Dilma’s fall in Brazil could take bite out of Cuba’s profitable slave labor business

The fall of Brazil’s corrupt Dilma Rousseff has Cuba’s apartheid Castro regime quite nervous as their highly-profitable slave labor business faces the prospect of losing yet another customer.

Via Reuters:

Rousseff’s fall in Brazil casts cloud on Cuba

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (L) and her Cuban counterpart Raul Castro stand aboard a tour bus during the inauguration of a port in Mariel on the outskirts of Havana in this January 27, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Claudia Daut/File Photo

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s suspension from office is bad news for newly trendy Cuba, which despite a detente with Washington is feeling the pinch from a downturn ravaging allies’ economies and political fortunes in South America and Africa.

Friends such as Venezuela, Brazil and Angola for years used revenue from a commodities boom to pay for Cuban medical and educational services, turning it into the communist-run island’s main source of hard currency.

President Raul Castro’s detente with the United States has helped drive up tourism to record highs but income from the influx of foreign visitors were only about one-third of the $7 billion from health and education exports in 2014.

Over the last 13 years, Brazil’s leftist governments also provided at least $1.75 billion in credit on favorable terms, drawing fire from opponents who are also angered by a program that put 11,400 Cuban doctors to work in Brazil.

Those projects will now be re-examined after Brazil’s Senate voted on Thursday to put Rousseff on trial for breaking budget laws. She is now suspended from office while the trial takes place in coming months, and a likely conviction would end her presidency.

“There will be a short-term review of our Cuba policy, because the money has run out and because there are some serious governance questions regarding the loans. Everything will be put on hold,” said a Brazilian diplomat who served in Havana.

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