Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Posted on Wednesday, 10.03.12

Chávez's defeat could have major impact in Cuba

By Juan Tamayo

Cuba would undoubtedly suffer a devastating economic punch if Venezuelan

President Hugo Chávez, whose subsidies to Havana are estimated at more

than $4 billion a year, loses his reelection bid Sunday.

But a Chávez defeat has a long-shot chance of carrying a thin silver

lining, some analysts say. It could boost Cubans who favor deeper

economic reforms so that their country can stand on its own two feet and

might even fuel domestic desires for free elections in the island.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski has made it clear that

if he wins the vote, his oil-rich nation will halt the massive

assistance that the socialist Chávez has been providing to his foreign


"Not one drop of free black gold will leave the country," Capriles said

to the French Liberation newspaper in a recent interview. Polls in the

nation of 30 million people have split in their predictions for a winner

in Sunday's balloting .

Venezuela pays Havana an estimated $5.1 billion a year for the services

of the 30,000 Cuban medical personnel, 15,000 teachers, and other

advisors deployed in the South American nation, according to documents

obtained recently by El Nuevo Herald.

The payments – estimated at $114 billion or $113,333 for every Cuban

deployed in Venezuela and 4.4 percent of the island's Gross National

Product in 2010 – arrive in Cuba in the form more than 100,000 barrels

of oil per day plus cash and shares in Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.

(PDVSA), the Venezuelan government's oil monopoly.

In turn, the Cubans have helped Chávez stay in power, providing the

backbone of the free medical and educational services that have made his

"21st century socialism" popular among Venezuela's poor.

Havana's dependence on Chávez is so profound that Fidel Castro, who has

not been seen in public since March, reportedly has been writing letters

to the Venezuelan president urging him to make sure he stays in power.

"If the counterrevolution manages to … get you out of there and grab the

people's power, the persecution and destruction will be widespread. They

will not forgive anyone," Castro wrote in one letter, according to a

recently published book.

A Chávez defeat also might push Cuba toward adopting deeper economic

reforms than those currently espoused by island ruler Raúl Castro, said

Pedro Burelli, a Chávez critic who follows developments in Caracasand


"It would kill any ideological illusions left in Cuba for socialism in

Venezuela," Burelli said, while strengthening the voice of those Cubans

who want more reforms and weakening "those who want to preserve the

current antiquated system."

Even a Chávez victory in a closely fought ballot Sunday might push Cuba

toward moderation, said Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Cuban government

analyst now lecturing at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School

of International Studies.

Given the relative pluralism of Venezuelan politics, Havana should seek

"more fluid relations" with all political forces in the South American

country "beyond its logical ideological preference," Lopez-Levy said in

an email to El Nuevo Herald.

The narrow gap predicted between Chávez and Capriles, the academic

added, also should teach Cuba to avoid "a repeat of the excessive

dependence on a single market, as happened until 1960 with the United

States and afterwards with the USSR."

The competitive Venezuelan balloting might even eventually help to

promote "more competitive elections in Cuba," Lopez-Levy added.

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