Mérida, July 30th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Government
officials and business executives from Venezuela and Spain met in Caracas this
week to sign contracts for joint oil, gas, and thermoelectricity production,
and to discuss the indemnity payments for the Bank of Venezuela, which
Venezuela nationalized last year. The Venezuelan government also condemned
Wednesday's car bomb attack on the Spanish Civil Guard barracks.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called the meetings with Spanish
Foreign Relations Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos "refreshing," and sent an
"embrace from our homeland" to Spain. Moratinos said the meetings were
"extremely fruitful" and would "strengthen our bilateral relations even further."
Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA, signed an agreement with the
international oil company Repsol-YPF to jointly extract oil from Venezuela's
Orinoco Oil Belt. In addition, the companies signed a letter of intent to form
a mixed enterprise for oil and natural gas exploration.
Also, PDVSA purchased a thermoelectric plant in Barinas state from
Repsol-YPF, and agreed to sell 1.38 million barrels of oil over the next year to be refined by Repsonl-Ypf in Spain and Peru.
With the Spanish construction and engineering firms Iberdrola and
Elecnor, PDVSA signed deals to construct a new, natural gas-powered
thermoelectric plant with the capacity to produce 1,000 megawatts in Cumaná,
Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Nicolas Maduro called the series
of deals "a strategic alliance of the future."
Maduro also announced that a joint commission will be formed by
Venezuelan and Spanish government and business officials to oversee the
indemnity payments to the Spanish Santander Group, which owned Venezuela's
third largest bank, Bank of Venezuela, from the 1990s until it was nationalized
"The creation of this commission demonstrates the willingness of the
Venezuelan government to solve these cases in a satisfactory manner for both parts,"
According to Moratinos, the commission was created because, in the
indemnity payments thus far, "there was an un-satisfactory rhythm for the
The meetings ran from Monday through Wednesday and were dubbed the
First Annual Venezuela-Spain Business Forum. Next year's forum is planned to
take place in Spain.
Bombing in Spain and Coup in
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Venezuelan Foreign Relations
Ministry said it "energetically condemns the terrorist attack perpetrated on
Wednesday, July 29th against the Civil Guard Barracks in Burgos,
Kingdom of Spain."
The car bombing killed two police officers and left more than 60 people
injured. No suspects have been arrested. The government blamed the Basque
nationalist organization ETA, which will mark the 50th anniversary
of its founding this Friday.
"The Venezuelan government deplores this condemnable event and rejects
the use in any way of violence and terrorist actions," the Ministry stated.
Meanwhile, Chavez congratulated the Spanish government for having
condemned the June 28th coup d'etat against Honduran President
Manuel Zelaya, and for having refused to recognize the coup regime that
continues to rule the country by military force.
Chavez also urged the Spanish government and news media to have a
"greater understanding of the process of change that is occurring in Venezuela
and Latin America," which he said is "a continuation of our independence that
was cut short."