Venezuela's ties with Africa
At the third Summit Africa - South America (ASA),held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, 63 countries participated, including Venezuela, which was represented by the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Elías Jaua. He read a letter written by President Hugo Chávez to the ASA members in Malaba. The Venezuelan President highlighted the ties between both continents, "in our continents, enough historic, political and natural resources are found to save the whole planet."
by Olivia Kroth
Sources: Blog Reinaldo Bolívar, Correo del Orinoco, Patria Grande, TeleSUR, Venezuelanalysis
He reminded all members that Africa and South America share common roots and must cooperate closely to build a multi-polar world. Hugo Chávez also warned African leaders that more military interventions by the ex-imperialists and neo-colonialists will very likely occur, pointing out the fate of the Jamahiriya and Mali.
President Chávez wrote that the malicious exploiters want to enrich themselves at the cost of Africans by taking away their natural resources and waging wars on those that are not willing to comply. He urged African leaders to speed up the process of unification and to reject all interventionist activities by NATO.
"Unfortunately, since the last ASA Summit on the Island of Margarita in Venezuela (2009), the African continent has been the victim of multiple bellicose interventions and violent attacks by NATO countries. The ex-imperialists' bombardments of various African countries had the objective to hinder the process of consolidation and unification between African nations and, consequently, to undermine the union of African peoples with those of the Latin American and Caribbean region," the Venezuelan President wrote.
At the end of his letter, Hugo Chávez expressed his "fraternal love for all African brothers, who share the same anti-colonial, anti-imperialist ideals." He asked them to "march together until all of our aims will be accomplished." The letter was signed with the sentence, "Viviremos y venceremos." We will live and we will win.
On his blog, Reinaldo José Bolívar, a Venezuelan professor and Vice-President of Foreign Affairs for Africa, presents some interesting thoughts about the common roots and projects of African countries and Venezuela. He was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Institute of Strategic Investigations on Africa and its diaspora, the "Centre of African Knowledge" in Venezuela.
At this institute, Venezuela's "African-ness" is being researched, i.e. the history of Venezuela's Afro-descendants, their culture, living circumstances and prospects for the future. The institute also offers workshops on such diverse topics as Afro-Venezuelan food and medicine, the use of tropical plants, or building houses in African style, by using sugar canes in the Bahareque technique.
Professor Reinaldo Bolívar emphasizes that it is important for Venezuela to honour its commitment to Africa. During the presidency of Hugo Chávez, since 1999, good relations with many African countries have been fostered, and common projects in the fields of agriculture, energy, mining and trade have begun.
Venezuela has been continuously increasing its presence in Africa and will continue with this process. Venezuelans have African blood in their bodies. Africa is present in their genes. "African-ness is part of our identity. I am an integral Africanist," says Reinaldo Bolívar. Africa, to him, means "the future of humanity."
Professor Reinaldo Bolívar thinks that Africa - due to its immense wealth in human and natural resources - will play a very important role by 2020 in the world, but Africans must steer their own course and prevent foreign countries from interfering in their internal affairs. He especially criticized the role of rapacious Europe that "eats the fish products of Africa and removes its minerals, as well as its precious stones."
In his latest blog entry from the 23rd of February 2013, "La III Cumbre América del Sur - África," Professor Reinaldo Bolívar notes that the ASA Summit in Equatorial Guinea was supposed to have already been held in November 2011, in Tripoli, the capital of the Great Jamahiriya. The country was so badly bombarded by NATO, however, that the ASA Summit had to be postponed and later transferred to Malaba.
In his blog entry, "África y Chávez," he writes that many Africans admire the Venezuelan President and wish him well. Healing rituals and transmissions of energy for him were held in many parts of the African Continent. The Presidents of Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Gambia and South Africa sent greetings for Christmas and the New Year, wishing Hugo Chávez speedy recovery from his operation in Cuba.
In the programme, "Apadrina una Escuela in África," Venezuela has paid for schools to be built in Africa. The teachers speak to the pupils about Venezuela's President in many schools of Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cabo Verde, Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Sudan. The students see pictures of Simón Bolívar, the Liberator, and of Hugo Chávez. They love the Venezuelan President because he loves "Madre África" (Mother Africa).
In Malaba, the ASA Summit ended with the signing of 27 treaties for cooperation in the areas of communications, science, technology and tourism. All members present also pledged solidarity with Cuba, condemning the US blockade, and with Argentina, regarding the Malvinas Islands. The ASA members furthermore condemned the western terrorist attacks against Syria.
The next ASA Summit will be held in Ecuador, in 2016.
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