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Chile's Bachelet Visits Cuba

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is in Cuba on a three-day visit, making her the first Chilean leader to travel to the communist island nation in more than 35 years.

Ms. Bachelet's agenda includes a meeting Wednesday with President Raul Castro in Havana. During her trip, she is also expected to open the International Book Fair, which is dedicated this year to Chile.

The Chilean president is traveling with a large delegation of business leaders, cultural figures and government officials. They include the Chilean foreign minister, Alejandro Foxley, as well as the ministers of culture and agriculture, Paulina Urrutia, and Marigen Hornkohl.

Members of Chile's opposition already have criticized Ms. Bachelet for not planning to meet with Cuban dissidents during the trip.

The last Chilean leader to visit Cuba was socialist Salvador Allende, who considered then-Cuban President Fidel Castro a friend. Allende visited Cuba in 1972.

It is not clear whether President Bachelet will meet with the former Cuban leader, who has not been seen publicly since July 2006 when he underwent intestinal surgery and handed power to his brother on what was then a provisional basis. Raul Castro formally took power 12 months ago.

Ms. Bachelet flew to Cuba from Honduras, where she signed education, technology and education agreements.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.