Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Ripple Effects in Cuba If Venezuela's Chavez Dies; Will China Move In?

Eric Margolis discusses the developing story of the failing health of Venzuela's Commandante Hugo Chavez and the ramifications of his death or his inability to perform his duties as president:
The flamboyant Chavez is reporting to be failing rapidly with "severe" respiratory complications after his fourth cancer surgery since 2011 in Cuba. Both the Venezuelan and Cuban governments have remained very secretive about the condition of the 58-year-old Chavez.

Watching any human battle the terrors of cancer is always heartbreaking. But Chavez’s prolonged illness is also causing rising economic and political uncertainty in both Venezuela and Cuba.[...] 
Cuba’s leaders are also watching President Chavez’s health crisis with mounting concern. Venezuela supplies Cuba with an annual $3.5 billion subsidy, including 15,000 bbls of oil daily. Venezuela is also building a large refinery in Cuba that will strengthen its economic independence. In exchange for oil, Cuba has provided Venezuela with 30,000 doctors.

The Soviet Union used to supply Communist Cuba with free oil until its collapse in 1991. Cuba wholly relied on this Soviet petroleum and sold the rest to earn hard currency. Commandante Chavez has always been a huge admirer of Cuba; he regards Fidel Castro as a father figure. So he was quick to throw a lifeline to sinking Cuba after Soviet aid evaporated. Washington was furious, to say the least, and sought to bolster internal opposition to Chavez’s populist socialist regime which is despised by middle and upper class Venezuelans

If Chavez loses his fight with cancer – and this could come in days – or if he is incapacitated, a new government in Venezuela may either sharply lessen or, if the rightist opposition wins office, completely end aid to Cuba. This would leave Cuba in desperate straits. Cuba does not have enough hard currency to buy oil on the open market.

Havana’s plight might offer Vladimir Putin off in Moscow a nifty way of needling Washington, which has lately been stepping on Russia’s toes in the Caucasus and Syria. China may also be tempted to quietly rescue Cuba as a tool for future use if the US challenges Beijing over Taiwan or the South China Sea. Imagine the uproar in America if Chinese Navy vessels began patrolling off Miami just as the US 7th Fleet patrols the Taiwan Strait.


  1. I weep for the Venezuelan people, because when Herr Chavez goes, the chaos and turmoil they are going to suffer through will undoubtedly be unimagineable.

    I also weep for the fact that these people have been bamboozled for so long that they don't have the tools to legitimately throw off their own shackles and make things better for themselves. Liberty, self-sufficiency, peaceful cooperation and trade are alien concepts. They have suckled at the teat of Caracas for so long, they know of no other way.

    1. OMFG, stop feeling sorry for these morons. They elected Chavezticle again and again, they like him, they wanted him and when Dear Leader finally dies, he'll get a huge state funeral attended by millions of devoted moochers who he pissed away billions of dollars on.

      We should be mocking them, not feeling sorry for them.

  2. The U.S. is once again about to reap the rewards for mocking Ron Paul instead of listening to him. Had we ended our Cuban trade embargo, worrying about China almost certainly wouldn't be an issue.

    The tea-o-cons, however, are utterly convinced that while central-planning doesn't work domestically, once you leave the U.S. borders, it's awesome.

  3. I look forward seeing Chinese boats patrolling Miami... It will happen, sooner or later