Venezuelan leader pays visit to new Cuban president

Saturday, April 21, 2018

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HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Havana Friday to meet with Cuba's new president and ratify his struggling nation's ties with one of its few remaining allies.

He acted quickly -- just a day after decades of Castro rule ended and long time party loyalist Miguel Diaz-Canel assumed power as president.

Cuba for years has been heavily dependent on cut-rate Venezuelan oil in exchange for assistance in the form of Cuban doctors working in the oil-rich but economically troubled South American country.

Before leaving Caracas, Maduro said he would be making "a working visit, one of brotherhood, to give an embrace of solidarity and support" to Diaz-Canel.

"I come with lots of energy to keep working together," Maduro said in arrival remarks after he was received by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, local news reports said.

Maduro is seeking re-election on May 20 among voters grappling with hyper-inflation and shortages of food and medicine.

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