case of Cuba, there seems to be no movement. The Cuban government is still trying to keep American citizen Alan Gross in prison, and trying to “exchange” him for four Cuban spies. As much as the U.S. government wants Gross freed as well, it will not do so under blackmail. And it should not. The Cuban government would greatly benefit more from releasing Gross and trying to work out deals with the U.S. government in exchange for full diplomatic recognition. Some things never seem to change.

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