Sun, 16 Sep 2007 13:44:13
President Chavez expects to visit Cuba in December to set up an oil refinery to be run bilaterally, according to Venezuela's ambassador to Cuba.
Ambassador Ali Rodriguez also said Saturday that Chavez maintains "very good communication" with convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Castro, 81, is recovering from intestinal surgery he underwent in July 2006. He handed the contemporary leadership of the country to his brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro.
Chavez, who leads his own movement toward socialism, calls Castro his inspiration.
Rodriguez previously served as Venezuela's energy ministry, and as head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Venezuela is the only Latin American member.
The refinery is to operate in Cienfuegos, in central Cuba, and will refine 65,000 barrels of oil per day, rising eventually to 109,000 bpd.
Lack of oil is Cuba's most pressing economic problem, affecting agriculture, manufacturing, and all other parts of the economy.