Chavez’s prostration – Cuba and Brazil’s behavior

Two  interesting  points about the Venezuela conundrum made in this  Economist piece:

1) “Mr Chávez’s prostration has given Cuba unhealthy sway over events in the country. Cuba’s influence was already considerable: it provides Mr Chávez with intelligence and security advisers in return for Venezuelan oil.”

Are the Cubans indeed  gatekeepers to Chavez? Controlling who he sees? Or does it boil down to Chavez’s daughters?

2) Mercosur, led by Brazil, suspended Paraguay’s last year “after its left-wing president was impeached—constitutionally, albeit with unseemly haste.” The Economist says Mercosur should “now similarly suspend Venezuela until it adheres to its own constitution.”

Many will remember Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro’s alleged attempt to persuade Paraguayan military leaders to act to thwart the impeachment of Fernando Lugo.

Maduro and National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello are now engaged in a political high-wire act, without a constitutional net.