Venezuela petro-allies nervous over Chavez's death

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Associated Press

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 6 at 5:34 PM

HAVANA (AP) — Cubans are afraid hard times could return to the island following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whose billions of dollars of oil largesse helps the island's economy function.

Many people remember the so-called Special Period of the 1990s, when the Soviet Union's sudden collapse plunged Cuba into years of economic depression.

While Chavez's party remains in power in Venezuela, nothing is likely to change. But a victory by the opposition in a presidential election expected in the coming weeks could make a difference.

Cubans are not alone in having worries. More than a dozen other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have benefited to the tune of billions of dollars from the Petrocaribe pact that was created in 2005 with the goal of unifying the regional oil industry under Venezuelan leadership and countering U.S. influence.

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