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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe AmericasVenezuela and Cuba: The Ties that Bind

Venezuela and Cuba: The Ties that Bind

Authors: Brian Fonseca and John Polga-Hecimovich

Affiliation: Florida International University, U.S. Naval Academy

Organization/Publisher: Wilson Center

Date/Place: January 2020, U.S.

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 32


Keywords: Venezuela, Cuba, Fidel Castro Ruz, Hugo Chavez Frias, Revolution.Brief: 

The report starts with the words of Hugo Chavez Frias saying “Cuba is a sea of happiness. That’s where Venezuela is going.” It discusses the evolution of contemporary Cuba-Venezuela relations. These relations blossomed due to the close mentor-pupil relationship of the two Presidents, Fidel Castro Ruz and Hugo Chavez Frias.  This affinity was the outcome of their ideological and strategic partnership. However, the details regarding their strategic relations are not transparent,  Havana claiming that it has no personnel there other than for humanitarian missions. The Report claims that Castro provided mentorship to Chavez in the areas of health, politics, security and intelligence. In Return, Chavez  helped to underwrite Cuba at the time of its economic hardship and diminishing relevance in the international system after the fall of the Soviet Union. The report divides the last twenty years of the Cuba-Venezuela relationship into three phases. The first phase (1999-2004) covers  the series of bilateral trade agreements between the two countries, referred to as the Two Nations, One Revolution stage. The second phase focuses on the increase in the exchange of goods and the institutionalization of relations. The third phrase spans the Maduro Presidency from 2013 to the present. This period coincides with the fall in oil prices, Venezuela’s economic crisis, and the stronger role of Cuban political, military and intelligence advisers in Venezuela. Under what conditions these regimes will part remains a question.

By: Saima Rashid, CIGA Research Assistant



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