Brazil and Venezuela: South American Giants Tighten Ties

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff in the capital of Caracas last Thursday 1 December for an encounter that saw the signing of 11 new bilateral accords in areas ranging from science and technology to housing and energy.


The meeting was Rousseff’s first official visit to Venezuela since being sworn in as Brazilian President on January 1 and took place before the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit began in Caracas on Friday afternoon.

“Brazil and Venezuela are on a new level of building a different kind of integration, an integration that is productive and that carries economic growth for the people. It’s not a process of exploitation of one country over another”, Rousseff said of the two nations’ growing relationship on Thursday.

Key among the pacts signed last week was the commitment on behalf of Venezuela’s state owned airline, Conviasa, to acquire 20 new planes from the Brazilian company Embraer as well as the collaboration of Brazil’s Central Bank, the Caixa, in Venezuela’s massive new public housing initiative.

With respect to energy, both governments agreed to form a mixed company between a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company Pdvsa and the Brazilian company Odebrecht as well as work to boost the capacity of Venezuela’s current electricity output.

During their meeting, the two heads of state also revised the progress of an earlier agricultural accord that has led to the cultivation more than 7,000 hectares (17,000 acres) of land in the central Venezuelan state of Anzoategui.

Via satellite, Chavez and Rousseff were introduced to the advances made by the Socialist Agrarian Project “Jose Ignacio Abreu e Lima” which has received training and support for soy cultivation by the company Odebrecht.

 “To date, we have an agroindustrial complex made up of silos that have the capacity for 10,000 tons each. Thanks to the integration of both countries, we’re utilizing advanced technology for the storing and reception of legumes”, said Venezuela’s Vice Minister for Rural Development Danixce Aponte from the state of Anzoategui.

Impressed by the progress of the agricultural center, Rousseff referred to the initiative as “an example of the what we can do together”, citing Venezuela’s potential as an international agricultural producer. “Venezuela will be transformed into one of the providers of seeds for the world and this is one of the characteristics of South American countries in terms of agriculture”, the native of Belo Horizonte said.

For President Chavez, the gains made in Anzoategui as well as others made by collaborative projects with Brazil are the direct result of the integrationist policies that have existed between the two countries since the 8-year presidency of Rousseff’s predecessor, Lula da Silva

“Without a doubt, we’ve accomplished a million things in this decade. In the next one, we have a million things more to do and we’ll do it!” Chavez exclaimed.

Officials report that commercial activity between Brazil and Venezuela in the first 10 months of 2011 has grown by more than 20 percent in relation to the same period last year. Between January and October, Brazilian imports to Venezuela reached $3.5 billion, a 14 percent increase, while exports from the OPEC member to South America’s largest economy reached $1 billion, a 48.2 percent increase.