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Monday, 31 July, 2000, 17:45 GMT 18:45 UK
Cuba delighted at Chavez victory

Cuba's ruling Communist Party has expressed delight at the election victory of the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, who's a friend and political supporter of Fidel Castro.

The official newspaper, Granma, spoke of "a crushing victory for Chavez".

The rest of Cuba's state-run media also featured the election prominently, calling the success of Mr Chavez "a triumph for truth".

Correspondents say the Cuban government clearly views Venezuela as a potentially crucial ally; one which can provide not just political support but cheap fuel and other economic benefits for the island's struggling economy. Mr Chavez's opponents accuse him of wanting to take the country down the same one-party path as Cuba -- charges he has dismissed.

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