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Cuba Venezuela Deepen Ties
In a ceremony held last night at the Caracas´ Miraflores Palace, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro agreed to cooperate on 173 joint projects worth more than USD 2 billion in various sectors including energy, oil production, and communications.

The new deals are backed by a 24-month-long cooperation relationship between both countries.

The ceremony, which was broadcast live on state television, was also attended by Venezuelan Vice President Ramon Carrizales, and Foreign Ministers Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela) and Felipe Perez Roque (Cuba), among other ministers and top leaders from both countries.

The new agreements include 137 development projects and 36 new programs, ministerial sources said.

In his closing speech, Raul Castro hailed the Boliviarian Alternative for the People of Our Americas (ALBA) as the best integration mechanism for regional countries, and an tool to face neoliberalism.

The Cuban President began yesterday in Venezuela his first foreign trip as Cuba"s head of state.

He is expected to head next to Brazil, where he will attend an integration summit of Latin American and Caribbean countries starting Tuesday in the Brazilian state of Bahia. nm/dig/ml


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