The Guardian November 8, 2000


Cuba and Venezuela strengthen ties to mutual benefit

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, the Presidents of Cuba and Venezuela have 
signed the Caracas Energy Agreement. The signing of the agreement marks an 
important stage in the cooperation between the two countries.

The agreement goes into effect immediately and will remain valid for five 
years. It is then extendable for further five-year periods, unless one of 
the parties declines to continue.

The signing of the agreement, during a ceremony broadcast on Cuban 
television, demonstrates a mutual desire to "strengthen traditional ties of 
friendship" between the two countries and to promote progress in their 
economies through the reciprocal advantages that come from effective co-
operation.

Venezuela will supply Cuba with up to 53,000 barrels of crude oil and its 
derivatives on a daily basis, in line with a three-month schedule.

Cuba, for its part will supply services and technologies within its 
capabilities which will be defined each year. 

Venezuela is one of the major oil producing countries; Cuba has no oil 
reserves but can be of assistance in other ways.

A special provision in the agreement establishes that Cuba will provide the 
services of its doctors, medical specialists and health technicians free of 
charge.

These personnel will work in areas where it will not displace existing 
medical staff.

The agreement also specifies that Venezuela will pay the costs of 
accommodation, food and internal transportation for Cuban medical staff, 
while Cuba will pay their salaries, among other expenses.

Cuba offers more than 120 goods and services. Among those are services 
linked to sugar industry, tourism, agriculture, education, sports (up to 
3,000 coaches will be provided), health (assistance to be provided in 
isolated areas of Venezuela where there are no or insufficient number of 
existing doctors, along with drug addiction treatment and transplants in 
Cuba).

Cuba has heavily invested in the development of its medical research and is 
justifiably proud of its achievements in this field.

The agreement goes into effect immediately and will remain valid for five 
years. It is then extendable for further five-year periods, unless one of 
the parties declines to continue. 

A cultural agreement signed by the two Presidents aims to strengthen 
friendship and solidarity relations even further and to promote cultural 
co-operation.

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