An allegedly close former military aide to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez leveled scandalous accusations against Chávez’s Cuban ally Fidel Castro in a story carried by Argentine media on Wednesday, suggesting the Castro regime killed Chávez after seducing him with “women” and “witchcraft.”
The accuser, retired Lieutenant General Emiro Antonio Brito Valerio, reportedly made the allegations in audio relayed to the Argentine news outlet Infobae. Infobae published his extensive remarks, which detail his friendship with Chávez during their military training and his longtime concern that Fidel Castro was using his friend for political gain.
The Castro regime is deeply embedded in Venezuela, dependent on it for free oil and money generated from its oil industry. A former Maduro official once estimated that there may be nearly 100,000 Cuban government agents helping run the Maduro regime in Venezuela.
Brito’s revelations are the latest in a series of attempts to revise the bloody legacy Chávez’s tenure: turning the wealthiest country in Latin America into the world’s most miserable economy; the largest exodus in the modern history of the Western Hemisphere; widespread hunger and disease; hundreds of political prisoners; and the collapse, in the country with the world’s largest known oil reserves, of its petroleum industry.
Those who defend Chávez’s brutal socialist legacy blame his hand-picked successor, Nicolás Maduro, for sinking the country. Maduro loyalists blame sanctions on Maduro loyalists for the disaster.
Chávez referred to Brito as a “good soldier friend” in life and kept him in the highest levels of power as an adviser, including a position at the Venezuelan embassy in Cuba, Infobae noted.
The soldier claims Chávez’s brother, Adán – currently the governor of Barinas state – “contaminated” him with socialism. Brito also claims to have warned Chávez against at least one of Maduro’s closest henchmen: Diosdado Cabello, the drug trafficker and television host Maduro keeps by his side to control the military.
In the audio Infobae asserts it has confirmed is of Brito, the man saves his sternest condemnation for the Cubans, claiming that he repeatedly warned Chávez to keep Fidel Castro and his henchmen at the distance.
“Hit the brakes, hit the brakes,” Brito claims he told Chávez in their last conversation. “Fidel doesn’t want anything good for you.”
At the time, Chávez was suffering from the cancer that would ultimately kill him while undergoing treatment in Havana. Brito says he told Chávez, “look for a good doctor, in Germany or where the gringos are. It’s just you have some bullshit going on with the gringos.” Chávez was a virulently anti-American leader who regularly referred to President George W. Bush as the devil.
Despite the rift, Brito claims he told Chávez, “those people are more advanced. Don’t go over to Cuba.”
“We don’t know today if the Cubans killed Chávez. It is very probable,” Brito says in the audio. “There can’t be two bosses.”
Brito says Fidel Castro “enamored him and Chávez fell hopelessly in love with Fidel Castro. Fidel wanted Chávez to work for him, the man ensnared him with the promise of power, he tricked Chávez and swindled him and he was fucked.”
“Fidel blinded him with many things, with women, he got to him with witchcraft,” Brito claimed. The Infobae article does not add any more specifics on either claim, suggesting Brito did not detail them in the audio.
Practitioners of santería, a Cuban religion combining Nigerian Yoruba worship with Spanish Catholicism, have long believed that Fidel Castro practiced witchcraft and had been made a high priest of the religion. In 2016, when Castro died, santería priests warned Cubans to cover their heads to prevent Castro’s spirit from possessing them and returning to the living world.
Brito, if the audio is indeed of him, follows several members of Chávez’s regime in attempting to absolve Chávez of his role as the architect of modern Venezuela. Unlike in the case of Maduro, the Venezuelan people elected Chávez in a free and fair election despite the fact that he never hid his disdain of democracy, as exemplified by his failed coup against the democratically elected government in 1992. By absolving Chávez and blaming the Cubans, the Chávez defenders exonerate the Venezuelan people of their role in the situation.
Chávez’s former intelligence chief, Hugo Carvajal, recently came out against Maduro, accusing him of “murdering” hundreds of young Venezuelans and urging the military to turn on him. General Ramón Rangel, another Chávez loyalist, also floated the theory that the Cubans killed Chávez in a video published to social media this month.
Earlier in Maduro’s tenure, former Chávez ministers Héctor Navarro and Jorge Giordani accused Maduro government workers of stealing $300 billion in oil industry profits between 2006-2016.
Not all former Chávez officials who have turned against Maduro have exonerated the late dictator.
“This all started with Chavez!” Luisa Ortega Díaz, former attorney general under both Chávez and Maduro, said in a recent interview. “I think that Chávez’s proposals strayed. But with Maduro, boy Maduro did not deserve to be president. That guy is incapable. We all know it and I knew it.”