- The Washington Times - Monday, November 8, 2004


Caricom ponders Haiti ties, free trade

PORT OF SPAIN — Leaders of the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) were to begin a two-day summit yesterday, taking up issues like renewing ties with Haiti and expanding free trade in the region.

Leaders were to debate the merits of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, which would ease the movement of good and services throughout the regional bloc beginning next year.

Only three countries — Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica — have so far agreed to the plan.


Castro recovering, Chavez reports

HAVANA — Fidel Castro, 78, appears to be recovering well after shattering his left kneecap and breaking his right arm in a fall last month, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said after visiting the Cuban leader.

Cuban television showed Mr. Chavez talking with a relaxed-looking Mr. Castro, who was in a wheelchair and had his right arm in a sling. His left leg was elevated and appeared to be resting on a pillow.

The Cuban president wore a dark red shirt and dark pants for the meeting with Mr. Chavez. He generally receives visitors in a suit or olive military fatigues.

“We’ve spent some time soul-sharing,” Mr. Chavez said after the meeting, which began Sunday evening and lasted through the night.

Weekly notes

Colombian rebels dismissed yesterday a government proposal for talks to free 72 long-held hostages, including three Americans. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia accused President Alvaro Uribe, who proposed meeting rebel leaders in a neutral embassy, of making the offer to boost his popularity as he prepares to seek re-election in 2006. The government has offered to free 50 jailed rebels in return for the hostages. … The mother of Brazilian soccer phenomenon Robinho has been kidnapped by gunmen, police told reporters Sunday. Marina de Souza was abducted during a barbecue Saturday night at the seaside town of Praia Grande, about 40 miles from Sao Paulo. According to police, no ransom has been demanded yet. The star player of team Santos — for which legendary soccer great Pele played — sat out Sunday’s game to be with his family.

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