In a press conference at Miraflores, Chávez announced that he had signed an agreement with Morales to supply Bolivia with 150,000 barrels per month of diesel fuel in trade. “I won’t accept you paying us a cent, you are going to pay us in agricultural products,” Chávez said alongside Morales.
Chávez also announced that, following Morales’ inauguration, Venezuela will donate $30 million
to further social causes in Bolivia. The agreement also offered Morales Venezuelan advice and assistance in the realm of energy and governance.
“These are new times. We are in a millennium that will be for the peoples, not for the empire. We join the work of Fidel in Cuba and of Hugo in Venezuela to provide a response to the needs of the majorities,” Morales told reporters in Caracas, where he was received with full state honors.
Bolivia’s leader-to-be also emphasized that the future of his country is linked to that of the rest of Latin America via an integration free of foreign tutelage.
Morales arrived from La Paz on a Cubana de Aviación jet.
After attending to matters of protocol, the Bolivian president-elect – who will take office on Jan. 22 – went to the National Pantheon in the capital, where he placed a floral offering at the bronze sarcophagus containing the ashes of Simón Bolívar and paid homage to the famous indigenous chief Guaicaipuro, who headed the native resistance against the Spanish colonization of Venezuela.
At the National Pantheon, he was feted by a children’s orchestra and chorus, who played the Bolivian and Venezuelan national anthems, and he listened to a folk song in Aymara, the native language of the man who will become his nation’s first Indian head of state. Morales, who is not yet very familiar with the formalities of official ceremonies, participated in the ceremony wearing a simple green windbreaker.
Afterwards, he proceeded to the Miraflores presidential palace to meet with Chávez.
A communiqué issued by the Venezuelan president’s office called the accords on the table between the two countries “strategic,” adding that they will provide a framework “in the economic, trade and political areas.”
On Tuesday, he clearly set Washington’s fiercest Latin American critics as his models, praising Castro and Chávez. “We are here to resolve social problems, economic problems,” Morales said Tuesday. “This movement is not only in Bolivia; Fidel in Cuba and Hugo in Venezuela are logging triumphs in social movements and leftist policies.”
“We are going to change Bolivia, we are going to change Latin America,” Morales said.
Moments before Morales’ arrival, Chávez said that the president-elect’s election victory was a sign that the “indigenous peoples are returning from the depths of history.”
He also said that the Bolivian’s visit was a link in the “creation of the axis of good,” a counterpoint to the so-called “axis of evil” enunciated by U.S. President George W. Bush in reference to certain rogue and anti-U.S. regimes around the world.
“You already know who the axis of evil is. The axis of evil is Washington and its allies, who threaten, invade, kill. We make up the axis of good,” said the Venezuelan leader, turning Bush’s definition of the axis of evil on its head.
Chávez also said that he would speak with Morales about the way in which Venezuela could contribute toward making a reality of the reform program the latter presented during his winning election campaign.
“We’re going to support him modestly to make a reality of what Evo has called rescuing Bolivia’s dignity,” Chávez said.
Morales, who on Friday began his pre-inauguration tour in Cuba, will travel between now and Jan. 13 from Caracas to Spain and then to Belgium, France, China, South Africa and Brazil.
The schedule for his world tour does not, notably, include the United States. Morales’ spokesman Alex Contreras said he would be willing to visit, but had not been invited.
Just back from his first trip abroad over the weekend – to communist Cuba – Morales met on Monday in Bolivia with U.S. Ambassador David Greenlee, but representatives of both sides said the meeting was private and declined to give details.
Morales vowed during his campaign to be Washington’s “nightmare,” but has said he is open to developing relations with the United States. American officials, too, have said they hope to work with Morales.
“We’ll see what kinds of policies President Morales pursues,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. “And, based on that, we’ll see what kind of relationship the United States and Bolivia will have.”
The Bolivian president-elect will remain in Venezuela just a few hours and was scheduled to leave on a flight for Madrid around sundown.
Today, in the Spanish capital, he is set to meet with Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, also a Socialist.
By Daily Journal Staff
with EFE and AP