Venezuela’s anti-American President Hugo Chavez has signed a three billion dollar trade deal with Cuba.
The cooperation agreement – worth the equivalent of two billion euros – underlines Venezuela’s role as the communist island’s closest political and economic ally. The OPEC nation has become a vital source of energy and trade for Cuba exchanging oil for the services of trained professionals. At the signing ceremony Chavez boasted of just having met Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro. “Fidel put it this way,” he said. “‘If the Bolivian revolution collapses, or stops, or fails, this whole continent will collapse and fall into the hands of the Yankee empire.’” Current Cuban leader Raul Castro celebrated with Chavez after signing the cooperation deal which covers, health, the fishing industry and sports projects. The two countries also plan to form joint state-run companies in the sugar, aluminium, transport and farming industries.