Pushing ahead with joint energy projects and insisting on their good relations, the presidents of Brazil and Venezuela have been holding talks. Lula da Silva hosted his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez in the northern Brazilian city of Manaus. The pair ratified two major oil ventures involving their respective state-run companies. They also agreed to an engineering study to build a massive gas pipeline.
The Venezuelan leader stressed the importance of the deals, saying they would give “body, nerve and skeleton” to the integration of southern states. “And it will serve to hold back, I would even say to protect ourselves, from the threat of the energy crisis that haunts our planet,” he went on.
Problems linked to the energy projects now look firmly in the past. The deal also bodes well for Venezuela’s bid to join South America’s main trading bloc, Mercosur. Brazilian President Lula has given his backing but the support of Brazilian senators is still needed. Hugo Chavez has accused them in the past of taking orders from Washington.