Cuban state TV is full of images of a young and healthy [Hugo] Chavez amid adoring crowds, hugging his supporters and the header of the island's Communist Party newspaper, Granma, is now black instead of red.
"He was a great friend to Cuba, he helped us a lot," explains Eduardo Leon, hawking the black copies of Granma on a cobbled street corner. "He was close to Fidel and Raul [Castro]. Cuba will miss him like a son."
It is that bond between Chavez's Venezuela and the Castros' Cuba that explains both the depth of sadness at his death here, and concern for the future.
That bond being Venezuela's oil;
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Cuba's economic lifeline was suddenly cut with dramatic consequences: there were blackouts, food shortages, no fuel.
The system's survival through the great hardships of what was known as the 'Special Period' owes much to Chavez and his support.
Two decades on, Cuba gets two thirds of its oil from Venezuela at highly preferential prices. Economists say the island pays with the services of some 40,000 state-employed doctors, sports trainers and military advisers.Wouldn't that be...exploitation of Cuba's labor?