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    Chavez returns from Cuba after Fidel's 83rd birthday

    Caracas (AP): President Hugo Chavez says he visited Cuba to celebrate the 83rd birthday of his close ally and mentor Fidel Castro.

    Mr. Chavez says they shared a cake. He says he also gave Mr. Castro Venezuelan products including chocolate and sardines, and two charcoal drawings: one of Venezuelan independence hero Francisco de Miranda, and a second of Cuban hero Jose Marti.

    Mr. Chavez said the two leaders talked for some five hours on Friday before he returned to Venezuela.

    Mr. Castro ceded power to his brother, Raul, after he fell ill three years ago and has not been seen in public since. He stepped down as president in February 2008.

    Mr. Castro turned 83 on Thursday.


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