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This publication explores Cuban-Venezuelan relations during the past 20 years and the evolving relations between Cuba and Venezuela within the context of the Caribbean Basin and the United States.

In the first essay, Brian Fonseca and John Polga-Hecimovich explore Cuban-Venezuelan relations during the past 20 years. Contemporary Cuban-Venezuelan relations blossomed in the late 1990s, due in large part to the close mentor-pupil relationship between then-presidents Fidel Castro Ruz and Hugo Chávez Frías. Their affinity grew into an ideological and then strategic partnership. Today, these ties that bind are more relevant than ever, as Cuban security officials exercise influence in Venezuela and help maintain the Nicolás Maduro government in power.

In the second essay, Richard E. Feinberg explores the history and evolution of the Venezuelan-Cuban relationship and the interests of each country at different points in time. There is a natural rivalry between Cuba and Venezuela for sub-regional leadership, and relative power relations have shifted over time. U.S. aversion to radical social change in the region has molded perceptions of inter-American relations by both fidelistas and chavistas, even as their left-leaning political ideologies and governance models differ substantially.

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Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more