In his concluding statement at the year-end-session of Cuba’s closed-door National Assembly, Raul Castro lamented that the recent electoral victory of the Venezuelan opposition to the Socialist President Nicolas Maduro would negatively affect Cuba’s economy in 2016.
As a result, growth is expected to be 2%, half of Cuba’s stated growth rate in 2015.
The decline in oil prices, “has affected our relationship of mutual aid with various countries, particularly the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the target of an economic war aimed at undermining popular support for its revolution,” Castro said.
Cuba receives more than 100,000 barrels of oil per day as part of an exchange that dispatches Cuban professionals to Venezuela. Several thousand medical personnel live and work in the troubled South American country. Media reports indicate that Cuba receives $7,000 per month for the services of a medical doctor in Venezuela. It is unclear whether Cuba is still receiving the cash payment portion of its arrangement.
“The history of our revolution is full of glorious pages despite difficulties, risks and threats” – Raul Castro
“Cuba’s trade with Venezuela represents 15 percent of the gross domestic product, half of what the Soviets’ trade represented,” said Cuban economist Pavel Vidal, a professor at Colombia’s Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali.
Cuba continued to receive oil this year, but most likely not all the cash it may have been owed, Vidal said.
Earlier this year, reports indicated that Cuba was extending payment terms with its foreign trading partners.