Caracas, April 21st 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez signed 25 cooperation agreements in agriculture, science and technology, electricity production and other areas in Caracas on Tuesday following Fernandez’s participation in Venezuelan bicentenary independence celebrations on Monday.
“We are very happy with how our bilateral relationship is proceeding,” said Fernandez, “It’s not a client-orientated relation. It’s about a strategic association and the transfer of technology, which is fairer…in South America we can see changes of a new order and new ways of linking countries with each other,” she added.
Under the agreements, Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA and Argentina’s T.A. Gas Technology, Inc. will form a joint venture for the installation of systems for the use of Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for vehicular use, as well as the marketing, manufacturing, assembly and service of compression systems for small-scale trading and manufacturing.
Another Argentine company, GNC Galileo, will form a joint venture with PDVSA to manufacture liquid natural gas compressors for Venezuelan service stations.
A memorandum of understanding was also signed to collaborate on the design and implementation of projects to build new power plants and upgrade existing hydroelectric power plants in Venezuela, which has been suffering power shortages for several months due to a record drought and infrastructure deficiencies.
Part of the cooperation in the realm of electricity generation includes a joint project between Venezuela’s state-owned electricity company, Corpoelec, and Argentina’s Impsa, to build a wind power generation park in the area of the Guajira, Zulia state, with a 25.2 MW capacity.
Also approved was an amendment to a Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement, under which Argentina is assisting Venezuela’s Navy to upgrade existing ports and also build new ports equipped with modern facilities and services in order to meet the needs of current military vessels, and new patrol units and civilian ships.
The creation of a joint stock company called Fluvialba, to construct barges and ships for river transport was also formalised.
Another agreement between Venezuela’s Science & Technology Ministry and Argentine company, Pitini, involves a feasibility study for a water pump assembly plant in the state of Portuguesa.
In the realm of agriculture, deals were signed to construct silos and livestock feed processing plants in Portuguesa state. Venezuela’s Agriculture Ministry and the Argentine company, Almefin, agreed to build food processing plants in the Venezuelan state of Sucre to boost food production in the country, which imports an estimated 70 percent of its food.
An accord for Argentine technical assistance with wine production in Zulia state was also signed. The accord will provide Venezuela with training and technical assistance in integral viniculture, agronomic crop management, and harvesting.
Meeting with Raul Castro
Following the meeting with Fernandez, Chavez met with Cuban President Raul Castro, and later announced the successful negotiations of the Cuba-Venezuela Joint Commission held in Miraflores.
In a televised remarks Chavez discussed the issue of nuclear power, saying it is something that world powers want to monopolize.
He noted that Venezuela is interested in developing atomic research for peaceful purposes, and has not rejected this possibility in the future.
Castro in turn responded saying the Cuban government supports “the right we all have to use nuclear energy,” for peaceful purposes but warned of the risk of nuclear war and called for global nuclear disarmament.
Castro said he was very satisfied with his visit to Venezuela saying, “Relations with our fellow Venezuelans are becoming closer everyday.”
“At this meeting,” he said, “we reviewed economic issues. Of course, we talked about politics, but we focused on the economic map: Investment, technology, opportunities for development, import substitution.”
The two leaders also reviewed the Barrio Adentro free healthcare program whereby thousands of Cuban doctors work in clinics in Venezuela’s poor neighbourhoods, and in exchange Venezuela provides cheap oil to Cuba, as well as increased collaboration in other social and educational programs.