Chavez visits Fidel, Raul Castro in 1st Cuba trip since power transfer

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez paid a visit to his close friend Fidel Castro on Saturday, making his first trip to Cuba since the ailing 81-year-old was replaced as president by his younger brother Raul. "I talked for a long time with Chavez today," the elder Castro said in a statement distributed by Foreign Ministry officials. In the unannounced trip after Friday's summit of Latin American leaders in the Dominican Republic, Chavez also met with Raul Castro, Cuban officials said. Before returning to Venezuela on Saturday, Chavez told Cuban state television than he found Fidel "happy, splendid and full of ideas." Castro wrote that the Venezuelan leader was "euphoric from that battle for peace and his role" at the summit, where Andean leaders agreed to end a bitter dispute over a Colombian cross-border raid on rebels in Ecuadorean territory.