Caracas, September 9th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com)
– During an eleven-day tour of Eurasia, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
promoted the transformation of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) into a
cartel similar to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Chavez
said the aim of his tour was to counter U.S. economic and political dominance
and promote a multi-polar world.
The GECF, which groups Algeria, Bolivia, Brunei,
Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia,
Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela, was created as a
formal organisation to coordinate gas policy between member countries during a
meeting hosted by Russia last December.
Chavez, who arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for a two
day visit, is expected to call for the GFEC to operate more along the lines of
OPEC, where member countries meet regularly to set production quotas in order
to influence the price of crude oil on global markets.
"We are creating something similar to OPEC but
with gas," Chavez told Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, as he
invited him to join the fledgling organisation during a visit to Ashgabat, the
capital of Turkmenistan, on Monday.
Together Russia, Iran and Qatar account for an
estimated 60 percent of the world's gas supplies, while Turkmenistan holds the
biggest reserves in Central Asia and Venezuela holds the largest reserves in Latin
Venezuela and Russia are expected to sign a memorandum
of understanding on long-term cooperation in developing Venezuela's Orinoco Oil
Belt, as well as a deal on the mutual protection of intellectual property
rights in military cooperation and one covering personnel training and military
During a speech to students at the Russian University
of Friendship Between Peoples in Moscow, Chavez argued it is necessary for the
peoples of the world to liberate themselves from U.S. imperialism.
"Today it is more necessary than ever to say,
‘Socialism or barbarism,' because if we don't bring down the political,
economic and military hegemony that the U.S empire wants to impose on the world,
we will go towards barbarism," said Chavez, recalling the words of German
revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.
"The world today is left with one great empire, Yankee
imperialism, that will fall and disappear from the face of the earth, and
that's going to happen in this century," said Chavez. "The creation of a
multi-polar world is evolving… the 21st Century will not be formed
by great power blocs… the world today is neither bi-polar nor uni-polar" as in
the 20th Century, he concluded
Chavez's visit to Russia comes just after a stay in
Minsk, Belarus, where he met with Belarussian President Alexander Lukasehnko to
strengthen trade ties and bilateral relations. A high level Venezuelan
ministerial delegation signed 70 new cooperation agreements mainly concentrated
in areas of industrial and technological exchange, energy and communications,
as well as food, education and housing.
Venezuela's ambassador to Belarus, Américo Díaz Nuñez,
said the agreements would be financed through a $5 billion bi-national fund
that may be increased to strengthen the development and implementation of the
Chavez's tour also included a visit to the Maz truck
factory in Minsk. One of the principle agreements between Venezuela and Belarus
is the formation of a joint company, Mazven, and a plan to construct two
factories to build trucks and tractors in the Venezuelan state of Barinas.
Construction of the factories will commence in mid 2010, Díaz Nuñez said.
Mazven President Semidan Domínguez, who accompanied
Chavez, said initially 30% of the truck parts would be produced in Venezuela,
while 70% would be imported from Belarus. However, he said the deal involves
techonolgy transfer and aims that by 2013 at least 50% of the parts would be
produced in Venezuela. Mazven will have an initial production target of 5000
units annually, Domínguez added.
In the housing sector an agreement for a housing
development consisting of 5,000 dwellings in Maracay, Aragua is in "Phase
1" with an initial 2,160 houses under construction, Díaz Nuñez said.
Chavez also paid a two day visit Tehran on Saturday
and Sunday, where he met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme
Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Chavez called for the formation of an anti-imperialist
bloc of countries, and signed an $800 million deal to export 20,000 barrels of
oil a day to Iran as well as an agreement to import machinery and technology
from Iran. Venezuelan and Iran also signed three cooperation agreements in the
fields of medicine, oil and trade.
Chavez's tour has also included stays in Libya,
Algeria and Syria, as well as an appearance at the Venice Film Festival where
he attended the premiere of Oliver Stone's new film, "South of the Border," and
met with U.S. documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. The tour will wrap up in
Spain on Friday where Chavez will meet with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis
Rodriguez Zapatero at Madrid's Moncloa Palace.