In intimate ally Venezuela, tears and cheers over Castro's death | Reuters
Castro spent 50 years trying to bring socialism to Venezuela. Cuban President Fidel Castro, right, with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, Together, the two men forged an unprecedentedly close relationship. In October , Fidel Castro himself visited Venezuela and the house where . play out: Hugo Chavez's one-time political broker and mentor, Luis Miquilena. post in January , and ended his relationship with Chavez. British journalist and historian Richard Gott pointed that Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro share several similarities.
The friendship angered the Venezuelan opposition, which accused Chavez of giving away money to Cuba while Venezuela's economy sputtered. The leader of the Cuban revolution first took note of lieutenant colonel Chavez, 28 years his junior, when the army paratrooper led a failed military coup in against the country's old and worn-out political parties.
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The young mutineer spent two years in prison, and when he came out Castro personally invited him to Havana, where he received him at the foot of the plane as if Chavez were a head of state.
Since the triumph of the Cuban revolution inCastro has paid special attention to Venezuela, because of its oil wealth and because social democratic president Romulo Betancourt had turned it into a showcase for the Alliance for Progress, the US initiative to counter the contagion of the Cuban revolution.
Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, a father-son bond until death
Cuba responded by giving military support to Venezuela's communist guerrillas. For Cuba, "Venezuela has always been attractive in geopolitical terms because it has what the island doesn't: And a coup leader fit perfectly in that scheme of things," he said. The ideological convergence between the two men did not happen overnight, but Castro took advantage of the fact that Chavez "had no training and was a politician who accommodated himself to circumstances," Lombardi said.Castro and Chavez swap jokes
With Chavez's arrival in power inthe leaders began to see each other frequently, forging an alliance that was closely watched in the region and in Washington. Venezuela's conservative opposition began to worry as rumors grew of Castro's influence over Chavez.
And the two men seemed in perfect sync, playing baseball together or touring this oil-producing country.
Castro's bet on Chavez rapidly paid off. Inthey signed an agreement that remains in force today under which Venezuela supplies Cuba withbarrels of oil a day on preferential terms. In a communist Cuba that had suffered the loss of huge subsidies after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the aid was a life-saving windfall that quickly made Venezuela Cuba's top trade partner.
The emergence of this divergence had much to do with the more distant relationship between Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, and Raul Castro, who officially took over the Cuban presidency inwhen his brother stepped down. In Venezuela — where the political and social environment is heavily polarized, with the political opposition trying to mount a recall vote to force Maduro from office and the public regularly protesting widespread shortages and rampant insecurity — Maduro has encountered criticism for his encomiums to Fidel.
Opposition supporters take part in a rally against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, October 26, On Venezuela's streets, he writes"nobody is demonstrating.
In intimate ally Venezuela, tears and cheers over Castro's death
Not for, and not against, the dead Cuban leader. Maduro of a kind of iconic figure that he could turn to, even if the actual level of support that he received from Fidel was very minimal," Velasco said.
Many Cubans have expressed affection for Fidel but are also looking more to the outside world, in a change of mood that may see cooling relations with Venezuela.
Fidel was still holed up in the Sierra Maestra," Belkis Bejarano, a year-old homemaker in central Havana, told the Associated Press. We have to find our own way. We have to look toward the future, which is ours, the younger generations.