Venezuelan Foreign Minister “Very Positive” About Bilateral Talks With Mexico

Talks this week between the Venezuelan and Mexican foreign ministers have ended with both governments pledging to pursue new trade agreements in 2014, as part of efforts to improve bilateral ties.


According to a statement from Mexico’s foreign ministry, Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua and his Mexican counterpart Jose Antonio Meade agreed to “hold a second meeting in 2014 of the Permanent Bi-national Commission and to update the legal framework that guides relations between the two countries”.

According to the Mexican foreign ministry, next year’s talks are intended to lay the groundwork for  “the signing of a trade pact, the creation of systems of cooperation for the promotion and protection of investments and the renewal of the Air Transport Agreement signed in 1987”.

Jaua told Telesur that the new agreements will seek to improve “commercial, tourist, cultural and social cooperation” between the two countries.

Discussion on cooperation between Mexican and Venezuelan public media, the expansion of Venezuela’s Misión Milagro in Mexico and the providing of medical treatment to Mexican children in Caracas’s Children’s Cardiology Hospital may also feature on the agenda.

Jaua also told Mexican media that his meeting with Meade reflected “a feeling of deep affection between the people of Venezuela and the Mexican people”. He described the outcome of this week’s talks as “very positive, very encouraging”.

Among those outcomes is a reaffirmation from Meade that the Mexican government will support  Venezuela’s candidacy for a non-permanent position on the United Nations Security Council in 2015-2016, according to Jaua.

The Venezuelan minister arrived in Mexico City on Monday, and has since indicated that the 2014 meeting will likely occur in the first quarter of next year.

Along with discussing next year’s talks, Jaua also stated that Mexico’s government has pledged to “work together [with Caracas] to strengthen the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States [CELAC]”.

Both Venezuela and Mexico are member states of CELAC, a regional cooperation bloc promoted as an alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS). Unlike the OAS, the United States and Canada are not members of CELAC.

The Mexican foreign ministry said it “pledged to strengthen” CELAC, though it also stated that “significant progress” has already been made towards multilateral cooperation through the bloc.

Venezuelan-Mexican relations “normalized”

Historically, Venezuela and Mexico have generally enjoyed positive relations. However, in 2005 then Mexican president Vicente Fox delivered a speech to the Fourth Summit of the Americas that included seemingly veiled jabs at governments opposed to the Washington backed  Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) proposal.

In the wake of the speech Chavez labeled Fox a “puppy of the empire”, and within days both countries announced they had recalled their respective ambassadors, though neither side declared diplomatic ties severed.

Envoys were again exchanged in 2007, and under current Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto ties between Mexico City and Caracas have continued to improve.

“The Mexican government is ready to continue and further strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two countries,” the Mexican government said in a statement congratulating President Nicolas Maduro’s victory in the 14 April elections earlier this year.

“Venezuela is a systematically important part [of Latin America],” Meade said in June. That same month, Peña rejected rumors that he was considering meeting with Maduro’s rival in the April elections, Henrique Capriles.

“It is clear that Mexico has acknowledged the newly formed government in Venezuela, and we cannot participate in domestic issues,” he stated during a speech in London.

“We normalized relations at the highest level with Mexico,” Jaua stated this week.