Brazil expects Venezuela’s full incorporation to Mercosur to be approved “soon” said Foreign Affairs minister Antonio Patriota during a meeting on Monday in Caracas with his peer Nicolas Maduro in Caracas to reaffirm strong bilateral links.
“My presence here is to reaffirm Brazil’s pledge to strengthen our bilateral relationship” said Patriota adding that Mercosur and Unasur are evidence that “we are working for a common vision of economic and social development, to continue integrating the region”.
The two ministers in a joint press conference underlined that Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Hugo Chavez want to continue with the strong links that in the last eight years “have undergone a formidable thrust”.
They confirmed that during the first quarter the Venezuelan leader would be travelling to Brasilia to meet Ms Rousseff to keep up with the quarterly summit meetings agreed with Lula da Silva
“We are committed to keeping with President Rousseff the same tuning enjoyed with President Lula and continue advancing in such areas as cooperation in housing, agriculture, food, manufacturing and energy”, said Minister Maduro.
He also referred to the telecommunications links with Brazil which will see the launching next February 12 of the optic fibre interconnection between Manaos (Amazon) and Santa Elena (Venezuela) “which will open Internet possibilities for isolated populations”.
“This will help integrate the south of Venezuela with the north of Brazil, but there’s much more to be done”, said Patriota who emphasized the need for Venezuela’s incorporation to Mercosur.
“We expect the definitive approval of Venezuela’s incorporation soon. For decades we have been back to back, but now it’s face to face working for a common economic and social development vision, further integrating the region” emphasized Patriota.
Venezuela’s definitive incorporation to Mercosur has been stalled by the Paraguayan congress.
Rousseff’s predecessor and mentor, President Lula da Silva maintained close ties with Chavez during his eight years as president and saw Brazilian business win contracts in Venezuela. Brazilian companies are participating in infrastructure, petrochemical and oil projects worth 7 billion US dollars over the next five years, according to the Brazilian-Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce in Caracas.
Brazil leapfrogged Colombia last year to become Venezuela’s third-largest trading partner after the US and China. Venezuela’s imports from Brazil totalled 3.5 billion USD, according to Brazil’s Ministry for Development, Industry and Foreign Trade. Imports from Colombia on the other hand dropped top 1.3 billion USD, reported Colombia’s statistics agency.