Foreign Policy Blogs

Cuban Minister Consults Venezuelan Government

Ramiro Valdes, a Cuban revolutionary closely tied to Fidel Castro for decades, is now working with the Venezuelan government in Caracas. Valdes currently serves as Cuba’s Minister in communications and information.

The Venezuelan opposition is incensed, pointing out Valdes’ previous role as Interior Minister in Cuba, where he was in charge of surveillance and accused of repressing his countrymen. A related CNN article is available here.

Hugo Chávez’s explanation for Valdes’ presence is that Cuba too has experienced power outages in the past. This may make sense, but does it not also serve as evidence that something is not working in the social systems pursued by Venezuela and Cuba? To be fair, Chavez said that other officials will come from Argentina and Brazil to provide technical assistance.

Valdes may serve as a prominent example of ties between the Venezuelan and Cuban governments, but these connections are nothing new. Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro are close friends, and Cuban advisors have operated in the country for years.

On Thursday, rallies took place in support of Chávez, to mark the anniversary of his coup d’etat attempt in 1992. It was that event which catapulted him to national prominence.



David D. Sussman

David D. Sussman is currently a PhD Candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), in Boston, Massachusetts. Serving as a fellow at the Feinstein International Center, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the lives of Colombian refugees and economic migrants in Caracas, Venezuela. David has worked on a variety of migrant issues that include the health of displaced persons, domestic resettlement of refugees, and structured labor-migration programs. He holds a Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School, where he studied the integration of Somali and Salvadoran immigrants. David has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and is fluent in Spanish. He has lived in Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela, and also traveled throughout Latin America. In his free time David enjoys reading up on international news, playing soccer, cooking arepas, and dancing salsa casino. Areas of Focus: Latin America; Migration; Venezuela.