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Venezuela, Cuba Sign New Economic Accords

Venezuela and Cuba have signed 16 new cooperation agreements, including accords on telecommunications, tourism and the economy.

The agreements were signed in Caracas Wednesday by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage.

During a news conference with Lage, Mr. Chavez said his ailing friend, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, is recovering following intestinal surgery last year and has been up and walking around.

The Venezuelan president showed a letter that Mr. Chavez said was signed by Mr. Castro.

Last week, Mr. Chavez said Mr. Castro was in a battle for his life.

The Cuban government treats Mr. Castro's health as a state secret.

Mr. Castro has not been seen in public since late July when he underwent surgery. At the time, he temporarily handed power to his younger brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .