Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leader Fidel Castro have strongly criticized the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas as a plan by Washington to dominate Latin America.
During a rally in Havana Friday at the end of a three-day visit to Cuba, Mr. Chavez called on regional governments to instead join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas - a competing plan he introduced last year.
So far, Cuba is the only country to join the Venezuelan leader's socialist alternative to the U.S.-backed plan, which was to begin in January, but has yet to be finalized.
The Cuban and Venezuelan leaders announced new bilateral trade agreements on Friday, including Cuba's plan to buy $412 million worth of goods from Venezuela, which provides inexpensive oil and other subsidies to communist Cuba.
Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.