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ALBA Summit in Havana

December 15, 2009 By Andrew OReilly

The 8th Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (Alba) took place between December 13-14 in Havana with sharp criticisms toward the United States coming from Cuban President Raúl Castro and Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez.

In his opening remarks, Castro called out U.S. President Barack Obama for his plan to install U.S. military bases in Colombia as well as Washington’s handling of the coup in Honduras, which he called “an electoral farce”, according to a report filed by the BBC.

Chávez followed by rejecting the warnings of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who criticized the advances made by some Latin American countries toward opening better relations with Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil last month.

Before the summit began, the BBC reported that Cuba and Venezuela signed a $3.2 billion trade deal that gives Venezuela more involvement in Cuban oil exploration as well as providing an economic boast for Cuba.

As with the opening of the summit, the closing remarks were also aimed at President Obama and the United States. Chávez read a letter from former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, where he accused the United States of backing right-wing governments in Latin America in an attempt to weaken socialist-minded leaders of the region.

“The real intentions of the empire are obvious, this time hidden beneath the friendly smile and African-American face of Barack Obama,” Fidel Castro said, according to the BBC.

These remarks come during a tense time in U.S.-Cuban relations, as an unnamed U.S. citizen is currently detained by Cuban authorities for allegedly handing out laptops and other electronic equipment as a part of a U.S. program to support democracy in Cuba.

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