Cuba's Raul Castro Visits Venezuela's Chavez

Published February 4, 2012 3:36AM (EST)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Cuban President Raul Castro flew to Caracas on Friday to attend a meeting with other allies of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who was at the airport for the arrival.

Neither man spoke to reporters, and it was unclear what they planned to discuss.

Castro is joining other national leaders of the Bolivarian Alliance, or ALBA, at the Sunday summit, including the presidents of Nicaragua and Bolivia.

Haitian President Michel Martelly also arrived ahead of Sunday's meeting, at which he will have observer status. He said he hopes to discuss the status of Haitian migrants in ALBA countries and will seek aid for Haiti's school food program.

Martelly met with Chavez at the presidential palace on Friday night and was accompanied by actor Sean Penn, who earlier this week was named ambassador at large for Haiti in recognition of his humanitarian work since the country's 2010 earthquake.

Penn has met with Chavez several times in recent years, and the Venezuelan leader has praised the American actor for his critical stance toward U.S. foreign policy.

Chavez's allies arrived in time for celebrations Saturday marking the 20th anniversary of a failed coup that Chavez led when he was a military officer. The government plans a military parade and other events for the anniversary.

By Salon Staff

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