May 20th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- Mauricio Funes, the president-elect of
El Salvador, made a formal visit to Venezuela to meet with President Hugo
Chavez on Tuesday. In a meeting that lasted more than five hours, the two
leaders discussed deepening cooperation between the two countries, especially
won El Salvador's presidential elections on March 15th of this year
as a Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) candidate with 51.3% of
the vote, and will become the new president on June 1st. Funes's
victory follows more than twenty years of right-wing government in El Salvador.
critics have said his presidency will be heavily influenced by Venezuela, while
Funes has emphasized that "integration with Central America and strengthening
relations with the United States will be the priority of our foreign policy."
the meeting, the two leaders announced the creation of a bilateral commission
between the two countries to develop projects of cooperation in commerce,
energy, and other economic sectors, and social exchange.
said his government will prioritize the poor, "the vulnerable, the destitute... those
without voice... who need the new government to represent
them," and declared that his country will continue to receive Venezuela's
cooperation to develop health programs and social projects.
also pledged "to keep the promise that we made and that made it possible for us
to triumph in the elections on March 15th, to satisfy social demands
not met for so many years and convert ourselves into a government of hope that
makes changes and transformations that this country needs, possible."
key point of discussion was oil, where the two leaders discussed the
possibility of the El Salvadoran state importing it, rather than mayors.
April 2006 the Venezuelan government signed an agreement with the Inter-Municipal
Association of Energy for El Salvador (ENEPASA), an association of 20 FMLN
mayors, to start a joint company which would provide oil cheaply to El
Salvador. Now, Funes said El Salvador will consider joining the Petrocaribe
program through which Venezuela provides oil at below market prices to
participating Caribbean countries.
also raised the idea of Venezuela buying more of its raw materials. "Venezuela
buys a good part of its agricultural raw materials from Colombia and could
instead buy it from El Salvador," he said.
Chavez, Funes said, "I passionately salute this sentiment of solidarity that
you represent and which for the Salvadoran situation has meant important support
in two fundamental areas. First, with petroleum, to the extent that we are a
country, as are many in Central America, which doesn't have an essential
resource on which to build our economy, like petroleum. Secondly, with health
aid, the cooperation that the noble people of Venezuela have given us through [the
free eye treatment program] Mission Milagro."
said he was visiting Venezuela to "encourage [Chavez] to continue with this
spirit of solidarity because only solidarity and the spirit of Latin American
unity that is behind it, is going to make the transformation of our nations
returned the compliments, saying, "A new historical synthesis of a martyr people
begins with President Funes," he said.
added, "The opportunities to cooperate that already existed are enhanced
because... a long history unites us, but with this new government... the
possibilities expand enormously and they have no other limits than what we want
the last month or so, Funes has been meeting with various governments to
strengthen cooperation and has met with the presidents of Brazil, Mexico,
Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Central American countries.
Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America,
has a per capita GDP of $5,800, and is among the 10 poorest countries of Latin