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Brazil Sidelines Chavez, Plans for Post-Castro Cuba

After the Castros, what comes next? Under President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil is taking a special interest in that question, as evidenced by her decision to invest $680 million of Brazil’s money in the rehabilitation of the Cuban port at Mariel. Besides its interest in shoring up its leadership in Latin America and having a friendly, eventually democratic, ally in Cuba, Brazil also hopes by generous aid packages like this one to sideline fringe players like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Brazil’s last president, Lula, was averse to criticizing the Castros on human rights, but Rousseff, a former Marxist militant who was herself a torture victim under Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1970s, will likely be a more forceful advocate for these issue behind the scenes. She also has the ability to provide Raul Castro with key backing as he pursues modernizing reforms.

Easing Cuba’s transition into the post-Castro future is a worthy goal for Brazil, and a common interest for the whole region—America included.

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  • Bart Hall (Kansas, USA)

    Raul Castro has actually been forward looking — much more so than Fidel — for decades. Back in 1976 I had the privilege of serving as his personal translator for an afternoon as he toured a “bull station” in eastern Ontario. He was at that time Cuba’s Minister of Agriculture.

    Many of the best dairy bulls in the world lived at the facility and their frozen semen greatly improved many generations of dairy cattle. When it became obvious to me that the bull station was attempting to recommend semen only from the less popular bulls — meaning they were “long” on that stock — I told Castro to wait until the end when I would show him the bulls he really wanted.

    Two of them were dead, so the supply was finite and in today’s money about $500 per straw. I explained that to Raul, and his comment still sticks with me: “Cuban cows were never much good, and since Communism arrived they’ve become even worse. If Communism can’t even breed better cattle then we should quit now.”

    He arranged to buy hundreds of straws from the top ten bulls and within a decade most of the dairy cattle in Cuba were descended from those animals.

    Even if his political system sucks, the man certainly cared about improving life for the ordinary Cuban back then, and does not appear to have departed from that approach.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I completely disagree, anything which prolongs the Communist Dictatorship in Cuba, is a disaster for the Cuban people. I believe the Cuban people are ready to adopt much of the American cultural traits that make America the most successful nation, including Democracy, Free Enterprise, and the Rule of Law.

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