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In Havana, Brazilian President Signs Pact to Explore Oil Off Cuba

Lula and Raul Castro Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is in Cuba with a busy agenda, which  includes among other things visits to areas ravaged by recent hurricanes and the signing of an agreement between state-controlled oil multinational Petrobras and the Cuban state owned company, Cubapetroleo (Cupet).

When Lula was elected president there was this belief that Brazil would have an intense economic relationship with Cuba, but this didn't materialize.

Since Raul Castro took over the island's leadership, however, relations between the two countries have increased. Brazil seems ready to deal with Cuban sectors in need of investment, including energy, agriculture and infrastructure.

Lula is expected to meet with President Raul Castro and preside over the signing of an agreement that would allow Brazil to produce oil in Cuba.

Cuba's Communist Party Granma newspaper reported Thursday that Brazil's state-run oil company, Petrobras, will sign the deal on deep-water exploration, but gave no other details.

Lula will be traveling arrived in Cuba after visiting El Salvador, which hosted the 18th Ibero-American summit of leaders from Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

It is not clear, however, whether the Brazilian leader will visit former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has not been seen in public since undergoing intestinal surgery in July 2006.

The two men last met when Lula visited Cuba in January to sign a deal offering the island millions of dollars in food and financial aid in exchange for the rights to explore for oil off its coast.

Several other foreign oil companies have already made exploration deals with Cuba.

Bzz/VoA

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