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Chavez Proposes Cuba Project

Saturday, September 25, 2004; Page A19

CARACAS, Venezuela, Sept. 24 -- President Hugo Chavez on Friday proposed joining forces with communist Cuba to bring free health and education programs to poor Caribbean nations ravaged by recent hurricanes and tropical storms.

Chavez, a political ally of Fidel Castro, Cuba's leader, has been accused by domestic foes and Washington of working with Havana to export his left-wing "revolution" to Latin America and the Caribbean, a charge he rejects.

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"I've proposed to Cuban President Fidel Castro that Venezuela and Cuba pool resources to offer the governments of these people, if they consider it appropriate, these programs for literacy . . . and medical attention," he said. It was unclear how Castro had reacted to Chavez's proposal.

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