U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) today announced the Senate has approved two proposals requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to provide up-to-date, candid assessments of potential anti-American activities by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela. The reports would be required by an amendment Sen. Martinez added to the Defense Authorization act for 2010.
"There's a tendency to dismiss Cuba and Venezuela as benign. Now we'll have a real-time assessment of the exact nature of any threats these nations pose individually or in concert," said Martinez. "We'll have a clearer picture of any hostility Cuba and Venezuela harbor toward U.S. interests and their continued efforts to subvert democratic governments in the Western Hemisphere."
Among other requirements, the Cuba amendment charges the DNI with assessing the relationships Cuba has with states suspected of nuclear proliferation such as Iran and North Korea and appraise Cuba's clandestine activities in the United States.
The Venezuela amendment asks for an assessment of weapons purchases and subsequent transfers to other countries. DNI will also evaluate Chavez's funding of the terrorist organizations Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
"President Hugo Chavez continues procuring weapons beyond Venezuela's needs," noted Martinez. "All the while he systematically centralizes his authority in Venezuela and exports his authoritarian model to other countries in South and Central America. For our own national security, we need to look more carefully at Venezuela's military buildup."