Despite the evil U.S. blockade of Cuba, goods still seem to be streaming in. Business Week has an article today that says trade between Cuba and Venezuela increased dramatically in 2005.
Friendly ties between Fidel Castro's Cuba and Hugo Chavez' Venezuela are now much more than political, opening the way to a burgeoning trade relationship estimated to reach more than $3.5 billion (euro2.9 billion) this year -- about 50 percent richer than in 2005.
The favorable balance converted Cuba last year into Venezuela's third most important trade partner, after the United States and Colombia.
The importance of this situation to those of us in the US should be obvious in the last sentence. The US is Venezuela's most important trade partner - primarily because of oil.
The article goes on to point out that Venezuela sends Cuba a lot of oil, and also a lot of non-food goods from "construction supplies to chocolates."
Adan Chavez, hugo's brother, is Venezuela's ambassador to Cuba. He tells Business Week that Cuba sold Venezuela $500 million in goods and services, but he doesn't exactly specify what those goods and services are. He mentions the 22,000 doctors sent from Cuba to Venezuela - the same doctors that are driving Venezuelan doctors out of business - and the same doctors that are no longer in Cuba to treat Cubans - but says the doctors are not included in the trade figures.
In fact, the doctors are rapidly being exposed as political agents rather than healthcare providers. fidel has also sent plenty of security agents to Venezuela to be sure hugo remains in power. Maybe that's what the ambassador is talking about.
"Beyond the economic ... there is the feeling of cooperation, of solidarity, of authentic integration," said the ambassador. He was referring to the two countries' Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas -- their concept for shared regional trade following socialist principles in lieu of the Washington-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Ah, yes. The Bolivarian Alternative - unification of Latin America under fidel's grand leadership. When US conservatives and talk show hosts complain about such "internationalist" and "new world order" programs such as the Free Trade Area, they must not know what the alternative is. Would they really rather see a socialist Latin America allied with Iran?
Read the whole thing. It's amazing to see the detailed description of what Venezuela sends fidel and contrast that with the lack of information about what Cuba sends Venezuela.