Venezuela and Cuba: United Marxist Republic
A scary hypothesis by Ana Faya, senior analyst at the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (Focal) in Ottawa.
She thinks that, to ensure the survival of the revolution, and not trusting his brother Raul for his "softness" on capitalism to succeed him, Castro might think seriously about uniting Cuba to Venezuela under his younger disciple Hugo Chavez.
Chavez is Venezuelan, not Cuban, but that may not be as big a problem as it seems. Many people on the left in Latin America, including "Bolivarians" like Chavez and most of the Marxists, have always seen the division of the region into more than a dozen Spanish-speaking countries as a misfortune, not a law of nature.
She has listened closely to the two dictators' public statements looking for signs:
On October 5, at the signing of the 6th Joint Commission on the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and Venezuela, Cuban vice-president Carlos Lage Dávila said: "Our country has been accused of not having a democracy, but in events like this one we realise that we are one of the most democratic countries of the world, because we have two presidents, Fidel and Chávez."
And Chavez replied: "Cuba and Venezuela have joined together, and at this point, the world should know that our fate is sealed, that these two homelands, which deep down are one, are opening a new road at whatever cost."
They could stay in power as co-presidents until Castro feels the time has come to retire and pass the scepter to Chavez.
Where would Castro have got such a radical idea? One of his political idols as a young man was the Egyptian revolutionary Gamal Abdel Nasser whom he met soon after taking power on his famous trip to New York in 1960. And at that time, Nasser was busy uniting Egypt and Syria in the United Arab Republic.
I wouldn't be surprised if the two "locos" came up with such a ridiculous scheme. They would sell it to the public as a defense against "imperialist" forces led by a hostile United States, but I think the result would be a very quick popular revolt in both countries.
Surprisingly the article goes on to speculate on the positive effects of such a move (read it all, it is interesting nevertheless) on Cuba's economy and democratic prospects in the long term.