HAVANA TIMES, Dec.16.- After wrapping up his 3-day visit to Venezuela, Cuban President Raul Castro arrived Monday afternoon in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil to attend the First Latin America and Caribbean Summit for Integration and Development. The trip is Castro’s first abroad since he took office in February 2008.
The Summit, which begins Tuesday, is seen as an attempt to discuss major world problems -the food, financial, energy and climate change crises- in a regional setting without the overbearing presence of either the United States or Europe.
While in Venezuela, Castro and his delegation signed new accords valued at US $2 billion. Venezuela is Cuba’s leading trade partner. The wide-ranging agreements include projects in agriculture, education, health and sports in Venezuela with Cuban assistance, and joint ventures to help Cuba increase its oil-refining capacity and telecommunications.