Hugo Chavez is drawing his nation into a close union with Cuba, one of the very few nations in the western hemisphere run more badly than his own. Fidel Castro calls it “Venecuba”. (Personally, I think “Cubazuela” would have a better ring.) Chavez’s decision to outsource security to Cuba is the most troubling, of course, but some other areas seem even more striking:

In some ministries, such as health and agriculture, Cuban advisers appear to wield more power than Venezuelan officials. The health ministry is often unable to provide statistics—on primary health-care or epidemiology for instance—because the information is sent back to Havana instead. Mr Chávez seemed to acknowledge this last year when, by his own account, he learned that thousands of primary health-care posts had been shut down only when Mr Castro told him so.

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