SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Venezuela's vice president read a letter from Hugo Chavez at a summit in Chile Monday, exhorting the region's leaders to show unity while criticizing the U.S. embargo on Cuba.
The typewritten speech, about a dozen pages long, said the assumption of Cuban President Raul Castro as the rotating president of the CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean leaders is a huge victory against U.S. pressure to isolate Cuba.
"After 30 years of resisting this criminal imperial blockade, Latin America and the Caribbean is saying to the U.S., in one voice, that all your attempts to leave out Cuba are failing," the letter said.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro made no comments about the letter after reading it to other leaders. He has been the government's top public figure while Chavez remains in Cuba after his fourth surgery for cancer. The letter was highly anticipated after Venezuelan officials said it would show that Chavez remains lucid and in charge.
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