Havana's economic relations with Caracas are increasing under the government of President Raúl Castro. There is now a sense of greater pragmatism in commercial projects and industrial joint ventures, while the political rhetoric is losing the power that characterized the meetings of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez with former Cuban head of state Fidel Castro. Venezuela is the island's biggest trading partner . The relationship has grown since 1999, when Chávez took power and strengthened ties with the communist island. Since that time, official visits are frequent as are reciprocal gestures of support. Health care has been the most visible collaboration between the two governments, but cooperation also extends to priority sectors such as energy generation. Venezuelan oil has eased the power cuts and the economic paralysis that affected Cuba in the 1990s after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Raúl Castro,reputed to be more pragmatic and more organized than his brother, has steered bilateral relations to a new stage. On July 25-27, the two countries held a ministerial summit in Cuba facilitating a "new dimension to bilateral economic ties," said Ricardo Cabrisas, Cuba's vice president of the Council of Ministers.
NotiCen writers. "Havana, Caracas Strengthen Economic Pragmatism in Bilateral Relations." (2010). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/la_energy_notien/150