Cuba, Venezuela sign joint projects worth over $3 bn

By RIA Novosti,

Havana : Venezuela and Cuba have signed agreements on 285 joint projects totalling about $3.16 billion at the summit of a regional trade bloc in Havana.

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Speaking after the signing of the documents, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the countries began intensifying cooperation “in 2000 with 17 modest projects worth some $30 million”.

“This is a mechanism of cooperation, which has no other precedents in the world. It is unbelievable how it grew up in the last 10 years,” he added.

Cuban leader Raul Castro thanked his Venezuelan counterpart adding that Venezuela will remain trade partner number one for Cuba.

Trade between Venezuela and Cuba has reached $8.7 billion, mainly in the health, education, agriculture and energy sectors.

Over 40,000 Cuban experts are working in Venezuela to help the poverty-stricken Latin American country improve its health care and education systems.

ALBA, or the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, was founded by former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez in 2005 and now comprises nine members – Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda.