Photo: Raul Castro and Nicolas Maduro
The meeting took place a few hours before the start here of the second summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, in which Maduro and more than two-dozen other heads of government and senior officials will participate.
During the meeting, Venezuelan Vice President Rafael Ramirez and Cuban Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca signed the agreement concerning the projects that will be undertaken in 2014 under the auspices of the bilateral Comprehensive Cooperation Accord.
The framework treaty for bilateral cooperation signed in 2000 during the mandates of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, who retired in 2006 due to serious illness, transformed the South American country into the Caribbean island’s main political and economic ally.
Despite the departure from power of the original pair of leaders, the two governments have maintained the agreement, which includes accords of all sorts, including an energy pact whereby the island receives some 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Venezuela on generous terms.
Cuba pays for part of the oil with services provided in Venezuela by more than 30,000 physicians and health professionals, as well as other professionals in the education and sports sectors and advisors in assorted social projects.