Excerpt from the testimony of Moises Naim, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, at yesterday's hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
[A]s we speak there is another improbable and surprising external power calling the shots in Venezuela and interfering with the will of the people there: Cuba. I hope that this Committee will discuss Cuba's defining role in Venezuela in a future hearing [...]
Rumors, individual cases, whispered revelations, confessions by Venezuelan government operatives, wild accusations and sporadic reports all tell of the Cuban influence on Venezuelan government policies, of the enormous influence of narcotraffickers or their accomplices in the government and of the massive corruption in the use of government revenues and contracting. The US security and financial agencies are well-informed on each of these realities. My recommendation is to conduct an information audit of all intelligence and law enforcement reports that illuminate the Venezuelan situation and to release the information that can be made public without threatening security assets or damaging the intelligence community's need to protect sources and methods. I am sure that such audit will find that the US government holds secret information whose revelation can shed important light into the workings of the Venezuelan government and its Cuban partners (or the narcotraffickers in its midst) without causing any lasting damage to US intelligence.
It is critically necessary to present information about the level of foreign influence, illegal money flows, government criminality and corrupt practices in Venezuela and to document how its government has become an important enabler of the illicit trade in drugs, people and weapons. Under conditions of widespread media censorship and coercion, the potential for manipulating the public with false information is high. Again, the US government could take an important step in countering this misinformation by systematically revealing what it knows about these corrupt practices.
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