In communist Cuba, people remember how painful it was to lose the patronage of the former Soviet Union, their longtime sugar daddy. They certainly don't want to lose another one.
But that's the fear now gripping the island, as Cubans ponder the fate of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's left-wing president, who recently underwent cancer surgery in Havana. Now back in a hospital in Venezuela, Chavez is reported to be undergoing a new and "difficult" round of chemotherapy, his condition a closely guarded secret. Many Cubans are concerned that the death of Chavez could result in oil-rich Venezuela getting a new leader who is less enthralled by the idea of socialist solidarity, and less keen on propping up the chronically underperforming Cuban economy.