Late last week, Raúl Castro paid a symbolic visit to Caracas to meet with Venezuela's controversial President, Hugo Chavez. It is Castro's first international trip as Cuba's head of state, and his talks with Chavez will likely mark a longer term, closer relationship between the two socialist countries. According to an op-ed article in Diario Las Américas, Chavez has long proclaimed himself to be a "son of Fidel Castro," so his intentions to maintain his existing relations with Cuba are quite apparent. Some facts rendered from an Associated Press article report that Venezuela intends to double its per diem sales of crude oil to Cuba by 2013; in exchange, Cuba will continue to reciprocate Venezuela's offerings in the form of health care, education, and agriculture.
In addition to his visit with Chavez, Castro attended a summit hosted by Brazil on Tuesday, December 16, which was one of the first occasions that a representative from neither the United States nor a country from Europe was in attendance.