The Miami Herald
October 18, 1998
Leaders meet at Latin summit

             Herald Staff Writer

             OPORTO, Portugal -- Cuban President Fidel Castro and Spanish leader Jose
             Maria Aznar put a formal end to a 2-year-old rocky stretch in their relationship by
             stating after a private meeting here that they expect to significantly improve their
             countries' bilateral ties.

             Castro and Aznar were among the 21 heads of state who arrived here over the
             weekend for the one-day Ibero-American summit, which officially starts today.
             The meeting is to focus on the perils of globalization, and -- according to a draft
             final statement obtained by The Herald -- will call on industrialized countries to
             ``adopt more efficient measures'' to alleviate the turmoil in world financial markets.

             As in previous Ibero-American summits, one of the few major regional meetings
             where the United States is not invited, Castro became the meeting's main attraction
             as soon as he arrived here Saturday. Portugal and the nearby Spanish region of
             Galicia house some of the most active pro-Castro groups in Europe.

             All major Portuguese newspapers led their front pages with pictures of Castro on
             Saturday. The influential daily Jornal de Noticias carried a big picture of the Cuban
             president in the olive green uniform he wore on his arrival here, under the headline,
             ``Summit at Fidel's rhythm.''

             The turnaround in Spanish-Cuban relations is important for Cuba, because Spain
             has always been one of the biggest sources of foreign investment and tourism to
             the island. Relations between the two countries took a sharp turn for the worse
             after Aznar took office in 1996 and publicly criticized the absence of fundamental
             freedoms on the island.

             At a joint appearance following their meeting Saturday, Aznar said the two had
             expressed their wishes that relations between the two countries ``follow a positive
             path, intensely positive.'' Castro, in turn, said the meeting had produced
             ``considerable progress,'' and described their relations as excellent.

             Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes, who is expected to make a four-day visit
             to Cuba next month, announced later that Spanish King Juan Carlos I ``will
             probably'' make his first official visit to Cuba next year. Matutes said the king may
             actually go twice to Cuba next year, since he also will attend the 1999
             Ibero-American Summit, scheduled to take place in Havana.

             In another of several meetings, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and
             Ecuadorean President Jamil Mahuad gathered with leaders of Brazil, Argentina
             and Chile, which are acting as de facto arbitrators in a decades-old Peru-Ecuador
             border conflict. At the end of the meeting, Brazilian President Fernando Henrique
             Cardoso said a definitive solution to the conflict could be reached as early as next


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