Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was received with honors in Brasilia, where he was able to talk with his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, about the sanctions imposed by the US and Europe on Venezuela, the restart of their relations bilateral agreements and shared regional integration plans in South America.
The leaders held a private meeting at the Planalto presidential palace, in a meeting that ‘Lula’ described as “historic”, after he himself lifted the ban on Nicolas Maduro’s entry into Brazilian territory, a sanction imposed in 2019 by the former president far-right Jair Bolsonaro.
“It is hard to believe that so many years have gone by without dialogue with a neighbor with whom we share the Amazon region,” said the Brazilian president at a joint press conference with his Venezuelan counterpart.
‘Lula’ also took advantage of the forum to criticize the US sanctions against the Maduro government, calling them “extremely exaggerated.” In addition, he assured that the recognition of the Venezuelan opponent Juan Guaido as president by some countries “had helped little to improve the lives of Venezuelans.”
We are living a historic moment. After 8 years, or president @NicolasMaduro He visited Brazil again and we recovered right from doing international relations policy as seriously as we always take, especially with the countries that border Brazil.
– Lula (@LulaOficial) May 29, 2023
“I told the Europeans that I did not understand that a continent that exercised democracy as fully as Europe could support the idea that the impostor was the president,” said ‘Lula’, alluding to Guaido.
Although the Brazilian president stressed that it is “absurd” to deny that Maduro is the legitimate president of Venezuela, he warned that transparency in the 2024 presidential elections in the South American country will depend on the successor to Hugo Chavez.
“It is in their hands for Venezuela to make its own narrative and to return to being a sovereign country, where only its people, through a free vote, say who should govern. And then our adversaries are going to have to apologize for the havoc what they have done”, declared the Brazilian head of state.
“A fraternal and supportive South America”
Both presidents were emphatic in their commitment to regional integration in South America. The Brazilian president showed his concern for the little economic and social development that has existed in the region, and mentioned that “no one is going to be able to solve this situation alone.”
Due to the above, ‘Lula’ defended the idea of forming a regional bloc to “negotiate with more power, more strength and more possibility of winning.” Maduro supported the intentions of the Brazilian president, declaring that Venezuela “is ready to participate in the construction of a new fraternal and supportive South America.”
On the other hand, Maduro stressed his country’s intentions to become a member of the BRICS, an association of which Brazil is a part, along with Russia, India, China and South Africa. In response, ‘Lula’ assured that he would support its membership, although the final approval depends on a joint decision of the entire bloc.
South American integration on the ashes of Unasur
The visit of the Venezuelan president to the Brazilian capital takes place on the eve of a regional summit organized by ‘Lula’ who, in turn, invited all the leaders of the other eleven countries that make up the region.
The South American leaders are expected to discuss the possible creation of a regional cooperation bloc similar to what Unasur meant, an interstate organization created in 2008 by the leftist presidents who made up the so-called ‘pink tide’: Hugo Chavez, Cristina Kirchner and the own ‘Lula’.
Unasur was possibly the most ambitious regional cooperation project proposed by heads of state in the region. However, with the shift to the right that existed in South America in the middle of the last decade, the project was shelved.
Now, with a new wave of leftist leaders in countries like Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela, regional integration could take hold, and an ambitious project to form an economic and political bloc could be closer.
With Reuters, EFE and local media
Source: France 24