Mérida, January 22, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- After visiting Cuba on Tuesday, President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina arrived in Venezuela last night and met with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to discuss widening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Chavez welcomed Kirchner, saying, "The children of Bolivar [independence leader of northern South America] give our most fervent welcome to the children of San Martin [leader of the liberation struggle in southern South America]."
The two governments signed 21 new cooperation agreements. The two leaders also agreed to meet once every three months, alternating meetings in Venezuela and in Argentina, in order to review progress with these and other agreements.
Many of the agreements revolved around industrial and agricultural cooperation, such as the creation of a cooperation fund for industrial development, as well as the development of production chains for aluminum. Another one involved cooperation between the Venezuelan Agrarian Corporation, and the Argentinean National Institute of Industrial technology.
Energy was a main feature of the discussion, and the two countries agreed to conduct a joint study between Venezuela Petroleum S.A. (PDVSA) and Argentina's National Energy Company (Enarsa).
The two governments also signed an agreement to cooperate around the prevention of drug trafficking and related crimes, as well as other agreements around transport, food, health, science, culture, communal economy, land transport, civil aviation, human resources, and sport.
In the official statement signed by both governments, they said that they were satisfied with "the efforts carried out by both governments in the development of policies orientated to struggling against poverty, achieving social inclusion, and the development of our peoples...and [we reiterate] our commitment to continue working together."
The Argentinean government thanked Venezuela for 51,000 doses of yellow fever vaccination, and both countries agreed they needed to improve their response to the issue of global warming and affirmed their commitment to the efforts of the international community to front the humanitarian situation in the Gaza strip.
The visit to Venezuela was Kirchner's second. She last visited Venezuela in March 2008, when the two presidents signed various bilateral agreements to deepen the process of energy, agricultural and technology transference, guided by the principle of economic complementarity.
While Argentina needs energy resources and Venezuela has an abundance of oil, Argentina has knowledge resources and equipment, as well as agricultural and livestock resources that are beneficial to Venezuela.
According to Kirchner, the technology transfer agreement signed in 2008 has so far seen 73 of the 200 planned socialist companies constructed and of those 73, half will be ready to operate this year.
Chavez highlighted the success of the Socialist Productive Technical Centre Antonio Nicolas Briceno in Trujillo state where an Argentine-Dutch herd is being managed in order to improve the genetic stock of Venezuelan cattle.
He said that while the joint efforts between the two countries had "started to bloom," it was necessary to accelerate the scheme for regional integration between Venezuela and Argentina.
According to the Venezuelan ministry of Communications and Information, commercial exchange between Venezuela and Argentina grew by 47.3% in 2007 and reached just over $1 billion in 2008.