Castro voices 'absolute confidence' in Venezuela's Maduro

President Raul Castro expressed "absolute confidence" in Hugo Chavez's successors, after returning home from the leftist leader's funeral in Caracas, the Cuban press reported Sunday.

Chavez was a close ally of communist-ruled Cuba and his death Tuesday at age 58 of cancer was a major blow to Havana, which for more than a decade has relied heavily on cheap Venezuelan oil and favorable terms of trade to keep its economy afloat.

Venezuela has announced it will hold elections in 30 days with Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's handpicked successor and now interim president, who is expected to face off against businessman Henrique Capriles.

Capriles, who is also the governor of Miranda state, was defeated by Chavez in October's presidential election.

"We return satisfied to see how Chavez's great work is being continued and the gigantic support of the people," Castro was quoted as saying.

"I am sure, and have absolute confidence, in the success President Maduro and the other leaders who have come up under Chavez will have," he said.

Castro and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez attended Chavez's funeral Friday in Caracas, where leaders from around Latin America joined in a huge send-off for the late Venezuelan president.