Florida Governor Rick Scott met this week with Venezuelan activists who are seeking US action against the “government’s crackdown on protestors in their South American country.” “Mr. president, you’ve got to declare economic sanctions. You’ve got to show up,” Scott told a group of Venezuelan exiles at a Florida restaurant, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “He cares about Ukraine. But he’s not caring about Venezuela,” Scott said on Monday.
Students and other Venezuelans have been protesting President Nicolás Maduro Moros and his government since early 2014, but Maduro has ordered an aggressive crackdown on these demonstrations. More than a dozen people have died during the crackdown, and more than 100 have been injured.
There is one common denominator in both Ukraine and Venezuela – Russia.
Luis Fleischman co-Editor of The Americas Report writes, “As Russian control of Crimea consolidates and the fear of a potential invasion of continental Ukraine increases, Russian activities closer to home in the Western Hemisphere have been largely overlooked or perhaps just disregarded. There have been reports of increasing Russian military cooperation with countries in Latin America that are hostile to the United States, mainly Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. This includes agreements between Russia and the above named countries that would enable Russia to place their naval logistic facilities in Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan territory. According to Russia’s Secretary of Defense, those facilities could serve long-range aircraft. The motive, according to Russia expert, Stephen Blank is that Russia seeks access to ports and air bases for refueling purposes as well as great power influence.”
Fleishman notes, “Furthermore, as the U.S. was presenting a clear benevolent post-cold war approach, the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela and similar governments in Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua emerged. Their political agenda was quite clear as they became openly hostile towards the United States with aspirations of reducing American influence in the region and if possible in the world.”
“This did not go unnoticed by Vladimir Putin and his Machiavellian circle. In my book ‘Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era‘ I warned that Russia may use Latin America as a card to prevent the further advance of the West and NATO in the former Soviet sphere of influence. Thus, I concluded Russia’s presence in the region could have negative geo-political consequences,” warns Fleishman.
ABOUT LUIS FLEISCHMAN
Luis Fleischman is co-editor of The Americas Report and the author of the book, “Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era: The Security Threat to the United States.”