Hugo Chavez Congratulates Cuba's Raul Castro On Re-election

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Cuban President Raul Castro (L) talks to his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez during the inauguration of the VIII Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) Summit in Havana on December 13, 2009. AFP PHOTO/OMAR tORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty Images

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has sent a message to Raul Castro, congratulating him for his re-election as Cuba's president.

Cuban lawmakers re-elected Castro on Sunday. Castro said the new five-year term will be his last as Cuba's president.

In a statement released by Venezuela's foreign ministry on Monday, Chavez called Castro "a brave soldier" and expressed optimism his new term as Cuba's leader would be successful.

Venezuela and Cuba have forged strong ties under Chavez.

Chavez returned to Venezuela on Feb. 18, after more than two months of medical treatment in Cuba following cancer surgery.

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