Venezuela’s Chavez and Bolivia’s Morales Sign 8 Agreements

The Presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia signed eight cooperation agreements, involving oil for food trade and assistance in the development of Bolivia's natural gas reserves. The two countries also committed themselves to fight imperialism and capitalism.

Caracas, Venezuela, 24 January 2006 – New Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have confirmed eight agreements to create greater co-operation between the two countries. Chavez said the two governments are united in a, "battle against neoliberalism, against capitalism."

The areas that Venezuela and Bolivia have agreed to act on include health and education as well as energy and agriculture. The agreements were finalised yesterday in the Government Palace in La Paz, Bolivia.

The general framework for these agreements were first made when Morales went to Caracas last month after winning the Bolivian presidential election. In return, Chavez went to Bolivia on Sunday for Morales’ confirmation as Bolivian President.

The most important of the deals is for an exchange of Bolivian foodstuffs for Venezuelan oil. Chavez has agreed to send as much as 200,000 barrels of diesel a month to Bolivia.

The Venezuelan Energy Minister, Rafael Ramirez, said this oil can be paid for by agricultural products. On top of this, Venezuela said it will use money to buy 200,000 tons of soy and 20,000 tons of chicken more a year than it currently does.

Bolivia has also accepted Venezuelan assistance with energy development. Chavez said that PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company will be available to advise Bolivia on energy policy.

Broadly anti-capitalist, Morales has said before that, Bolivia, "needs partners, not bosses." The Bolivian President is expected to follow Venezuela’s lead by making the state the dominant actor in the Bolivian energy sector.

Morales said that his victory in Bolivia was also, "a triumph for the Venezuelan people." Morales thanked Chavez for his help saying, "with your political decision to support us, we will strengthen democracy and we are going to liberate the countries of the Americas."

Both Presidents said that the need to promote Latin American Integration was vital. Chavez said the agreements would begin, "a new time of integration and relations between our peoples" Chavez also said the continent is ready to throw off a history of, "poverty, domination, exploitation and colonialism."

An alliance was needed to maintain both nations’ independence, "from any agression," the Presidents agreed. Once again, Chavez said that the US wanted to invade Venezuela for its oil and gas reserves.

Chavez warned that any such attack by the forces of , "capitalism and its ideologues," would only mean doom for them. The Venezuelan President said that socialism is a better system and, "Imperialism will end up being a paper tiger, and we, tigers of steel."