Sunday, January 01, 2006

Cuba, Bolivia to Strengthen Co-op Despite US worries 2006-01-01 11:13:14

HAVANA, Dec. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales said on Saturday their countries will strengthen bilateral cooperation despite U.S. worries about more nations allying with Cuba.

The two leaders announced a 30-month plan to erase illiteracy in Bolivia.

Havana also agreed to provide free eye operations to up to 50,000 Bolivians with vision problems and 5,000 full scholarships for Bolivian youths to study medicine in

During his visit to Cuba for no more than 24 hours, Morales stressed his desire to boost the ties with Castro and other leaders in the region.

"We have agreed to the first measures of cooperation," Morales said, adding that his meetings with Castro had been "an encounter of two generations in the struggle for dignity ... of two revolutions."

The president-elect said he would not allow himself to be pressured by the United States while in power.

"I never had good relations with the United States, but rather with the American people," the Bolivian president-elect said.

Morales won the presidential elections on Dec. 18 with nearly 54 percent of the votes. Castro is the first head of state that Morales met with before taking office on Jan. 22.

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