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Reading the Cuban Tobacco Leaves
Venezuela is a Goner

One of the underreported aspects of this week’s shock Cuba-U.S. agreement is that it quite possibly rang the funeral bell for the Venezuelan regime. As Walter Russell Mead noted in an essay on Thursday, Havana had Venezuela on the brain when making the deal:

The Castro brothers are getting older, and the outlines of a post-Castro power structure are emerging. The oil crash and the mounting problems of Venezuela’s embattled government make the Cubans nervous; Venezuela replaced the USSR as Cuba’s sugar daddy, supplying heavily discounted oil to help keep Castroism alive. At the same time, the Obama administration is probably the most sympathetic U.S. administration Cuba is likely to get, so it’s a good time to explore the possibilities of an improved relationship.

The Cuba was the one occupying the headlines this week, but the Venezuelan regime might actually end before the Castros’ does—and it’s the Cubans who are telling us this.

As the WaPo‘s Charles Lane noted on Twitter:

That seems exactly right. Venezuela’s collapse has gone beyond just tragi-comic shortages of toilet paper, or even water: sitting on top of enormous oil reserves, it may nonetheless soon default. When it does, the Castros and their henchmen don’t want to be left in isolation. And when Raoul Castro thinks your system is incompetent, you might be a bit too socialist, Comrades.

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  • Corlyss

    Dear Charles,

    “Court” usually implies an inducement on offer. What did Castro offer, besides another flood of needy immigrants who don’t speak English and likely all have relatives here in the US?

    “tragi-comic shortages of toilet paper”

    What! Have they run out of Chavez’ speeches already? That was fast.

    “it quite possibly rang the funeral bell for the Venezuelan regime.”

    Mmmm. What’s Iran and China thinkin’ right about now . . . . ?

  • Fat_Man

    Don’t worry about Venezuela. Obama is a strong supporter of the “Bolivarian Revolution”®. He will bail out Maduro with “humanitarian” aid.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Ultimately, the rest of North and South America are going to be tasked with trying to fix both Cuba and Venezuela. We may as well get started.

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