THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The New York Times
November 18, 2008
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Raul Castro's first official trip abroad since assuming Cuba's presidency will be to Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he received a letter from Castro two days ago and will announce the date of the Cuban leader's visit soon.
Chavez said Tuesday that the visit could take place within days, adding that he was pleased Castro had chosen Venezuela over Brazil, China, Russia and other countries as his first destination abroad.
Chavez has long been a close ally of former Cuban president Fidel Castro. Fidel was 82 when he stepped down from the presidency in February in favor of his younger brother.