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Brazil Backs Venezuela's Maduro

Mérida, May 10th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro has wrapped up his tour of the Southern Cone after receiving support from South America's largest economy, Brazil.

Following a meeting in Brasilia yesterday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff wished Maduro “great success”, and called for greater cooperation between the two nations.

As well as signing new agreements to bolster military cooperation, the two leaders also agreed to expand agricultural and hydrocarbon trade.

Maduro also announced that Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht will construct a carbamide plant in Venezuela. As a source of nitrogen, carbamide is often used in fertilisers, though it also has a number of other commercial and scientific applications. The Venezuelan plant is expected to produce 1.5 tonnes of carbamide each year.

During his visit to Brazil, Maduro also met with the country's former leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula was a supporter of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and openly backed Maduro's bid for office in the lead up to the 14 April elections.

Maduro then visited the University of Brasilia, where he met with leaders of some of Brazil's progressive social movements at the Darcy Ribeiro Memorial Center.

Maduro's visit to Brazil concluded his tour of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) member states, during which he received support from heads of Uruguay and Argentina. The only Mercosur nation not visited by Maduro was Paraguay, which was suspended from the trade bloc following a coup last June.

His tour was met with some criticism from opposition groups in all three countries. In Brasilia, four people protested outside the presidential palace; one held a placard labelling Maduro as an “illegitimate president”.

Venezuela is set to take over Mercosur's rotating presidency next month with support from most of the region. As the newest member of Mercosur, Maduro's tour of the Southern Cone was dominated by talks of greater economic integration.

On Thursday, Maduro also talked up Mercosur, likening the objectives of the trade bloc to the ideals of the 19th Century South American liberator, Simon Bolivar. He described “Mercosur's future aim” to become “a powerful common economic zone, with shared profits, where differences are respected,” as reminiscent of Bolivar's call for a unified continent.

The Venezuelan president also highlighted the contribution his nation can make to the trade bloc, saying on Thursday, “we are a powerful market, a country with a developing economic potential.”

Published on May 10th 2013 at 11.15am