PICTURES: Chavez successor attended "communist training school" in Cuba
Pictures have emerged of Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, apparently attending a communist training school in Havana, Cuba
New pictures show the self-appointed successor to Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, at what has been described to The Commentator as a "communist training school" in Cuba.
Maduro, who recently assumed the role of acting president of Venezuela, is often keen to burnish his socialist credentials, however the new pictures, if accurate, will cause great concern that Venezuela is due to tack harder to the left if Maduro is elected on April 14th.
The images were published earlier this month by the Diario del Huila, Neiva, Colombia and were provided by Israel Guarnizo Silva, who says he studied with Nicolas Maduro at the 'School of Political Education' between 1986 and 1987 in Havana, Cuba.
Maduro is often portrayed as a man with a simple background of being a bus driver, union official and someone who rose through the ranks to become Chavez's Vice President. The new images will certainly cause concern that the man is far more than that - a well-trained, hard line, old school communist from Havana in the 1980s.
The images are somewhat corroborated by a news story from 2011 which states that Maduro went out of his way on a trip to Havana, to make sure the importance of the "Escuela de formacion politica" (School of Political Education).
Maduro emphasised the importance of the new School of Political Education for the ALBA Armed Forces, calling it a “vanguard experience not just in Latin America but for the entire world.”
Observers have noted, "The School of Political Education for the ALBA Armed Forces appears to be a communist counterweight to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC)."
During the Cold War, WHISC was known as the School of the Americas and gained undue notoriety for being 'responsible' for training groups linked to anti-Marxist Latin American military regimes. Such accusations were never proven and the School of Americas, which closed 12 years ago, was known for teaching professional courses to individuals, not degree-granting curricula to groups.
Latin America expert Joel Hirst told The Commentator, "It has been 25 years since the fall of the Berlin wall, yet Latin American governments are only increasing their deference to tiny, totalitarian, and economically irrelevant communist Cuba. The Cubans, trained by KGB, have always taken a longer view. It's now paying off."
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