Cuban trade with Venezuela plunges over two years

Article originally appeared in ReutersHAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban trade with socialist ally Venezuela has fallen 70 percent since 2014 due to the South American oil producer’s inability to meet delivery contracts and purchase goods as it struggles with low oil prices and a resulting economic meltdown.

A cash crunch and lower oil supplies from Venezuela have forced the Communist-run Caribbean island to slash imports and reduce the use of fuel and electricity, helping tip its centrally planned economy into recession in 2016 for the first time in nearly a quarter century.

Merchandise trade with Venezuela fell to $2.2 billion in 2016, compared with $4.2 billion the year before and $7.3 billion in 2014, the Cuban National Statistics Office reported on its website this week. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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