In an example of symbiotic mutualism in the animal world, the clownfish feeds on small invertebrates that otherwise have potential to harm the sea anemone, while the fecal matter from the clownfish provides nutrients to the sea anemone. The clownfish is additionally protected from predators by the anemone's stinging cells, to which the clownfish is immune.
There are many cases of such relationships in the animal world. They also exist in the political world, whenever two countries or political regimes support each other, each one supplying to the other what it lacks, so that both can survive. Mutatis mutandi the links between the political regimes of Cuba and Venezuela can be classified, at least partially, as symbiotic. Venezuela supplies Cuba with energy and money and Cuba supplies Venezuela with advice on how to keep its current political regime in power. However, this symbiosis is so asymmetrical, so lopsided in the Cuban favor that another type of link can also be said to apply: a colonial relationship, on the basis of which Cuba extracts from Venezuela much more than what Venezuela receives from Cuba.
Colonialism is the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial control over another country, occupying it with settlers and exploiting its resources…
In order to better understand the concept of colonialism we read in: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/colonialism/: “Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another…. usually [involves] the transfer of population to a new territory as permanent settlers while maintaining political allegiance to their country of origin. Marx was of the opinion that colonialism was “a progressive force, bringing modernization to a backward feudal society”. Lenin was not so bullish on colonialism, saying that “imperialism was a technique which allowed European countries to put off the inevitable domestic revolutionary crisis by exporting their own economic burdens onto weaker states…. He argued that the falling rate of profit caused an economic crisis that could only be resolved through territorial expansion”.
Both opinions, Marx’s and Lenin’s, seem to fit the Cuba-Venezuela case. A former PDVSA executive, now in exile, Edgar Paredes, has sent me a useful summary of the main characteristics of the relationship, to show how well they apply to the Cuba-Venezuela relationship: He says:
<· Strategies which guide the economic and political decisions being taken by the Venezuelan regime are being formulated with determinant participation of the Cuban regime
<· The illness of Hugo Chavez has been taken over by the Cuban government as their business, to the exclusion of the Venezuelan people and, even, some of Chavez’s relatives
<!-There are numerous Cuban bureaucrats and military personnel taking decisions on many sectors of Venezuelan national life: military, ports, identification, security matters, agriculture, electricity and others
<· Crude petroleum and products flow from Venezuela to Cuba and represent a significant direct transference of Venezuelan wealth to Cuba.
I add: there are about 50,000 Castro Cubans in Venezuela. This represents an occupation force since it includes abundant military and security personnel. At least since 2004 the amount of Venezuelan economic assistance to Cuba has been of the order of $2.5-3billion per year, a total of more than $20 billion and counting. Cuba has become the buying agent of Venezuela in foreign markets for much of the food and equipment Venezuela imports, earning important commissions for this activity.
What is summarized above can be said to represent a substantial loss of sovereignty for Venezuela and fits very closely the colonial model, one in which Cuba is the colonialist and Venezuela the colony. Edgar Paredes adds that this situation should call for a representation before the United Nations Decolonization Committee and could also serve as a unifying force for the Venezuelan opposition that, so far, has not considered this issue a priority.
It’s time to move.