"A Special Relationship": The Political and Economic Links between Cuba and Venezuela

Event information
Venue:FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Graham Center 140

Image: cuba-venezuela.jpg

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After the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez as president of Venezuela, the political and economic relations with Cuba intensified exponentially. These relations were initially based on the ideological affinities and personal sympathies between Chávez and Fidel Castro, which were extended to their successors, Nicolás Maduro and Raúl Castro. Venezuela quickly replaced the former Soviet Union as the main external ally of the Cuban government.

By 2001, Venezuela was Cuba's largest trading partner, providing the island with about 60 percent of its oil supplies. In 2013, Venezuelan imports represented 35.4 percent of Cuba's imported goods. In exchange, Cuba has committed itself to exporting medical, educational, and technical services to Venezuela. Today, an estimated 31,000 Cuban doctors and other health professionals work in Venezuela, in addition to 8,000 technicians and teachers. Over the past 15 years, the two countries have become politically and economically interdependent.

FIU's Cuban Research Institute has partnered with the Latin American and Caribbean Center to examine the origins, development, current status, and future scenarios of the Cuba-Venezuela alliance. The purpose of this panel discussion is to analyze various facets of this "special relationship," including its multiple goals, legal and political implications, economic significance, and impact on health care.


Welcome and Introduction

Dr. Mark Rosenberg
FIU President

Dr. Jorge Duany
Director, Cuban Research Institute

Dr. Frank O. Mora
Director, Latin American and Caribbean Center

Panel Discussion

The Bilateral Relations between Venezuela and Cuba: An Alliance with Multiple Goals
Dr. Carlos Antonio Romero Méndez, Universidad Central de Venezuela

The Political Economy of Cuban-Venezuelan Relations
Dr. Javier Corrales, Amherst College

Legal and Political Aspects of the Relations between Revolutionary Cuba and Venezuela, 1999–2013
Prof. Manuel A. Gómez, Florida International University

Cuban Medical Diplomacy in Venezuela
María C. Werlau, Cuba Archive

Question and Answer Period