Can the Castro regime survive without Chavez?

Michael Murphy at the George W. Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection:



The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez often referred to Fidel Castro as his mentor and frequently compared his Bolivarian Revolution to the 1959 Cuban Revolution.  Within the Americas, Cuba endured the status of a pariah state after the establishment of Castro’s Provisional Government in 1959, but that isolation ended thanks to Chavez’s energetic quest to create a third force of anti-Western nations. What would eventually be called a “pink tide,” changed Cuba’s regional and international isolation, and provided vital support to its troubled economy.  The collapse of the Soviet Union created widespread shortages of petroleum in Cuba during the so-called Special Period in Time of Peace beginning in 1991, but by the end of the decade, Chavez was President of Venezuela, and Cuba became an oil-dependent client of the world’s 10th largest exporter. PetroCaribe, a Venezuelan sponsored preferential payment oil alliance of 21 Caribbean and Central American countries, including Cuba, was launched in 2005.

Chavez was a belligerent and often hostile critic of US foreign policy, and frequently used anti-imperialist rhetoric to build firewalls against US influence in Latin American regional affairs. He built active alliances with Leftist governments in Bolivia and Ecuador and with the broader South American community of republics through the establishment of The Union of South American Nations, UNASUR.  He tirelessly formed political alliances, trading blocs and regional economic agreements, and shamelessly used Venezuela’s oil resources as a political tool to convince other nations to  eschew neo-liberalism and free market capitalism.

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1 thought on “Can the Castro regime survive without Chavez?”

  1. The answer is probably yes, and for the same reason it survived the fall of the USSR: Cubans abroad will keep it afloat with their material support, regardless of their politics. Remember, there are more Cubans abroad now than then, with more leaving Cuba (or traveling back and forth) all the time. Also, the proportion of said Cubans who, for all practical purposes, are NOT committed to a free Cuba is clearly higher than it was (and again, rising).

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