Venezuela takes a Cuban vacation

A directional signpost in Havana, Cuba

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Oil is one of things Venezuela sends to its friend Cuba. Now Venezuela's sending something else: its people. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Dan Grech reports.


DAN GRECH: Venezuela will send 100,000 low-income citizens on all-expense-paid vacations to Cuba this year.

That'll cover the drop in tourism Cuba experienced last year due to inflated prices and political uncertainty surrounding President Fidel Castro's health.

Adam Isacson is with Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C.

ADAM ISACSON: A hundred thousand tourists, that helps Cuba develop its tourism industry more. It helps fill spaces at a time when they're empty. There's clearly a lot of close communication between the both countries, like, 'what do you need? What can I give you? Let's make a deal.'

The Venezuelan tourists will fly on Cuba's state-run airline, and they'll attend consciousness-raising sessions on the island.

Venezuela helps prop up the Communist island with cheap oil and low-interest loans.

What's less clear, Isacson says, is how Cuba repays its rich ally.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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