Mérida, February 8th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Yesterday Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota met with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro to advance their countries’ bilateral projects. The meeting was the first between the two countries since Dilma Rousseff became president of Brazil on 1 January 2011.
Housing and agriculture projects currently under development between the two governments will be the priority in the new phase of bilateral relations since Rousseff took power, Maduro said, but the two ministers also discussed industry, energy, and border development.
Maduro talked with Patriota about Venezuela’s new Agro Venezuela mission – which aims to increase staple crop production and the amount of land under production as well as promote urban agriculture – and how the Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA) can cooperate with it.
Another joint project that Maduro said is advancing is between Banco de Venezuela and Brazil’s La Caixa Federal. The collaboration aims to popularise banking. Further, one joint project will conclude by the 11th of this month when a fiber optic cable between the two countries reaches Manoas.
Patriota told press he considered the meeting productive and announced that new meetings will take place in the coming weeks to fine tune bilateral relations in the areas of “trade, investment, and housing cooperation, and to support the efforts taken by Venezuela to diversify and develop its agriculture.”
Maduro also said that over the last eight years Venezuela and the previous Brazilian government of Luiz Ignacio ‘Lula’ da Silva “put together a joint vision of our region and of the stellar role that South America, Latin America, and the Caribbean should play in the transformation process for the construction of a new world”.
“Everything that has happened over the last eight years makes us very optimistic about what’s about to take place,” Maduro said.
Dilma is from the same party, the Brazilian Workers’ Party, as Lula. Her opponent in the presidential elections race, Jose Serra, was an outspoken critic of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and it is likely relations between the two countries would have changed had he won.
The presidents of both countries will continue meeting every three months, as they did during the Lula administration.
In December 2009, after two years of debate, the Brazilian senate voted to admit Venezuela to the Common Market of the South Trade Bloc (Mercosur). Now, Venezuela is waiting on the Paraguay parliament to approve its entry. In the meeting yesterday Patriota reaffirmed Brazil’s commitment to continue pushing for Venezuela’s full membership.
Trade between the two countries reached $4.68 billion last year, an increase of 9.52% when compared to the previous year, according to Radio Mundial.