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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Venezuela and Ecuador Deepen Latin American Integration with Bilateral Agreements

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa in Independencia Square, Quito (Presidencia del Ecuador)

Mérida, May 26th 2009 ( - Over the weekend Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez visited President Rafael Correa in Ecuador to review various bilateral agreements. In what was their fifth meeting, the two presidents discussed the creation of a Latin American Human Rights Commission, and also discussed joint oil exploration, food sovereignty, tourism, and mining initiatives.

In a press conference, Chavez and Correa proposed the creation of a Human Rights and Freedom of Expression Commission in the South American Union of Nations (UNASUR) to overcome what Chavez called the "manipulation by United States imperialism" of existing institutions.

The Chavez administration has been very critical of what it says is malicious and politically biased criticism by US-based human rights organisations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Correa added that stronger laws are necessary to combat the power of the private media. He said he would propose the creation of legal avenues that would defend citizens against what such media shows.

The presidents also observed the beginning of drilling on the island of Puna in the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador, to search for hydrocarbons. The search is being carried out by Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA.

According to the Venezuela-Ecuador agreement, if they find hydrocarbons at a depth of less than 3 meters the two countries will create a joint company to extract the fuel. Venezuelan government press stated that the project on Puna Island will also contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of local inhabitants through social development projects, including health and education.

The two presidents also signed a memorandum of understanding to create a system of compensation between their countries as a kind of trade integration treaty to work out the settlement of payment transactions.

The tourism ministers from both countries agreed on a schedule of cooperation which would see their ministries exchanging information about the tourist destinations in each country. They plan to combine these destinations into a tourist trip covering Simon Bolivar's route in the battle for independence. Simon Bolivar is revered as an independence leader in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Bolivia.

Venezuela and Ecuador also want to deepen agricultural cooperation with specific projects to generate and diffuse food production technology in order to guarantee food security and sovereignty to their peoples.

The two administrations want to help each other's countries to change to sustainable agriculture through the exchange of biological supplies, technical cooperation in producing and processing cacao, education and technology transference.

Further, Chavez and Correa signed a new series of documents for cooperation in production, trade, and increased mutual support for mining infrastructure, as well as the creation of a bi-national fund.

On Sunday Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, joined Correa and Chavez in celebrating 187 years since the Battle of Pichincha. This battle took place on a slope of a volcano next to Quito, Ecuador's capital, and was a key victory in the struggle for Ecuador's independence.

Correa said, "We [Latin American countries] have a common past and our common destiny is unavoidable. The vast majority of Latin American leaders are fighting for this Latin American integration."

1 comment:

  1. Ecuador is a very diverse country. The weather, the colonial cities and the people are just fantastic. Nothing compares to the landscapes of the Highlands, the lush of the Amazon Jungle Forest, the exotic Beaches of the Coast and the mystery of the Galapagos Islands.