The Uprising in Egypt as Seen by Caracas and La Havana
Venezuela and Cuba blame the US for the uprisings in the Middle East. The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the role and the interference of the US were "shameful." These words, however, came after a conversation with his "friend," the Libyan Leader, Muammar Gaddafi, a champion of violating human rights.
After the turmoil in the Middle East, Chavez was apparently worried, and called his other friend," the President of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, who recently cracked down violently on protesters, himself. In July 2010, Assad for the first time visited Caracas, where he received the warmest welcome. "Viva our brother Assad! May God enlighten him and give him a long life in this battle that he adopted for dignity", Chavez said, presumably more interested in the stability of dictatorships than in the stability of the Middle East.
The Cuban Leader, Fidel Castro, apparently decided to tackle the uprisings in the Middle East in his op-eds, called "Reflections of Fidel." According to Castro, the fate of the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, is sealed. Castro then went on to blame the United States for both the fall of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and the mass demonstrations in Egypt. The problem for Castro is that Washington backed the new liberalism in Tunisia and turned Cairo into its principal ally in the Arab world. Further, he accused the US of "Machiavellian conduct," which "includes supplying weapons to the Egyptian government, while at the same time USAID was supplying funds to the opposition." No comments were made on human rights violations in the Middle East, or on the uprisings, perhaps to evade comparisons with the Cuban regime. State-run media in Cuba and in Venezuela have so far given only until limited coverage on the crisis in Egypt and in Tunisia.
From the press:
February 1, 2011
Op-Ed by Fidel Castro: The die is cast for Mubarak
The die is cast for Mubarak, and not even the support of the United States can save his government. An intelligent people, with a glorious history, which left its mark on human civilization, live in Egypt. […]
At the end of World War II, Egypt was under the brilliant leadership of Abdel Nasser who, in conjunction with Jawaharlal Nehru –Mahatma Gandhi's heir – African leaders Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed Sekou Toure and Sukarno, president of the recently liberated Indonesia, created the Non-Aligned Movement and promoted the struggle for the independence of former colonies. The nations of South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa, such as Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Western Sahara, the Congo, Angola, Mozambique and others, immersed in the battle against French, British, Belgian and Portuguese colonialism, backed by the United States, were fighting for their independence with support from the USSR and China.
After the triumph of our Revolution, Cuba joined that movement which was on the march.
In 1956, Britain, France and Israel launched a surprise attack on Egypt, which had nationalized the Suez Canal. The bold act of solidarity on the part of the USSR, which even threatened to deploy its strategic missiles, paralyzed the aggressors.
The death of Abdel Nasser on September 28, 1970, was an irreparable blow to Egypt. The United States continued to conspire against the Arab world, which holds the largest oil reserves on the planet. […]
The constantly more destructive risks of war are very much present. Will the political leaders have sufficient serenity and equanimity to face up to them? The future of our species will depend on that. Cuba Debate, Granma (Cuba)
January 31, 2011
Op-Ed by Fidel Castro: US supplies weapons to the Egyptian government, while USAID supplies funds to the opposition
[…] The existing world order was imposed by the United States at the end of World War II, and it reserved for itself all the privileges.
Obama does not have any way to manage the pandemonium which [the US] has created. A few days ago the government collapsed in Tunisia, where the United States had imposed neo-liberalism and was happy with its political prowess. The word democracy had vanished from the scene. It is incredible how now, when the exploited people are shedding their blood and assaulting stores, Washington is stating its satisfaction with the defeat.
Everybody is aware that the United States converted Egypt into its principal ally within the Arab world. A large aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine, escorted by U.S. and Israeli warships, passed through the Suez Canal en route for the Persian Gulf some months ago, without the international press having access to what was occurring there. Egypt was the Arab country to receive the largest supplies of armaments. Millions of young Egyptians are suffering from the unemployment and the food shortages provoked within the world economy, and Washington affirms that it is supporting them. Its Machiavellian conduct includes supplying weapons to the Egyptian government, while at the same time USAID was supplying funds to the opposition. Can the United States halt the revolutionary wave which is shaking the Third World? Cuba Debate, Granma (Cuba)
January 31, 2011
President Chavez demands respect for the sovereignty of Arab countries
The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela demanded once again respect for the sovereignty of the Arab countries, among them Tunisia and Egypt, in the face of meddling by the United States Government. […]
"I would like to say as I did yesterday, that there should be respect for the sovereignty of those countries. Now you are seeing comments from Washington and some European nations. As President Gaddafi said to me, It's shameful, it makes you kind of sick to see the meddling of the U.S., wanting to take control," Chavez commented.
Chavez talked to Assad and Gaddafi
President Chavez stated that he held a phone conversation with the President of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar Al Assad, and Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, and told them he is following the evolution of the Egyptian people with particular interest..
The Venezuelan President pleaded for peaceful solutions in Tunisia and Egypt, "abiding by the Constitution, each country's laws; for the Arab world to continue progressing, overcoming miseries, colonialism and division. The empire is skillful; it divides, seizes a country, controls it and divides it."
In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, President Chavez expressed that he was "confident that they will find their own path of concord, justice and welfare in the current situation."
The statement also reads that the Venezuelan President "will continue to keep in touch with leaders of the Arab world in the coming days, as part of his close monitoring to the development of the events in that fraternal region of the world." […] AVN (Venezuela)
January 31, 2011
Protesters take over Egypt embassy in Caracas
A group of young Venezuelan-Egyptians took over the Egyptian embassy in solidarity with the widespread protests that have swept the Middle Eastern country in recent days and reportedly left after speaking with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro.
Although the protest was at first peaceful, it turned violent when the security guards of the embassy tried to intervene. […]
President Hugo Chavez also said on the state TV, "They wanted to protest, but they should mot have done that because we are obliged to protect all of the embassies, which are sovereign territory."
After a quick intervention by Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolas Maduro, demonstrators agreed to leave the embassy. They said they will nevertheless organize more actions until President Hosni Mubarak leaves Egypt. Press TV (Egypt)
January 29, 2011
Protests in Caracas in front of the Egyptian Embassy
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that the situation in the Embassy of Egypt in Caracas returned to normal after a group of Venezuelan citizens, Egyptian by birth, seized the diplomatic seat to support the demonstrations carried out in this Arab country to demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
During an event in state Carabobo, central north of Venezuela, with the new chiefs of military units of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB), President Chavez said: "I just talked with Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro because this event occurred today, a very worrying event which should not have happened in Caracas. Minister Maduro met with the leader of the group and they went out of the Embassy out of respect for Chavez and the Venezuelan people. They wanted to demonstrate but they should not have done that because it is an embassy and we are obliged to protect every embassy, as they are sovereign territories. We managed to do it peacefully," he said.
The Egyptian Ambassador to Venezuela got in touch with the National Executive to ask for help, so the Venezuelan Government acted immediately to solve the situation. "The Egyptian Ambassador to Venezuela contacted our Government and I immediately gave orders to Interior and Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami and security bodies. The Ambassador authorized our police forces to enter to the seat of the embassy if necessary, but I said no. [..]. We do not want violent events. I also said that if it were necessary I myself would talk with the leader of these young people. I would talk to him. But it was not necessary."
President Chavez took the opportunity to highlight the democracy and peace existing in Venezuela, beyond differences with right-wing sectors. "Here, in all modesty, with our problems, we go ahead, united; debating our differences; claiming to each other; protesting what we have to, but peacefully, working together and using this wonderful Constitution," he stressed. […] AVN (Venezuela)
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