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Venezuela’s Maduro meets Fidel Castro in Cuba

20 February 2015 14:12

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has met with his former Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro as Caracas is grappling with severe economic crisis.

Maduro said on Thursday that he visited the retired leader in Cuba’s capital city of Havana on Tuesday.
“We talked about the world, peace, and climate change — we spoke on many subjects,” Maduro said, adding that Castro sends his greetings to all the people of Venezuela.

Earlier this month, Cuba released the first photographs of the 88-year-old Castro in more than five months amid rumors that his health is failing.

Maduro also met with Cuban President Raul Castro and other senior officials during his visit to the Caribbean nation.

In 2006, Raul Castro took over control of the island state in the Caribbean from his brother Fidel.

Cuba remains a main political and economic ally of Venezuela since the late Hugo Chavez came to power in Caracas in 1999.

Venezuela, Cuba alliance

Cuba remains a main political and economic ally of Venezuela since the late Hugo Chavez came to power in Caracas in 1999.

Chavez formed significant trade relationship with Cuba – including joint financial transactions, exchange of energy resources, and cooperation in intelligence service and military – in response to US capitalism, which has dominated the Caribbean for decades.

Meanwhile, Cuba’s President Raul has also urged the country’s allies to defend Caracas against foreign conspiracies, amid months of anti-government protests in Venezuela.

Opposition groups have criticized the Maduro administration for the country’s economic hardships, claiming that its policies have led to a shortage of essential goods and high inflation.

Venezuela’s economic woes

Opposition activists have launched protests in the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas over the recent months in response to the government’s economic policies.

Experts say protests have picked up following the US-backed anti-government protest movement that rocked the oil-rich Latin American nation in 2014.

However, the crowds of protesters have remained much smaller than in previous opposition rallies, despite the deteriorating economic conditions of the country amid a recent 50 percent drop in global oil prices.

Venezuela, a major oil producer and member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has been hit hard by the falling oil prices over the past months.

Maduro has accused Washington, which is widely believed to be backing the current Venezuelan opposition, of flooding the markets with oil as part of an economic war against his nation as well as Russia and Iran.

The Venezuelan president has also urged the country’s National Assembly to launch an inquiry into what he referred to as “an economic war” waged against the nation.

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