Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has spoken of his support for Syria during a visit to the capital Damascus. His visit is part of a tour of several countries which observers believe is part of a bid to shore up support for Venezuela to take Latin America’s next non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
As well as trying to reinforce his friendship with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Chavez is also looking to sign trade deals with Syria. Oil is sure to come up: Venezuela is the world’s fifth largest producer. Receiving the red-carpet treatment at the presidential palace, Chavez said that the two governments share the same political vision and will resist together what he calls ‘American imperialist aggression’. Venezuela’s fierce criticism of the Israeli offensive in Lebanon has won him many friends in Syria. Crowds were out in force to cheer on the leader who withdrew Venezuela’s ambassador to Israel just after the start of hostilities in July.