Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Qaddafi's Friends in Cuba

Qaddafi's Friends in Cuba
By Eli Rosenberg | February 22, 2011 12:48pm

With the unrest in Libya and particularly with his recent public
relations debacles, leader Muammar Qaddafi is rapidly losing any
remaining fans. Yet down in South America, apparently, a few stalwarts

Fidel Castro penned a column in Cuba's Granma, warning of Libya's appeal
to the United States because of it's vast petroleum reserves. "For me it
is absolutely evident that the United States is not worried about peace
in Libya, and will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade this
rich country maybe in a matter of hours or very few days," he wrote.
Perhaps tellingly, though, while the two leaders have been allies at
times, Castro was reticent with outright support for Qaddafi, noting
that "we have to wait the necessary time to know with rigor how much is
fact or lie."

In a look at the history of Qaddafi's relationship with Venezuela,
Caracas daily El Universal reported that Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez proclaimed his support for Qaddafi last night in 2009*, claiming
that "Qaddafi is to Libya as [Simon] Bolívar is to us." Simon Bolivar
was involved in the liberation of much of Latin America from colonial
rule. The superlatives didn't end there, Chavez calling Qaddafi a
"revolutionary soldier," "a leader of of the Libyan revolution," and a
"leader of all of Africa as well as Latin America."

Chavez and Qaddafi, both leaders of oil-rich nations, have had an
unlikely relationship blossom between them in the past few years. El
Universal reports that Chavez has visited Libya five times. Libya
awarded Chavez with the "Qaddafi Human Rights Prize" in 2004. In March
2009, Qaddafi named a football stadium in Benghazi after Chavez. On his
end, Chavez made Qaddafi the special guest at a conference between
African and Latin American countries held on Venezuela's Isla Margarita
later that year, where he also presented Qaddafi with a replica of Simon
Bolivar's sword. Rumors were swirling as recently as last night that the
Libyan strongman had made his way to Venezuela to seek shelter.


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