Merida, May 30th, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates signed 19 agreements between their two countries, including the construction of 12,512 houses by the Portuguese company Lena and three factories of premade housing materials, as well as other agreements to strengthen Venezuela’s national production.
The twelve page document containing details of the 19 agreements lists housing as the first one, a modification of a previous agreement made in September 2008.
The second related to Venezuela acquiring 525,000 “school laptops” from Portugal, as part of an ongoing agreement with Portugal and the project Canaima, to provide primary school classrooms with computers for educational use.
The third agreement is for basic cooperation to increase Venezuela’s electricity production, and the fourth to tenth agreements develop on this. They include an electricity plant with two turbogenerators and a capacity of 366 megawatts, one year of training, two mobile turbogenerators of 22.8 megawatts each, the possible acquisition by Venezuela of a range of transformers, and carrying out studies to repair and construct hundreds of kilometres of transmission lines.
Portugal will study the possibility of installing two material laboratories which would serve the electricity sector, and Venezuela is interested in acquiring 300,000 energy meters from Portugal.
The two countries will also work together on a study of wind and solar power potential in Venezuela.
PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, and the company Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo of Portugal signed a contract in agreement 11 to construct two large ships and agreement 19 aims to look at buying a ferry to promote tourism in Venezuela. Chavez explained to press that the ferry would link Caracas with the famous Margarita Island.
Agreements twelve and thirteen relate to cooperation in “food sovereignty and security” especially in terms of exchanging such foods as canned sardines, pasta and cooking oil.
In agreement fourteen, the two countries will investigate construction of a penicillin and other antibiotics factory and fifteen and sixteen are about exchanging experience in protecting “people’s access to goods and services.”
Finally, there are two agreements between Bolivar state in Venezuela and two Portuguese companies to construct two plants, one for ornamental rocks and one for bricks.
Socrates told press, “I’d like to say in the name of my government and all the businesses that are here with me, we reaffirm our readiness to not only fulfil all of the agreements, but also to maintain and continue a relationship with Venezuela.”
“Barely two years ago our commercial relations were very meagre. Portugal exported a range of small goods to Venezuela... in 2009 this amount [of total trade] grew to a level so there was more of an equilibrium between both countries,” Socrates continued.
More specifically, Portugal’s foreign minister, Luis Felipe Amado, said “economic relations” between the two countries had multiplied ten times in three years.
“What was agreed on today is no small thing. The Venezuelan people will appreciate the importance of today and notice the positive impact in the future,” Chavez said.
Venezuela and Portugal have a long standing oil trade agreement as well, and part of this agreement includes such benefits as the batches of mini laptops Portugal has agreed to send Venezuela. Portugal is also one of the countries with a company working with PDVSA to exploit Venezuela’s oil.
Socrates’s visit was his second official visit to Venezuela, the first was in 2008.