http://havanajournal.com/business/entry/brazils-lula-to-visit-cuba-maybe-fidel-castro-about-investments/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Business

Brazil’s Lula to visit Cuba, maybe Fidel Castro about investments

Posted January 10, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Business.
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Reuters

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)

Member Comments

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On January 10, 2008, publisher wrote:

Interesting.

Sounds like an oil trip to me.

I think I can safely predict that he will not meet with Fidel Castro but at least Lula’s visit will force the issue.

FYI, read this same article but from the Cuban government’s perspective here http://www.escambray.cu/Eng/news/Clula0801101009.htm

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On January 15, 2008, publisher wrote:

Well. I guess I was wrong.

Brazil’s President Lula meets Fidel Castro

1 hour ago

HAVANA (AFP) — Ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro met Tuesday in Cuba with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a Brazilian official told AFP.

“The meeting is taking place as we speak ... and is not over yet,” a spokesman for the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said.

Lula traveled to Cuba Monday to see his counterpart and “personal friend” Castro as well as to boost economic ties between the two countries, his aides and Brazilian media said ahead of the trip.

Fidel Castro, 81, has not been seen in public since a gastrointestinal operation in July 2006, when his brother Raul Castro, 76, “temporarily” took over as head of government.

Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela Castro said Tuesday that her uncle was “doing very well” in his lengthy convalescence, and was following very closely a gender equality bill under debate.

“He’s very attentive,” said Mariela Castro, director of the National Sexual Education Center, at the opening of the Congress on Sexual Education, Orientation and Therapy.

Although Lula’s brief visit to Cuba had economic objectives, its main purpose is to visit his ailing friend Castro, the Brazilian president’s aides said before leaving Brasilia.

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The story continues to talk about the business side of the trip but I find it interesting that Lula’s main purpose was to visit Fidel. That is VERY interesting.

Maybe he wanted reassurance that Castro was alive? I wonder if other foreign leaders asked Lula to check on Fidel for them?