On Sunday President Hugo Chavez began his short tour of Latin America which includes stops in Brazil, Ecuador, and Cuba. On Monday he met with President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, Brazil, to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking to press from an air base in Brasilia, Chavez said that during his meeting with Rousseff they discussed financing, public works, energy, and food cooperation.
“Now there’s a very big group of projects, programs, and possibilities,” he said.
“We’ve been forming this strategic alliance since [Luiz Inacio] Lula [da Silva] became the president of Brazil [in 2003] and we’ve strengthened it with Dilma [Rousseff],”he said.
The 14 concrete agreements the two countries signed included financing for the National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES), the construction of a petroleum boat ship yard in Venezuela’s Sucre state, as well as financing of the private sector.
Venezuela and Brazil also signed an agreement to strengthen Venezuela’s housing mission. The agreement aims to strengthen exchange and “economic complementation” with productive sectors in Brazil. Brazil is considered an expert country in construction and has important machinery and primary material suppliers.
The two presidents also signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the Instituto de Pesquisa Economica Aplicada (the Institute of Economic Applied Investigation- Ipea) and Brazil’s Caixa Economica Federal.
The MOU aims to study “integral planning” in Venezuela’s Orinoco Oil Belt. Brazilian advisers will help put together a project “for the social, economic, urban, and housing development of the region”.
Chavez said the priority in the current global context, where “imperialist governments are promoting invasions and wars” was to “consolidate our Latin America and South America as a peace zone, because we don’t want any more wars, nor invasions, nor bombing, nor coup d’états.”
Rousseff agreed, saying, “Our countries are connected and we want to achieve a zone of peace, democracy, cooperation, and economic growth in the region. Venezuela can be assured that Brazil will stand by it in the struggle for integration and the creation of harmonious cooperation”.
According to Rousseff, Venezuela increased its exports to Brazil by 43% last year. Both countries have maintained a strategic association treaty since 2005, and are currently negotiating around thirty new agreements.