The secret memo to Raúl Castro
“We have managed to control the nation with the largest oil reserves on the planet without firing a single shot and without openly involving our armed forces. And we have done it without the world realizing that the Venezuelan government’s most important decisions are made by us”
To: President Raúl Castro
XXXXXX in Caracas
Subject: A Proposal for Venezuela
It is almost time for you to hand over the Cuban presidency to your successor. This coincides with the end of my time as head of our clandestine operations in Venezuela. But I’m not writing to bid farewell and celebrate our achievements. The time for that will come.
I am writing because I am worried. The situation here is no longer tenable and calls for drastic change. The purpose of this memo is to make a proposal to ensure the continuity of our relationship with Venezuela.
The stability of Cuba depends on keeping a friendly, generous government in Caracas. To that end we have devoted – for almost two decades now – our best talents, institutions, and resources. And we’ve done well.
Absenteeism in schools and high schools is enormous since students and teachers spend most of their day looking for food
We kept control over the nation with the largest oil reserves on the planet without firing a single shot and without openly involving our armed forces. And, thus far, we’ve done it without the world realizing that the most important decisions dealing with Venezuela’s economy, politics, internal security and foreign affairs are ones we shape – or even make. The same goes for key appointments in the armed forces, the judiciary and in the intelligence and security services. In all the areas that matter to us, we’ve been in the driver’s seat.
The benefits to Cuba have been immense. It’s not just the millions of barrels of oil that have propped up our economy. Venezuela also pays generously for our doctors, sports trainers, and the various “advisers” we send them. The commission fees that our companies charge Caracas for brokering food and other imports generate huge profits. Our diplomatic influence has been boosted by our control over Venezuela’s foreign service and embassies. Thanks to deliveries of subsidized Venezuelan oil, our influence over many countries in the Caribbean and Central America has been enormous. We have evicted the USA from there.
That’s how high the stakes are.
As you know, the situation here, which had long been difficult, is becoming unsustainable. Eighty-eight percent of the hospitals report that they do not have medicines for their patients, 90% can no longer offer emergency services, 79% say that they are often without water and in 96% there is not enough food. Infant mortality is one of the highest in the world. Absenteeism in schools and high schools is enormous since students and teachers spend most of their day looking for food. In 2017, three-quarters of Venezuelans lost, on average, 11 kilograms of weight. Eighty-nine percent of the population now lives in poverty. The homicide rate is one of the highest in the world. Inflation too.
The oil industry, which generates 90% of the country’s export revenue, has collapsed. Today, its crude production is half of what it was when Commander Chávez came to power in 1999. It is estimated that close to three million Venezuelans have left the country.
We are on the verge of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs