Hugo Chavez invites Fidel Castro to trade summit

AP News
Posted: Nov 14, 2009 11:08 PM

President Hugo Chavez is inviting former Cuban leader Fidel Castro to next month's meeting of the regional ALBA trade bloc being held in Havana.

Chavez says Castro is well enough to attend the conference in mid-December. Venezuela's leftist leader dismissed persistent speculation that Castro's health is failing during a televised speech Saturday.

The 83-year-old Castro has not been seen in public since undergoing intestinal surgery in July 2006. He handed the Cuban presidency to his brother, Raul, but has continued writing essays published and broadcast by state media.

Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca has said the meeting will discuss Colombia's agreement to let U.S. troops use more Colombian military bases.