As Venezuela Collapses, Cuba Also Struggles
Since its revolution, Cuba has managed to get along by finding powerful patrons to finance its socialist system. Like most other systems, it has reduced its population to desperate poverty and requires infusions of other peoples’ money to help keep the whole rotten edifice afloat. First, it was the USSR, but after the USSR fell, it was Comrade Chavez who kept them alive:
Venezuela’s crude and fuel deliveries to Cuba have slid almost 13 percent in the first half this year, according to documents from state-run oil company PDVSA viewed by Reuters, threatening to worsen gasoline and power shortages in the communist-run island.
Cuba’s government since 2016 has reduced fuel allocations 28 percent to most state-run companies, and has cut electricity consumption. Public lighting was cut 50 percent, while residential electric use was spared.
Beginning in March, Cubans also have reported minor gasoline and diesel shortages at service stations.
Cuba’s economy depends heavily on Venezuelan crude shipments under a series of bilateral agreements started in 2000 by the South American country’s late President Hugo Chavez. In return, the island nation has provided Venezuela with Cuban doctors and other services.
Cuba suffered severe energy rationing in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, an ally that had provided cheap fuel. In 2016, Cuba’s economy went into recession for the first time since those days, declining almost 1 percent as shrinking export earnings left it short of funds to import oil on the open market and replace declining Venezuelan supplies.
People have sometimes asked me why I think we need to pay attention to the Caribbean region. Cuba is one big reason; they are a major supporter of the Venezuelan government and are happy to do what they can to foment socialist dictatorships in other Latin American countries. Cuba can only survive under its current regime with the support of other countries. There is a reason why Castro was trying to cuddle up to Obama; they know the end is near for Venezuela.