Caracas, Venezuela — Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales, fresh from a visit with Fidel Castro, launched a world tour Tuesday by joining with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in a denunciation of free-market economics - a sign of the growing relationship among the three leftist leaders.
Notably, the tour includes stops in Spain, France, Belgium, China and Brazil - but not Washington. Morales' spokesman says he was not invited.
The Venezuelan leader received Morales with full military honors as well as hugs and smiles. Crowds of leftist, pro-government supporters cheered as Morales and Chavez arrived at the National Pantheon in downtown Caracas, then headed to a private meeting at Miraflores Palace.
Morales is on the first leg of a trip apparently meant to explore the future of Bolivia's vast natural gas holdings - the second largest in South America - which the president-elect says he wants to nationalize.