Death casts a shadow of uncertainty over Cuba

HAVANA — The death of Hugo Chavez sent a ripple of sadness and uncertainty across Cuba on Wednesday as Cubans mourned the loss of an ideological son and generous ally and worried about the economic pain that could lie ahead if the new Venezuelan leadership cut off hefty oil subsidies.

Granma, the Communist Party newspaper, dedicated six of its eight pages to Chavez’s life, his death Tuesday, and his legacy. Flags at government buildings flew at half-staff after the government declared two days of official mourning.

Even those who had little time for his brand of socialism wondered if Cuba would descend into an economic chasm. Cuba receives more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela, purchased on favorable terms. The subsidized oil accounts for about two-thirds of Cuba’s consumption.


‘‘A shudder ran through my body,’’ said Marina Suarez, 48, of the moment when she heard the news of Chavez’s death. Staring at the sky with a look almost of ecstasy, she added, ‘‘He has died, but for me, he is as alive as ever.’’