Leaders of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations have gathered in Spain to discuss issues of common interest.Poverty, debt in Latin America and the devastation caused by Hurricane Stan are high on the agenda of the two day Ibero-American summit. For the fifth successive time Fidel Castro has opted out. Cuba’s foreign minister said his president was busy dealing with the island’s medical assistance to central American countries hit by the hurricane. The participants observed a minute silence for Stan’s some 1,000 victims. The delegates are expected to come up with their own hurricane aid package for the nations affected by the storm. Measures to ease Latin America’s heavy debt burden are also under discussion.They include a Spanish proposal to swap debt owed to Madrid for commitments to invest in education. The presence of UN Secretary General Koffi Annan has boosted the global profile of the summit which draws together 22 nations. The leaders will also discuss a Cuban proposal for a resolution on terrorism. Cuba wanted the summit to back the extradition to Venezuela of an anti-Castro Cuban exile who is being held in the US. However, it is thought the summit will agree a general statement on extradition to be put before leaders.
Castro absent as Latin leaders meet