Venezuela's Interior Minister: "Cuba's Not Running Venezuela's Sigepol"
Last Saturday Ludmila Vinogradoff, writing from Caracas for Spain's El País, reported that
More than 40,000 Cubans are living in Venezuela, of which 30,000 are supposed "doctors", or more accurately, "paramedics that graduated after three years of training". The government in Havana bills Caracas for $18,000/month for each of them but pays the medics $500/month at the most, according to Venezuelan media.Sigepol will go into use next April, starting with a dozen police districts. The story on Cuba's role in developing the Sigepol was first reported at El Universal and was picked up by international news services in Spain and Latin America.
Chávez has delivered the juiciest contracts to Cuban authorities. For the past two years Cubans manage all the registries for issuing IDs, property registries and document notarizing.
Never in Venezuela has a foreign country had as much access to so much national information. And now Chávez is having them supervise the police, that is, Cuba is creating the General Police System (Sistema General Policial), Sigepol, which will store all the records on all police functionaries."
On Tuesday Venezuelan Interior Minister Tarek el Aissami held a press conference denying that Cubans would be in charge of Sigepol. Assimi called the story a fabrication, "media manipulation...aimed at discrediting the excellent relationship between the two countries." The Miami Herald and Noticias 24 quoted el Aissami, who asserted that "Cuba's role was on a strictly technical and technological basis," and "the system will be developed only with Venezuelan personnel," while stating that Cuba was chosen because it has a police system
ranked by several international agencies as one of the most efficient in the continent.The new police system was created last year by presidential decree in reaction to the 101,140 violent deaths of the past 10 years, 20% of which took place in the Caracas metropolitan area.
The Miami Herald states that
This is a crucial issue since the system will be used in regions controlled by the opposition, for official police business, whose police chiefs are required to comply with the approval of the Chavista government.Here in the US, the Lugar report expects that
"Given current economic challenges, any revenue gained from economic engagement with the United States would likely be used for internal economic priorities, not international activism."However, Cuba continues to play a high-profile role in international politics.
The Sigepol project is only the most recent example.