Brazil’s Lula Hoping to Meet Old Friend Fidel During Visit to Havana

Fidel Castro and Brazil's Lula Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva might get together next week when Lula visits Havana. That will depend, however, on what Castro's doctors say about such a meeting, according to information released this Thursday, January 10, by the Brazilian presidency's spokesman, Marcelo Baumbach.

"The president would like to meet Fidel Castro. Due to Fidel Castro's health situation we always depend a little on the doctors opinion regarding what would be the best time to do this. It is very likely that this encounter will happen. Everyone wants it to happen," said Baumbach, pointing out that Castro is Lula's personal friend.

"The president is very glad he has this chance to meet Fidel Castro. It's the health issue at this moment that makes it necessary to hear the doctors opinion about the advisability, or not, of the encounter," concluded the spokesman.

Fidel has been removed from power since last year due to health problems. He has been replaced in the presidency by his younger brother, Raul Castro, with whom Lula will meet, as informed by Baumbach. Lula will also touch bases with Ricardo Alarcón, the president of Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power.

In November of last year, the Brazilian president cancelled a scheduled visit to Havana claiming that he needed more time to analyze requests submitted by that country. Baumbach denied, however, that the trip rescheduling was tied to Castro's ill health.

Lula will travel Monday, January 14, to Cuba, where he will stay through the next day, January 15. This will be Lula's second visit to the island as president – the first one happened in 2003.

Before arriving in Havana, Lula will participate in the inauguration of Guatemalan president ílvaro Colón. According to Baumbach, Guatemala has already shown interest in knowing Brazil's social programs and seems also interested in producing biofuels.

ABr

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