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Chavez May Help Shape Post-Castro Cuba

Cuban President Fidel Castro has been a mentor to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. And their relationship has become critically important, as Venezuela now provides the Caribbean island nation with oil -- on generous terms.

Venezuela is also absorbing a large portion of Cuba's underemployed skilled workers, including doctors.

The relationship gives Chavez a degree of influence in Cuba. Some analysts believe he will use that influence to help keep Cuba on the communist road after Castro dies.

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Julie McCarthy has spent most of career traveling the world for NPR. She's covered wars, prime ministers, presidents and paupers. But her favorite stories "are about the common man or woman doing uncommon things," she says.