Cuba the focus for Autocracy, Inc.


Cuba is the latest focus for what National Endowment for Democracy (NED) board member Anne Applebaum calls Autocracy, Inc.

As Russia and China, among other nations, are attempting to build alternate structures of power to combat the United States, trade deals like Russia’s with Cuba have large implications for the influence of the West, notes analyst Abigail Loeb. 

As authoritarian spheres of influence grow, nations are less likely to respect democratic norms and more likely to align with repressive regimes like Russia. With Cuba serving as an outpost for civilian business ventures, Russia will extend its influence greatly to only 90 miles from the United States and closer to nations like Venezuela, Mexico, and more recently Brazil, which at times are drifting from US influence, she writes for the Harvard International Review:

While Russia’s international influence is still less than that of the Western bloc, it is finding new allies. This deal will materially enrich two regimes recognized as oppressive and corrupt. In moving towards one another, both Cuba and Russia face less pressure to correct these problems. With the resource and influence imbalance, however, it is likely that Cuba gets the short end of the stick in this deal. Above all, the human cost for Cuba, more than material, could be extremely high if Russia decides to backtrack on this agreement or falls short of expectations.

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