At the end of the meeting with Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro in Brasilia, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that "relations between the two countries have fully resumed," and affirmed that in Venezuela "there is democracy."
"I am happy to meet Maduro again. The resumption of our relations is complete, not only of a commercial nature," Lula said at a press conference Lula explained that he had "discussed a lot with his European social democratic colleagues, explaining that it was absurd that the recognition of the elected president was denied," and instead gave their support to Juan Guaidó.
Lula described the accusations of dictatorship in the country as "narratives." "Maduro knows the narrative they built against Venezuela for so long," the Brazilian president said, recalling the campaign of former Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, who "went around the world explaining to people that he was not as people said he was."
The presidents of Brazil and Venezuela met Monday in Brasilia to seal the normalization of their relations after years of hostility.
Lula said it is a "historic moment" for both countries in a press conference he held with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro after a bilateral meeting held at the Planalto Palace.
Maduro and Lula in Brasilia. Photo Reuters
"After eight years President Maduro returns to visit Brazil and we recover the right to make our foreign policy with the seriousness we always had, especially with the countries that share borders with Brazil," Lula said.
The president attributed to political errors that occurred during the administration of his predecessor, the right-wing Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), the distance between the two countries that conspired against their commercial relations.
The bilateral meeting took place the day before a summit of South American leaders that aims to strengthen regional integration.
President Nicolas Maduro upon arrival in Itamaraty, in Brasilia. Photo Reuters
Maduro stressed for his part that they reestablished "an open and permanent dialogue" and that his country is prepared to resume "virtuous relations" with Brazilian businessmen after the period in which from there "all doors and windows were closed, being neighboring countries."
The two presidents reviewed progress in the process of normalizing bilateral relations that began on Jan. 1 when the Brazilian leftist leader assumed the presidency for the third time, including the reopening of respective embassies and consulates.
Against the U.S.
Lula defended Maduro's populist government from questions from the European Union and the United States.
"The United States has made a very exaggerated blockade (against Venezuela). I always think that a blockade is worse than a war," the Brazilian president said.
"I fought a lot... because for me it was so absurd that people who defend democracy deny you as president of Venezuela, elected by Venezuelans," he said when addressing his guest in Planalto.
According to Lula, prejudice against Venezuela is "very great" and continues to exist.
Both leaders addressed border security, with an emphasis on increasing cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and other crimes.
Maduro said Lula proposed to him to hold a short-term meeting between defense ministers to establish new protocols to protect the population from all types of crime on the border. "We have to resume something that should never have been broken in life."
The Brazilian pointed out in this regard that Unasur already had a mechanism that, in his opinion, was successful. "We need to have our armed forces always united, always working together and always preparing to guarantee the sovereignty of each of our countries."
Both also advocated reviving trade relations.
Bilateral trade reached approximately $1.700 billion in 2022, with Brazilian exports worth about $1.300 billion and imports about $400 million.
Lula stressed that Brazilian companies want to reinvest in the neighboring country and that will be part of a full integration that also includes the recovery of the energy relationship with Venezuela.
In this regard, he said that "our Minister of Energy will speak with the Minister of Energy of Venezuela and I hope that as soon as possible they will summon us" to advance in the purchase of energy from the neighboring country.
Lula also welcomed Maduro's desire for his country to be part of the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Maduro indicated in that sense that Venezuela wants to accompany in "the construction of this new architecture, of this new world geopolitics."
Source: ANSA and AP