Mérida, August 29, 208 (venezuelanalysis.com)– Advocating South American integration, President Hugo Chávez oversaw the signing of contracts with Argentine firms to construct “Socialist Factories” in Venezuela on Thursday and inaugurated joint oil exploitation in the Orinoco River Belt with Ecuador on Friday.
At a press conference with Argentine officials Thursday, Chávez pledged that “Venezuela will always be there to defend the interests of our peoples.”
To boost Venezuela’s steel and construction industries, the public industrial supplies company SUVINCA signed a $4.76 million contract with the Argentine firm IVANAR to supply Venezuela with materials to produce metal tubing and construct storage facilities, fences, and houses.
At a ceremony in Venezuela’s presidential palace, SUVINCA President Jesús Zambrano also signed contracts to build factories in Venezuela to produce medium-powered motors, such as those in water pumps, and industrial painting technology.
To help increase food production in Venezuela, SUVINCA signed contracts worth more than $50 million to construct agricultural machinery factories, vegetable and cereal processing plants, industrial slaughterhouses, and large scale refrigeration facilities.
Chávez explained that the contracts will fulfill 10% of the 200 “Socialist Factories” the administration pledged to build with Argentine financing and technology transfer last June.
SUVINCA, an autonomous public company, was founded in 2006 when President Chávez initiated his administration’s plans to build up Venezuela’s non-petroleum industries in cooperation with other South American nations.
“In Venezuela, we are advancing a national development project, which we are bringing closer to that of the government of Argentina,” Chávez declared Thursday.
Ecuador and Venezuela
Friday morning, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa joined President Chávez in the Orinoco River Belt to formally begin the extraction of oil by the Ecuadorian state oil company, PETROECUADOR, and Venezuela’s PDVSA.
President Correa said the two state oil companies share the goal of promoting the social good, rather than generating profits for the few. “Those who command our democracies are the people and the people have said enough with the oligarchy. Another America is possible and we are lifting it up,” he declared Friday.
In the Orinoco Oil Belt PDVSA has formed mixed enterprises, maintaining at least 60% control, with oil companies from Brazil, Belarus, Malaysia, Uruguay, Argentina, China, Russia, India, Iran, Paraguay, and Ecuador to exploit what the Venezuelan government says is the world’s largest reserve of oil, estimated at over 235 billion barrels of oil.
President Chávez also announced Friday that Venezuela’s petro-chemical company PEQUIVEN will build new factories across the country to expand production of polypropylene-based synthetic wood and PVC pipe to be used for home construction, and phosphorous and urea fertilizers to increase food production.
These products will be offered to other Latin American countries at a 15% lower price than the prices set by private companies, Chávez assured. “We now have the goal of increasing our production of fertilizers to cover the demand inside and outside of our countries,” he emphasized.
“A revolution is on the march in South America,” Chávez declared alongside President Correa. “We cannot lose any time, or else the conservative forces within us will win.”
As part of the increased energy cooperation between Ecuador and Venezuela, Correa and Chávez launched the construction of a joint oil refinery with a 300,000 barrel per day capacity in Manta, Ecuador last July.
Argentina and Venezuela signed accords to exchange Venezuelan oil for Argentine food earlier this year, and Venezuela has bought several billion dollars worth of Argentine foreign debt over the past three years.
Chávez said Thursday that the region’s drive toward integration does not include intervention. “We will never interfere in the internal affairs of Argentina and vice versa, we are only joining efforts to smooth out the asymmetries that were there before,” he told the press.