In the South Pacific
Then, the Solomon Islands.
Now, the Castro regime is attempting to expand its ties in the South Pacific even further by making overtures to the military government in Fiji.
According to local media reports, Cuban representatives have offered to provide “free” scholarships to an undisclosed number of Fijian students to study medicine in Havana.
As well, the Fijians have been offered a trainer or two to help the local boxing team, plus a team of agricultural “experts” to help with the sugar harvest, which is hilarious, I know, given the woeful state of what little remains of the once-great Cuban sugar industry.
So, what’s all this about, you ask?
Simple - it’s called rank opportunism.
You see, with a population of about 900,000, Fiji is one of the largest of the South Pacific island states, a truly idyllic spot with a well-developed tourist industry and traditionally close ties to the West.
Sadly, the country is currently under an “interim” military government, led by one Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who took power last year after forcing the democratically elected prime minister to step down.
To be fair, Commodore Bainimarama is not in the same league as Augusto Pinochet, let alone Fidel Castro.
In keeping with the way of the South Pacific, this is a "light" version of a military dictatorship but a military dictatorship it most certainly is.Since the coup, the two largest and wealthiest nations in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, which together provide millions of dollars in aid to Fiji, have been working hard to isolate the military administration.
Along with the US and the European Union, Australia and New Zealand have repeatedly called for the military to get back to their barracks and for Fiji to return to democracy.
Right on cue, enter the Castro brothers …