Raul Castro congratulates Maduro on victory in Venezuela

Cuban President Raul Castro on Monday congratulated Venezuelan acting President Nicolas Maduro on his declared election victory, even though Maduro's rival had not conceded defeat.

In a congratulatory message published in the newspaper Granma, Raul Castro said that Maduro's victory "shows the strength of the ideas and work of Commandante Hugo Chavez," who last month died of cancer.

Late Sunday, Venezuela's National Electoral Council declared Maduro winner of the election to succeed Chavez, saying he had won with 50.66 percent of the vote compared to 49.1 percent for opposition leader Henrique Capriles -- a difference of less than 300,000 votes.

But Capriles has refused to concede defeat and is demanding a recount.