Venezuela and Cuba have agreed to start a joint shipyard, the Venezuelan government said Wednesday, the latest sign of strengthening economic ties between the Latin countries.
The shipyard was among a series of agreements signed between the countries last week during a visit to Cuba by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Infrastructure Ministry said in a statement.
Chavez is an ally and close friend of Cuban President Fidel Castro. Chavez has repeatedly railed against capitalism and has defied the United States as he strengthens relations with Cuba.
The Cuban government will buy food products such as canned sardines, gelatin, puddings and marmalades, as well as chocolate drinks and condensed milk, the news agency said. Cuba also is to buy work clothes made in Venezuela, including 400,000 pairs of boots.
The shipyard is to be built in the western Venezuelan state Zulia. It is to be for repairing naval ships and the construction of small navy ships, Infrastructure Minister Ramon Carrizalez Rengifo said in the statement.
Venezuela, meanwhile, announced last week 53,000 barrels of oil it began selling to Cuba on preferential terms in 2000 had now risen to up to 90,000 barrels daily.
Cuba agreed to increase the number of its doctors in Venezuela to 30,000 by year’s end. It will also help train 40,000 new Venezuelan doctors.