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Cuba, Venezuela Reaffirm Ties

Cuba's state-run media report that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has met with his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, and former President Fidel Castro to reaffirm ties between their nations.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma says President Chavez arrived in Cuba from Nicaragua Thursday. The report says discussions focused on ways to strengthen economic and social ties.

It says Mr. Chavez and Raul Castro toured a community construction project in the town of Playa and met with members of the community.

Cuba and Venezuela are close political allies. Venezuela is Cuba's main trading partner.

In December, the two nations signed cooperation agreements in the areas of health, education, farming and energy worth some $3 billion.

Cuba and Venezuela are founding members of ALBA, a leftist bloc of Latin American nations formed in 2004 to counter U.S. influence in the region.