Venezuela has increased its military ties to Cuba to the concern of many including close adviser’s to President Hugo Chavez. The governments of Cuba and Venezuela have always enjoyed a close relationship but now that relationship has expanded to include military advise. Since the U.S. ceased being a military advisor to Venezuela and as the relationship between the two country’s deteriorated, Venezuela sought military advise from the governments of China, Iran and Russia and now Cuba. There has been a quiet expansion of the role Cuba is playing in Venezuela’s military though the exact scope of the relationship has not been officially defined.
To the concern of many including a close military aid of Chavez, who made an unprecedented public statement, Cuba is involved in military policy, intelligence and weapons training. Those aspects of the military are seen as sovereign concerns of a nation and not those shared with other countries. The government has acknowledged Cuba’s military help but has made no definite statement on the exact role Cuba is playing. President Chavez has always recognized and praised the similar ideologies between both countries. The concern amongst Venezuelans is that Chavez might follow the Cuban military model that consists of: preparing for a US invasion, keeping repressive power in place and repressing domestic discontent.
Adding to this concern is the name change of the military to that of the “Bolivarian Armed Forces” and their use of the slogan “Homeland, Socialism or Death” .