CARACAS, Monday April 29, 2013 | Update

Castro-Maduro pact shores up Cuba's economic plan

Cuban President Raúl Castro disclosed the economic agenda of the two countries

Nicolás Maduro and Raúl Castro will perform 51 common projects in 2013
Monday April 29, 2013  10:58 AM
Venezuela and Cuba are to perform 51 projects in different areas in 2013, including energy, health, education, and joint investments worth USD 2 billion.

The projects were ratified during a meeting held between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his Cuban counterpart Raúl Castro in Havana last weekend, within the framework of the 13th Inter-Governmental Meeting between Venezuela and Cuba.

According to Cuban daily newspaper Gramma, Raúl Castro said that the 51 cooperation projects were agreed upon based on the basic principles set forth in the bilateral comprehensive agreement entered into by the two nations some years ago.

"The Cuban president regarded as transcendental the memorandum of understanding for cooperation, and the adoption of a middle and long-term economic agenda. In this sense, he (Raúl Castro) stressed that such agenda was drafted to project the economic ties and based on the Plan of the Homeland 2013-2019 of the Bolivarian Government, the guidelines of the Social and Economic Policy of the Party and the Revolution, and the Cuban economic plan for 2012-2016," the newspaper read.

Under Hugo Chávez's leadership, Venezuelan became Cuba's main economic and political ally. Since 2000, the two governments have in place a significant number of agreements, including an energy agreement under which Venezuela ships 100,000 oil barrels per day to Cuba under special conditions, EFE cited.
The rock of discord

A shipment of over 30,000 tons of phosphate arrived at Puerto Cabello port in late July on board the Shi Long Ling, a Chinese-flagged vessel that began its long journey in northern Africa. The cargo boat docked on July 26 after traveling more than 3,200 nautical miles. Undoubtedly, this would just be considered one in many cargo ships crisscrossing the oceans if it were not for the fact that Venezuela has denounced Western Sahara occupation by Morocco and yet purchases the territory's natural resource products from the occupying power.

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