Excerpt from The Tampa Tribune's "Venezuela-Cuba alliance’s shaky future fuels debate":
Another scenario comes from Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, a Washington D.C. lobbying group promoting democracy in Cuba.
During the Special Period, Claver-Carone said, Cuba began making economic reforms. For instance, farmers were allowed to sell surplus production and some self-employment was permitted.
Fidel Castro made these exceptions, he said, to retain power. When the people get antsy, the philosophy goes, promise them changes.
Recent reforms started when Venezuela’s Chavez grew ill in 2011. Raul Castro, Claver-Carone said, knew the partnership would be in jeopardy once Chavez died.
All this argues for tightening the embargo, Claver-Carone said.
“It’s hard to believe anyone would think a 55-year dictatorship would do anything for reasons other than to stay in power,” he said. “If they believed in democracy and open markets, they wouldn’t have headed a totalitarian regime for 55 years.”
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