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Cuba, Venezuela, and the Americas: U.S. Policy Dilemmas

November 21, 2005 - 4:00 pm

Daniel Erikson, Inter-American Dialogue

Since 1999, the Cuban government has become increasingly reliant on Venezuela for external economic support and political backing. The motor of this relationship is the warm personal and political bond between Cuba’s aging autocrat Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, a former army paratrooper who has built his political career as a fiery antagonist towards entrenched interests in Venezuela. In recent years, the two leaders have steadily moved from ringside cheerleaders of leftist movements in the hemisphere to become the protagonists of sweeping hemispheric proposals with the potential to shape the region’s broader political dynamic. What does the future hold for the relationship between Cuba and Venezuela? How significant is this alliance to the fortunes of both countries? What are the broader implications for U.S. policy in Latin America?

Daniel P. Erikson is Director of Caribbean Programs at the Inter-American Dialogue, the Washington-based policy forum on Western Hemisphere affairs. His research focuses on the political and economic challenges facing U.S. foreign policy in the Americas. He manages a multi-year program on the Cuban economy and closely monitors political and economic developments throughout the region.