Caracas November 25
The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, consolidated today in Caracas a relationship that the host leader characterized as "exemplary," with new accords and speeches in defense of their cooperation and against the United States.
In a signing ceremony on cooperation projects in Miraflores Palace, both heads of state agreed that "accusations of violence" against them are a "joke," before stating that their collaboration is for the purpose of "building life," and denouncing Washington's responsibility for conflicts and crisis situations in the world.
"In truth it seems a joke that they accuse us of violence," declared Chavez, echoing words pronounced shortly before by his Iranian colleague.
Both responded to the State Department spokesperson, Ian Kelly, who said that he hoped that Caracas would emphasize to Ahmadinejad "the concerns that the international community have about his nuclear program, his alleged support for terrorism, and the status of Iranian human rights."
The Iranian president said that the real worries are about "nuclear and chemical arsenals" and repeated "threats of military invasion," in reference to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chavez, for his part, emphasized that if Washington wants to be consistent it should extradite the "father of terrorists of this continent," Luis Posada Carriles.
"We remind the Nobel peace prize winner (Barack Obama) that he has there (in the U.S.) the terrorist that ordered the bomb that killed 73 passengers be placed aboard the Cuban airliner, a man that also tortured and killed when he was in Venezuela," said Chavez with respect to Carriles.
During the more than three hours that the ceremony lasted both presidents repeatedly denounced those who "attack" them, in clear allusion to the United States, which they referred to as the "yankee empire," and they stated that the collaboration of their countries is in "service to the people."
The "arrogant ones" initiated "their propaganda against Venezuela and Iran, but the whole world is seeing that the objective (of the cooperation) is the welfare of the peoples," declared Ahmadinejad, who cited (as evidence) construction projects for houses, refineries, and hospitals, as well as research studies.
In the ceremony at Miraflores, which concluded at around 10:00 p.m. local time, both leaders presided over the signing of twelve agreements in the areas of energy, transportation, and housing, among others, after holding a meeting behind closed doors for more than three hours.
Chavez indicated that 129 agreements of bilateral cooperation already exist and that another 68 have been considered in recent weeks.
The Venezuelan president stated that the inspection of those agreements has been very satisfactory and that those programs aimed at "consolidating" the "political, cultural, scientific, and economic independence" of the two countries are "showing results."
During the ceremony, the presidents followed live broadcasts in order to witness the handing over of homes constructed with Iranian cooperation, and the inauguration of the headquarters of a bilateral fund in Caracas aimed at financing the joint projects.
It is anticipated that the fund will have a billion dollars in capital before the end of 2010, supported in equal parts by both countries.
Ahmadinejad, who arrived Tuesday night to Venezuela, showed up for his appointment with Chavez in the presidential palace at around 3:15 p.m. local time, on this his fourth visit to Caracas since he came to power in 2005.
The Venezuelan leader gave him a warm welcome, calling him not only "brother," but also "gladiator of anti-imperialist struggles," in the reception ceremony on the steps of the presidential palace.
"The homeland of (Simon) Bolivar welcomes you and your wife," declared Chavez, who expressed his satisfaction with the present South American tour of the Iranian leader, which has taken him to Brazil and Bolivia as well.
The Venezuelan leader, whose country has not maintained relations with Israel since this past January, denounced that country as the "assassination arm of the empire" upon referring to it.
Chavez reiterated his criticisms of his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, for having stated that he and Ahmadinejad "will soon disappear," saying he took it as a "threat" and would act "accordingly."
The visit of the Iranian president, who is expected to leave Caracas this evening, has provoked various protest actions in Venezuela, where groups of students and political opponents have expressed their rejection of the presence of the Iranian leader, whom they accuse of being a "dictator" and of discriminating against women.
Source: "Chavez y Ahmadinejad sellan cooperación con acuerdos y discursos contra EEUU" Univision en línea, 25 de noviembre de 2009 (Translation by Michael K. Smith)