Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Cuba anxious about post-Chavez Venezuela

Cuba is fervently hoping the death of late Venezuelan President Hugo

Chavez will not disturb the status quo in the Caribbean island's

lucrative relationship with oil-rich government in Caracas.

Published: March. 14, 2013 at 8:04 PM

HAVANA, March 14 (UPI) — Cuba is fervently hoping the death of late

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won't disturb the status quo in the

Caribbean island's lucrative relationship with oil-rich government in


Pronouncements by Cuba's communist elite point to the level of anxiety

over the shape of things to come before or after an April 14 special

election that Acting President Nicolas Maduro is widely expected to win.

A month being a long time in politics, Maduro is also demonstrating a

certain amount of anxiety himself, seeking to prove he's a true

inheritor of the Bolivarian revolution of the late leader, who died

March 5 after a two-year battle with cancer.

The revolution's fruits are open to question, as oil-rich Venezuela

fights a three-year recession, high crime, youth unemployment and

polarization between the populist masses still loyal to the Chavez

legacy and a much smaller class of business and industry

representatives, middle and upper income minorities supportive of change

under opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

Despite widespread skepticism over the Bolivarian revolution project,

the Chavez establishment remains deeply entrenched, making a potential

power switch to Capriles a forbidding challenge for the opposition.

"I'm not (Hugo) Chavez, but I'm his son," Maduro said as he announced

his candidacy before the Electoral Tribunal for the April 14 election.

That line was reinforced in Cuban pronouncements in support of Maduro,

an endorsement the newcomer will need, if elected, to take on the mantle

of Bolivarian socialism left behind by Chavez.

Maduro's pronouncements suggest he intends forge Chavez's legacy into a

long-term franchise in the style of Peronism in neighboring Argentina.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica says he sees long years of "Chavism"

ahead, a style familiar to the Castro brothers in Havana.

In frequent medical trips to Cuba Chavez built close ties with President

Raul Castro and worshipped brother Fidel as his senior mentor.

For once Cuba is paying back to Caracas what it received in generous

largesse from Chavez and the endorsement is critical for Maduro's effort

to fix his credentials in Latin America's socialist bloc.

Raul Castro said he had "absolute confidence" in Hugo Chavez's

successors, the state-led Cuban media reported after his return from

Chavez's funeral in Caracas.

"We return satisfied to see how Chavez's great work is being continued

and the gigantic support of the people," Castro said. "I am sure and

have absolute confidence in the success President Maduro and the other

leaders who have come up under Chavez will have," he said.

Chavez helped Cuba with cash, cheap oil and other preferential trade

assistance and helped pave the way for Havana to reintegrate in regional

Latin American forums. Brazil is helping Cuba, too, with multibillion

dollar aid and trade deals but Venezuela's role remains critical as Cuba

struggles with a now-on-and-now-off economic liberalization.

Castro's reform program is bogged down because of behind-the-scenes

resistance from Communist Party stalwarts who remain entrenched in a

state being led toward a Chinese-style socialist market economy.

Chavez spearheaded diplomatic efforts in Latin America for Cuba's

rehabilitation as an equal participant in region groupings where until

recently the communist state was either barred or isolated.

He offered Cuba assistance as gratitude for medical care during the last

days of his battle against cancer.

Chavez drummed up regional opposition to the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

Chavez's departure has injected uncertainty in the relationship partly

because Maduro hasn't revealed his politics, except for rhetorical

pronouncements in the style of Chavez, and is unlikely to do much until

his future is secured in the April 14 election.

With the Chavez establishment left intact, Maduro is banking on

convincing the military and the political establishment that his

presidency will guarantee a continuation of the status quo.

"If necessary we will resort to arms to defend the revolution of

Commander Chavez," Maduro warned. "We are all Chavez, workers of the

fatherland, Chavez forever!"

"They (the opposition) have said that we haven't even had a minute of

silence for Commander Chavez but we are warning them to learn to respect

because the people's heart is in deep pain, the most severe pain you can

imagine," Maduro said.

"God forgive them because with their hatred they have no idea of the

pain and harm they inflict on the fatherland," Maduro said, echoing the

rhetoric of the late firebrand.

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