Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will visit Cuba next week offering investments, but Fidel Castro’s health makes a meeting between the two uncertain, Lula’s spokesman said on Thursday.
Castro has only appeared in videos and photographs since undergoing emergency stomach surgery in July 2006, when he handed power to his brother, Raul.
With Fidel Castro’s full condition a state secret, it is unclear whether the 81-year-old will resume office.
Both leaders intend to meet, but because of Castro’s health the encounter could not be confirmed, Marcelo Baumbach, presidential spokesman, told a news conference.
“It is very likely that the meeting will happen, everybody wants it to happen ... but at this moment it’s necessary to hear the opinion of the physicians,” Baumbach said.
He described Lula is a close friend of Castro.
Some of Lula’s closest allies were exiled in Cuba during Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
The Brazilian government wants to increase credit lines to Cuba for food imports as well as investments in industrial, agriculture and infrastructure projects, including the modernization of its hotel industry.
Also on the agenda is a framework agreement for cooperation with Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras including the construction of a lubricants plant and oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Baumbach said.
Petrobras is expected to train Cuban personnel and offer aid in refining and research.
Lula, who will be accompanied by several ministers as well as the head of Petrobras, is due to arrive on Monday and spend 24 hours on the Caribbean island.
He will also meet with acting President Raul Castro and National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon.
Lula will participate in the swearing-in ceremony of Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom on Monday. (Reporting by Raymond Colitt)