The death of Hugo Chávez sent a ripple of sadness and uncertainty across this island on Wednesday as Cubans mourned the loss of an ideological son and generous ally, and worried about the economic pain that could lie ahead if the new Venezuelan leadership cut off hefty oil subsidies…
Even those who had little time for his brand of socialism wondered if Cuba would descend into an economic chasm, much as it did in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Cuba receives more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela, purchased on favorable terms as part of an exchange that has tens of thousands of Cubans working in Venezuelan clinics, schools and ministries. The subsidized oil accounts for about two-thirds of Cuba’s consumption and is credited by many Cubans with keeping the lights on and the air-conditioners running during the brutal summer heat.
The same Cuba that American celebrities have been traveling to for decades and telling us back here is such a wonderfully functional communist haven is really a fragile failure that is only held together by the duct tape of more powerful tyrannical regimes. Tío Hugo will be sorely missed by the Castroites.