14 Dec 2008

Castro makes presidential trip to Venezuela

12:06 pm on 14 December 2008

President Raul Castro of Cuba is in Venezuela at the start of his first overseas trip as president.

He took over the presidency from his brother, Fidel Castro, earlier this year.

Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez is a long-time admirer of Fidel.

President Castro, 77, is to visit the tomb of Venezuelan independence hero, Simon Bolivar, and sign bilateral deals. Bolivar is known as "the liberator" for his exploits in securing independence from Spain for Venezuela.

The visit is a few weeks before the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

Aside from the symbolic nature of the visit, the BBC reports the two leaders are likely to discuss joint strategies to combat the global economic crisis, particularly the low price of oil.

Cuba receives around 100,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil every day under a regional economic arrangement.

Mr Chavez marks 10 years in office as president in February.