Cuban government takes it for granted that Hugo Chávez will die soon
Raúl Castro, a farsighted and methodical fellow, is already making contingency plans. To the dictatorship, the 110,000 barrels of oil that Venezuela contributes daily are essential. That remarkable amount of crude can be replaced by the extractions that Repsol plans to make in Cuban waters but, according to the Spanish company’s calculations, there’s only a 17 percent probability of finding that oil, and the pocket of fuel may be just a fourth of what Havana estimates.
In any case, even if found, that oil will take about two years to arrive at the Cuban power plants to generate electricity — its main purpose — and at the international markets to acquire dollars. A commission assigned to manage those hypothetical funds has already been created. Therefore, Raúl needs to prolong for at least two years the milking of the generous Venezuelan cow.
How does he plan to do it?
First, by becoming a part — very carefully though barely visible — of the mechanism of transmission of authority that will choose Chávez’s successor.
Second, by discreetly approaching Henrique Capriles, the popular candidate of the democratic opposition, who has a very high probability of winning the Oct. 7 elections.
According to the analysis of ‘the Cubans’ (as Castro’s puppeteers are called) anyone who runs against Capriles will lose. He won’t even have the opportunity to cheat without provoking a military coup from the right, which would be catastrophic for Havana.
So, the most convenient formula for Cuba is to peacefully dissolve the unnatural marriage between the two countries, but allowing the two-year period that Raúl Castro thinks he needs so the island’s economy won’t experience the same contraction it suffered after the end of the Soviet subsidy. At that time, the misery of Cubans worsened with a 50-percent plunge in consumption, leading to thousands of cases of malnutrition that caused blindness among many people (none of them members of the ruling class, of course).
Will Raúl’s maneuvers succeed? I don’t believe so. Generally, those plans never work. Things develop otherwise because they’re subject to imponderable factors, unforeseeable decisions and events.
Who would have thought that the end of the Chávez era would begin so unexpectedly?
That’s the strange beauty of history.