HAVANA (AP) _ Vice President Carlos Lage and other high-ranking leaders on Friday greeted nearly 4,000 foreigners gathered to show their support of Cuba's government and people.

Along with Lage, National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque attended the World Encounter of Friendship and Solidarity With Cuba _ an indication of the importance Cuba's communist government gave the event.

Flags from countries around the world decorated the auditorium of Havana's Karl Marx Theater for the gathering that opened Friday and runs through Tuesday.

Participants came from about 120 countries and included the Rev. Lucius Walker of the U.S. group Pastors for Peace; Puerto Rican nationalist Rafael Cancel; and leftist theologian Frei Betto of Brazil.