US-Cuban Relations and Venezuela

Via Bloomberg:  Obama Makes Maduro’s ‘Insolent Yankees’ a Tougher Sell

“Maduro’s anti-US rhetoric is being undercut by the Cuban government,” said Gregory Weeks, head of Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina. “One of the biggest repercussions is that Maduro’s foreign policy is based on exclusion of the U.S. and now its biggest ally is moving toward the U.S.”

Indeed.

Also, while on the subject of Ven-Cuban relations, via Business Insider:    Cuba Didn’t Have A Choice Anymore

it’s likely that Cuba didn’t have a choice in the matter.

Cuba’s economy depends on a state on the verge of collapse — a disastrous repeat of its relationship with the Soviet Union. This time, though, its flailing partner is Venezuela.

The two socialist countries have been buddies since former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was alive. Venezuela accounts for 20% of Cuba’s GDP.

Normally, Venezuela sends Cuba 80,000 barrels of oil a day, and in turn Cuba sends over doctors and medical supplies (Cuba prides itself on its medical professionals and exports them all over the world).

But things have not been normal in Venezuela — not by a longshot. Back in February, thousands took to the streets in protests that rocked the country for months. Dissidents were jailed. President Nicolas Maduro, plagued by questions about his legitimacy, has tried to strengthen his grip on power through fear accusing his opponents of treason.

Economically, Venezuela’s inflation rate is sitting at 60%, goods are scarce, and there are long lines to enter government grocery stores. The country’s bonds have hit a 16-year low and it’s struggling to make debt payments.

While I am not necessarily ready to state that this was the main motivator in the US-Cuban rapprochement, the state of the Venezuela economy and regime certainly aren’t good news for Cuba.  And the global situation with oil is only going to make Venezuela’s position weaker going forward.

FILED UNDER: Latin America, Quick Takes, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter