I mean really…how else to explain this?
A few conclusions can be drawn:
–Although it is possible that Fidel’s nonappearance means he is more ill than had been thought, he will probably resume some of his official duties, though not necessarily in the near future, or in a hands on way.
–It is clear that Cuba has not undergone a systemic crisis as a consequence of his withdrawal from day-to-day management.
Whether Fidel is performing vital functions behind the scenes may not matter much:
–The system clearly is working.
–It does not depend on a single figure and did not collapse in his absence.
Since Chavez came to power in 1999, Washington has either dismissed him or, alternatively, regarded him as a serious threat. Neither categorization is realistic; Chavez represents a challenge that could become more serious. This demands a more subtle and constructive response:
–Venezuela supplies some 14% of U.S. oil imports.
–Recent nationalizations of telecommunications and electrical companies with major U.S. interests came with adequate compensation packages.
Of greatest concern for U.S. policymakers is Chavez’s determination to build a coalition and alliances running counter to Washington’s economic and security agenda:
–Chavez has consistently opposed U.S. free-trade proposals. By proposing the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), he has sought to construct and fortify a counterweight to U.S. influence.
–In April 2006, he left the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) because two of its members had negotiated free-trade agreements with Washington. He argued that those agreements were incompatible with the CAN trading system.
–Venezuela’s incorporation as a Mercosur member was aimed at further enhancing its political position in South America.
My gawd. First they admit that Cuba’s system is working fine even without Fidel out in front, and therefore it is more than just some personality-cult thing. Then they come right out and say that Chavecito deserves to be taken seriously as a LatAm policymaker! What next–red berets and Che Guevara shirts?
Kiddies, you know the sky is falling over Washington when even the notoriously far-right financial rags are forced to admit that the commies have a workable system going (hey, it outlasted the fall of the Iron Curtain!), and the pinkos have more power in Latin America than the neo-fascists favored by Washington.
There’s more at both links, and surprisingly, it actually makes an effort to be fair and balanced. Go read it–you’ll fall smack on your ass. I sure did.