Venezuela from a Cuban perspective
The Cuban Revolution and Venezuela and Barrio Adentro and Other Social Missions in the Bolivarian revolution
By German Sanchez
Ocean Press, 2006
REVIEW BY EMMA CLANCY
German Sanchez, Cuban ambassador to Venezuela since 1994, offers the Cuban perspective on the strengthening relationship between Cuba and Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution in two pamphlets released as preview chapters of his forthcoming book Cuba and Venezuela. Sanchez demonstrates a thorough appreciation of the dynamics of the Bolivarian process, particularly the Cuban-supported social missions, which he views as the "engine" of the revolution.
Responding to claims by the right-wing media that Venezuela is undergoing a process of "Cubanisation", Sanchez points out that the two revolutions are starkly different. He outlines how the Cuban Revolution had carried out a radical transformation of the economic and political system within the first two years of the revolutionary process, and how both revolutionary processes are the products of their own national and global political contexts.
Despite the opposition campaign in Venezuela to demonise Cuba, its people and its political system, Sanchez argues that the rich historical and cultural ties between the two nations, and the practical collaboration and mutual-aid programs currently being carried out through the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) agreements and the social missions, have contributed to the deep friendship and solidarity that exists between the two peoples today. He adds, "The overwhelming majority of Latin Americans are less concerned about 'Cubanisation' than they are about the subjection of their countries to the United States and transnational capital".
Sanchez also provides a very thorough and informative account of the development of the social missions in Venezuela, the political context they were launched in and how they have transformed the Bolivarian revolution into a truly democratic and popular process based on the participation of the poor majority in overcoming their economic and social problems.
He outlines the Cuban contribution to these missions — especially the health and education programs — and the impact they've had on the lives of millions of Venezuelans.
Defending the dedication, ability and professionalism of the Cuban health and education professionals against the never-ending attacks from the right-wing media in Venezuela, Sanchez asks, "Will they learn their lesson? Will they finally realise that Cuba is not the hell they paint it to be, or the backwater they attempt to make it seem in order to frighten and confuse the naive? Will they need a special Mission Robinson [literacy mission] to teach them literacy in ethics and professionalism?"
From Green Left Weekly, April 12, 2006.
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