Lula and Maduro talk about ties in a “new era”

The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, received his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, with honors in Brasilia yesterday, and together they announced the beginning of a “new era” in the relationship between their countries and at the regional level.

“Venezuela has always been an exceptional partner for Brazil. But due to political contingencies and misunderstandings, President Maduro spent eight years without coming to Brazil,” Lula said at a press conference after a meeting at the Planalto palace, seat of the presidency.

Maduro, who had last visited Brazil in 2015, arrived in the Brazilian capital on Sunday to participate in a meeting on Tuesday with the other leaders of South America, called by Lula.

“It is the beginning of Maduro’s return” to the regional level, and the meeting with the other leaders will be “the return of the integration of South America,” Lula added, defining the moment as “historic.”

“New Relationships”

“Today a new era opens in the relations between our countries,” said the Venezuelan leader at his side.

“Venezuela is prepared for us to resume virtuous relations with Brazilian investors and businessmen,” Maduro added.

Lula, who returned to power in January for a third term, resumed diplomatic ties with the Maduro government, which had been ignored by the far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022).

“Comrade Maduro, you know the narrative that was built against Venezuela: that of anti-democracy, of authoritarianism. It is up to Venezuela to show its (own) narrative, so that people can effectively change their minds,” Lula defended.

Brazil and Venezuela seek to “rescue cooperation” in sectors such as “energy, environment, agriculture and industry,” reported Planalto.

private meeting

The leaders first held a private meeting, and then a meeting with some of their ministers and the two first ladies, Janja Lula da Silva and Cilia Flores de Maduro.

In the afternoon they participated in a lunch at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry, the Itamaraty Palace.

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criticism of Guaidó

Brazil and Venezuela broke relations in 2019 when the government of Jair Bolsonaro recognized the opposition Juan Guaidó as interim president.

Lula announced the return of a “full” relationship with the Maduro administration, said that international sanctions against Venezuela are “inexplicable” and criticized the position of European countries and the United States to support Guaidó.

“How could a continent that managed to exercise democracy as fully as when it created the European Union accept the idea of ​​an impostor being president (only) because they did not like the president who was elected?” Lula said.

“I hope that never again in the history of Brazil will we have to break a relationship out of ignorance,” he added.

Maduro, in power since 2013, blames the international blockades for the economic crisis that the flagging oil power is experiencing.

The opposition denounces fraud in the 2018 presidential elections and lack of guarantees to participate in next year’s elections.

Lula summoned the rulers of South America for a meeting on Tuesday that he defined as “retirement” and in which he will seek to reactivate the integration of a region with ideological breakdowns and internal crises.

With the exception of the Peruvian president, Dina Boluarte, all the leaders, a dozen, confirmed attendance at the first regional meeting of the highest level in almost a decade.

Without a pre-established agenda and with a reduced format -only the presidents, their foreign ministers and some advisers will be in the room-, the idea of ​​the meeting proposed by Lula is that the countries can frankly discuss common problems.

Among the objectives is to agree on a cooperation agenda on issues such as health, infrastructure, energy, the environment and combating organized crime; and find a way for a new South American integration mechanism.

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