CASTRO URGES DEFENSE OF ALLY MADURO IN VENEZUELA

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SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA, Bolivia: Cuban President Raul Castro warned allies on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) that Havana’s closest ally Venezuela needed support amid fallout from deadly anti-government protests. “Venezuela today needs our staunchest support,” Castro, 83, said in a rare international speech at a Group 77+China meeting in Bolivia. “The oligarchs who could not get rid of President Hugo Chavez think the time has come to topple the Bolivarian revolution and President [Nicolas] Maduro,” Castro argued, calling the elected socialist government in Caracas “the front line of independence, freedom and dignity.” Maduro is the closest regional ally of Cuba, the region’s only one-party communist state. Venezuelan economic support is critical to keeping the Cuban government and economy afloat.

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AFP

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