Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chávez and Castro

Max Azicri, "The Castro-Chávez Alliance." Latin American Perspectives 36, 1 (2009): 99-110.

Abstract (gated): Socialist Cuba and Bolivarian Venezuela have embarked jointly on a historic journey of hemispheric dimensions. Under the collaborative and solidarity alliance between Havana and Caracas a complex web of bilateral trade and services has been developed, including Venezuelan oil and Cuban medical expertise. The mutually beneficial exchanges have served as a blueprint for the continentwide exchanges promoted by the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, which was conceived by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez in opposition to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the Washington Consensus, and neoliberalism. Venezuela's alliance with Cuba is more than political calculation or commercial exchanges. Its reasons and foundation run deeper. The revolutionary solidarity between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, the bedrock of the alliance, is based on the vision of a united Latin America free of Washington's control, turning Simón Bolívar's legacy into a new reality.

Especially in the wake of Hugo Chávez's successful campaign to eliminate presidential term limits, a question about Venezuelan politics is whether the Bolivarian revolution can survive without its founder. The same question has often been asked of Cuba.

This article, however, raises the additional question of what the Venezuela-Cuba relationship will look like without Chávez or Fidel Castro. It discusses the many cooperative initiatives the two leaders have created, especially with regard to health care, which have benefited a large number of people who otherwise would have received nothing.

Yet Azicri repeats the point that cooperation is based largely on the personal friendship between Chávez and Fidel (and that close sense of fraternity seems not to extend so much to Raúl, though obviously they have ideological ties). He does argue that a "creative interactive network" (p. 103) emerged from their personal ties, but to what degree is it independent and sustainable without the driving force of its creators?


Tambopaxi 6:50 AM  

... Or without American-financed oil revenues?

Greg Weeks 8:43 AM  

Though money really only dictates the scope of projects, not the relationship itself.

Vicente Duque 1:35 PM  

Explanation of what Latin America lacks. Why is Latin America so backward ??.

Francis Fukuyama, professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, says :

"Trust is the lubricant for nation-building, it is critical for the national economy, works on formal (courts) as well as informal (cultural values) levels and creates ‘‘social capital’’ which is just as important as physical capital."

So Private Initiative and Entrepreneurship should be based on trust, sane pride of society and a certain trust, confidence, belief in others, etc ...

But with madmen as leaders : Castro, Chavez, Daniel Ortega, Rafael Correa, etc... Who will trust those economies to risk capital and hard work ??

From Vulgarity and Aggressivity nothing good can spring.

When the leader of the nation is a whimsical egomaniac, narcissistic madman, who believes to have all the answers. What can you do as "citizen" or subject.

So, the best future in Latin America will be for those nations that are not so dominated by the madmen.

Humble Nations, where people have to work very hard to survive, without billions in subsidies, without being bought by the dictator, pseudo-dictator or vitalicious president.

Where there is free press and some little pride of being hard working and entrepreneurial.

Where Demagoguery does not reign things can be better in Latin America and some progress may be achieved.

Vicente Duque

Gabriel,  11:34 PM  

Is Latin American Perspectives an academic journal? The abstract reads like some politician's diatribe.

Tambopaxi 11:05 PM  

Oil revenues are a factor in sustaining the relationship; I suspect a good deal of what's going on between Cuba and Venezuela wouldn't be happening if Chavez didn't have the money to make it happen, including paying for Cuban medics and so forth.

Greg Weeks 8:42 AM  

LAP is an avowedly leftist academic journal, and this particular issue focuses on the Cuban revolution--my sense is that the articles in this one issue are not refereed. But LAP does publish a lot of good stuff.

mcentellas 7:39 PM  

LAP is a good journal, and it is (as far I've heard) properly peer reviewed. That said, it's also self-described as a journal about imperialism and Marxism in Latin America. That said, someone attached to the editorial board has also mentioned that the journal seeks to look at other perspectives, too. But LAP is not LAPS. And that's good, because I don't want all journals to be clones, but to offer different, interesting perspectives.

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