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Venezuela Calls for US Policy Change on Cuba


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela and its allies will vote against the final declaration of the Summit of the Americas to protest U.S. policy towards Cuba.

Mr. Chavez said Thursday he does not agree with a draft declaration for the summit, because it does not include Cuba. He made the comments during a meeting of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas - a Latin American trade alliance Venezuela created with Cuba.

The 34-nation Summit of the Americas begins Friday in Trinidad and Tobago. Cuba was not invited to participate.

The Venezuelan president and the other ALBA leaders oppose the U.S. trade embargo against communist-led Cuba, and several of them have said they will present their position to U.S. President Barack Obama at Friday's gathering.

Mr. Obama says the summit offers the opportunity of a "new beginning" in the relationship between the U.S. and Latin America.

In an editorial published in newspapers across the Americas Thursday, President Obama referred to the U.S.-Cuba relationship as one example of a debate from the past, but highlighted his administration's decision to allow unlimited family travel and remittances to Cuba as a move toward the future.

The White House said Thursday that Mr. Obama has no plans to hold a one-on-one meeting with President Chavez during the Summit of the Americas.

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