The death of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez on March 5th may ALSO spell the end of Communism is Cuba, because Chavez supported the Castro regime in a way that Venezuela--itself having money problems--cannot really afford, and Chavez's replacement, probably Nicolás Maduro, may not be willing to do the same.
Venezuela sold Cuba more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day provided at reduced prices--oil they could easily have sold elsewhere for much more. In fact, Cuba received so much oil that it is believed to REsell 40% of it.
Chavez also initiated hundreds of joint ventures, such as shipping and port renovations, at enormous investment. Fidel Castro valued the relationship with Venezuela for Cuba at about $7 billion a year, a definite windfall since Russian support dried up with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In the March 6th edition of the Financial Times, William Dobson writes: "But Mr. Chávez's death will have greater economic and political ripples across several authoritarian regimes. A clutch of regional states--Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua--have lost their most important ally and loudest spokesman. Russia has lost one of its largest arms buyers. Iran will no longer have a key partner for its anti-American diplomatic gambits. China will not have trouble purchasing Venezuelan oil, but its hopes for preferential access may be questioned with Mr Chávez no longer on the scene.
"As Chávismo crumbles so goes the last best hope for a Cuban experiment that failed long ago."
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