In an exclusive interview with PRAVDA.Ru, the President of Venezuela talked about the integration of Latin America and sent a message to the Russian people
"Tell Fidel (Castro) that he can go; I will stay here to talk to the people". Informally, out of schedule, Venezuela's charismatic leader found time to talk to PRAVDA.Ru after the swearing-in ceremony of Argentine President Nestor Kirchner in Buenos Aires.
"I am part of a group of statesmen Army officers, the clever ones: (Juan Domingo) Peron, from Argentina, Trujillo from the Dominican Republic and many others", he says, characterizing himself. "While coming down to Buenos Aires, I spent my time on the plane reading stories about Peron and San Martin [Argentina's Pater Patriae] to get involved in the country's mind."
Colonel, what is the state of relations between Venezuela and the rest of Latin America?
We have always had very good relations with our Latin American brothers. We have talked about trading partnership and political integration with the other presidents of South America. There will always be different approaches amid Governments, but there is a remarkable spirit of integration. Our peoples are more united than ever.
What are your impressions of Argentina's new President?
Look, I could give a lot of opinions, but I was really impressed by his inauguration statement. He said: "Long live our homeland". I say, "Long live our homeland, too." I think it was a nationalistic speed and calls for a deep transformation of the country. He said that the future is change. I took note of some parts of his statement, when he talked about the strengthening of the public sector and the necessity of sustainable economic growth to meet foreign obligations. I think it was a speech that makes clear the basis of a new economic program, very distant from neoliberalism.
What would you like to say to the Russian people?
To the Russian people, to PRAVDA.Ru, I would like to say something that I said to Vladimir Putin when I visited Moscow in a trip that I will never forget. It was very early in the morning, very cold as well, and we were walking through the gardens of his residence. I took his hand and told him: "We need Russia; the world needs a strong Russia". We need a strong united Russia again, because we believe in a multilateral world. Russia has a major role to play in building up a new pluralistic world. Despite the difficulties and the big problems Vladimir has to deal with - the fall of the Soviet Union, a real earthquake. However, there you've got Russia, back again, trying to recover its historical place as the "Great Russia". God bless Russia and our brothers, the Russian people!
Chavez and Fidel Castro were some of the most-acclaimed Latin American leader during his visit to Argentina. Today, back in Caracas, Chavez will have to deal with the endemic problems of Venezuela. After the new deal with the opposition, violence has not ceased. One person was killed and 22 injured after a demonstration in Caracas. It will require Chavez’s best leadership skills to calm the country down.