During Inauguration Mujica Offers Venezuela / Colombia Mediation

Yesterday Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez attended new Uruguayan president Jose Mujica’s swearing in ceremony, where he congratulated Mujica, talked of Latin American unity and further Venezuela-Uruguayan cooperation, and accepted Mujica’s offer to mediate between Venezuela and Colombia.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com
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Merida, March 2nd, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) –  Yesterday Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez attended new Uruguayan president Jose Mujica’s swearing in ceremony, where he congratulated Mujica, talked of Latin American unity and further Venezuela-Uruguayan cooperation, and accepted Mujica’s offer to mediate between Venezuela and Colombia.

Jose (Pepe) Mujica, of the left wing party Frente Amplio, won the presidential elections in Uruguay in November last year.

“Now with Pepe [Mujica] ... without doubt we’ll have an extraordinary relationship, because it’s a relationship between nation friends, brother nations, and between presidents who, more than just being friends, are brothers. We’re in the same struggle,” Chavez said.

He also used an expression of Simon Rodriguez, mentor to liberator Simon Bolivar, to describe the relationship as a “perfect friendship”, meaning, “triple friendship...that is chemical, spiritual, and thirdly, the friendship of ideas, these three large connections unite us.”

After meeting with Mujica after various ceremonies, Chavez told the press that Uruguay is looking to increase interchange with Venezuela. The Venezuelan government wants to increase its exchange of fish, science and technology, glass, and its importation of quality but low cost tires from Uruguay.

“In the short term, we want to increase our imports, above all food imports; meat, milk, the cheese they produce, oats and wheat,” Chavez said.

“We’re selling to them at half price, compared to what the Venezuelan capitalists sell at,” he added.

The two presidents plan to elaborate on such agreements when Mujica visits Caracas on 30 March, following a visit to Brazil the day before.

Venezuela / Colombian relations

Mujica also offered to mediate between Colombia and Venezuela, following a verbal exchange at the recent Rio Group summit in Mexico and where Chavez reportedly told Colombian president Alvaro Uribe to “go to hell”, and Uribe told him to “be a man”.  It also follows a year of vacillating diplomatic tension between the two countries since Colombia agreed to give the US military access to seven of its bases and has been accusing Venezuela of a range of things, including support for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Chavez welcomed the offer, “It’s never excessive when neighbouring friends help during difficult times. When there are tensions, sometimes caused by personal issues or by exacerbated situations. So Pepe [Mejica]’s intentions are welcome.”

However Chavez did stress that there is no conflict between Colombia and Venezuela, but rather, there are counter-posed ideas that have existed for a long time.

“I wouldn’t talk about conflict between Venezuela and Colombia. There are difficulties...that sometimes are more intense and other times less, but beyond the differences between one person and another and the problems between one current and another, there is one people that have the intelligence to be able to put themselves above such differences.”