Venezuela welcomes visiting Latin American leaders

Associated Press
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Pedestrians walk past a mural of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Venezuela's congress has voted to postpone the inauguration of President Hugo Chavez, which was scheduled for Thursday, to let him recover from cancer surgery in Cuba. Critics say that violates the country's constitution. On Wednesday, Venezuela's Supreme Court backed the congress ruling Chavez's inauguration can be postponed. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's foreign minister is hosting a meeting with leaders from 19 Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Nicolas Maduro plans to discuss issues related to Petrocaribe, a pact that has boosted the South American nation's influence in the region.

Venezuela created Petrocaribe in 2005 to sell fuel to member countries at preferential terms and help finance oil infrastructure projects.

Visiting leaders and foreign ministers are expected to attend an event Thursday to show their support for President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez is currently in Cuba recovering from cancer-related surgery.