Girish Gupta

HOME

PHOTOS

ONLINE

Twitter
Instagram
IFTTT
Facebook
LinkedIn
Keybase
GitHub

BY COUNTRY

Brazil
Colombia
Cuba
Ecuador
Egypt
Guyana
Iraq
Jordan
Lebanon
Mexico
United Kingdom
Venezuela

BY MEDIUM

Text
Photo
Radio
TV/Video

BY PUBLISHER

Al Jazeera
BBC
BuzzFeed
CBC
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Daily Mail
Datum
Ecologist
Economist Intelligence Unit
Emerging Markets
Financial Times
Foreign Policy
France 24
Fusion
GlobalPost
Guardian
Independent
La Prensa (Panama)
LatinFinance
Mancunion
Monocle
National (Abu Dhabi)
New Internationalist
New Statesman
New York Times
New Yorker
NPR
PBS
PRI
Radio France Internationale
Reuters
RTE
Sky News
Sun
Sunday Times
Telegraph
TIME
Times of London
USA Today
Vice
WLRN

ABOUT

About
CV
Contact (PGP Key)
Venezuelan Relations With Colombia Warming
Apr. 6, 2011

Published by Minyanville

The last stop on Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez’s tour of Venezuela was to be Colombia this week. However, damage to Chávez’s airplane has postponed the meeting to Saturday.  It is hoped that the meeting will boost Venezuela’s recession-bound economy, as well as slow record-breaking inflation.

Four years ago, in 2007, bilateral trade between the two nations hit $7 billion -- most of which (some $6 billion) was made up of Colombian exports: food, clothing and cars. Last year, however, bilateral trade plummeted to just $1.2 billion. One problem, says the Financial Times, is Colombian exporters still waiting on old debts. Just $365m of the $700m owed by Venezuelan business is thought to have been paid, stifling Colombian trust.

An alliance between the two countries is looking more promising than ever, with Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos recently describing his counterpart as his “new best friend” in a New York Times interview. The relationship has warmed very quickly -- it was only last year that Santos accused Chávez of plotting to assassinate him.

The recent arrest of Walid Makled, a Venezuelan drug lord, in Colombia has raised tensions yet again and his forthcoming extradition is being seen as a litmus test for relations between Colombia, Venezuela and the United States. Both countries have called for Makled’s extradition to their own territories so Santos must decide which.

He has repeatedly insisted that Makled will be sent to Venezuela, as he is wanted for murder there rather than the lesser crime of drug trafficking in the United States. However, Makled appeared in a Colombian television interview on Sunday claiming that he had “conclusive evidence” of drug corruption within the upper echelons of Venezuelan government. This has led to fears that he will simply be silenced if sent back to Venezuela.

However, for Santos, the problem is a deeper one. He must carefully balance Colombia’s relationship with the two countries and what he stands to gain from them. He appears to have more to gain from Venezuela in building up exports to the country as well as cooperation on crime in border regions. Colombia has already extradited hundreds of drug traffickers to the United States but with only aid cuts and delays in a free trade agreement in return.

Electricity shortages in Venezuela are forcing authorities to look immediately to Colombia, according to electricity minister Ali Rodriguez. He blamed a recent heat wave that forced more use of air conditioning, exacerbating problems with the electricity grid.

The Venezuelan economy has come under strong criticism in recent months, with some analysts predicting the nation would default on its debt obligations. President of the central bank Nelson Merentes assured investors that this would not be the case at a Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.

High oil prices will help the Chávez government at least fund debt obligations. However, a drop in crude output -- as well as inefficiency in state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela – along with erosion of the country’s manufacturing sector are worrying some analysts.

Merentes insisted that even in 2002, when the economy was crippled by oil strikes, debts were still paid. “We are sending this message to the investors: There is not going to be any type of risk. Continue to trust Venezuela. It is good business to hold Venezuelan debt," said Merentes.

The country is set to export 12m barrels of oil a year to close ally Argentina beginning in May, including 9m barrels of fuel and another 3m of diesel.  The deal was made during Chávez’s recent time in Argentina. He also agreed to maintain Venezuela’s supply of 24,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Uruguay and 350,000 barrels per month of diesel to Bolivia. http://english.eluniversal.com/2011/04/04/venezuela-to-ship-12-million-barrels-of-fuel-to-argentina.shtml

Venezuela and Uruguay signed further deals including for the development of a satellite program, allowing both nations to share use of a Venezuelan satellite in order for Uruguay to develop space technology.

Chávez was keen to keep up anti-imperialist appearances on the trip, however. “The empire is going crazy and it's a real threat to world peace as the imperialism has entered its phase of extreme craziness," the president said in Bolivia.

After expropriating assets from both Exxon Mobil (XOM) and ConocoPhillips (COP) four years ago, the Venezuelan government has said it is aiming to pay out less than £2.5 billion to the companies. Both companies remain in international arbitration proceedings, like many others expropriated by Chávez between 2006 and 2007. Exxon Mobil had previously sought $10 billion.




More...

Exclusive: At least 123 Venezuelan soldiers detained since protests - documents
Jul. 6, 2017


Venezuela hikes minimum wage 50 percent, effectively down 17 percent
Jul. 2, 2017


Venezuela movie actor behind helicopter attack on government buildings
Jun. 28, 2017


Fourteen Venezuelan army officers jailed in first week of protests - documents
Jun. 6, 2017


Exclusive: U.S. considers possible sanctions against Venezuela oil sector - officials
Jun. 4, 2017


Exclusive: Trump administration concerned about U.S. firms giving financial 'lifeline' to Venezuela
Jun. 4, 2017


United Airlines ends flights to Venezuela, further isolating country
Jun. 3, 2017


Venezuela sets new exchange mechanism, as currency continues to slide
May. 24, 2017


Exclusive: Venezuela holds 5,000 Russian surface-to-air MANPADS missiles
May. 22, 2017


Venezuelan opposition activists march to Leopoldo Lopez' jail
Apr. 28, 2017


Venezuela says inflation 274 percent last year, economists say far higher
Apr. 20, 2017


Venezuelan protests against government leave three dead
Apr. 19, 2017


Venezuelans return to streets, roused by ban on opposition leader
Apr. 8, 2017


Venezuelan opposition, security forces clash in anti-Maduro protests
Apr. 6, 2017


Venezuela security forces battle anti-Maduro protesters
Apr. 4, 2017








© Girish Gupta