I’m here to ratify the policy of brotherhood – President Maduro
Georgetown, GINA, August 31, 2013
At approximately 10:10 hrs today, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived to a red carpet welcome at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport for his first state visit intended to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two neighbouring countries.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro greets President Donald Ramotar upon his arrival at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport
In the company of a delegation that included high profile security who were onboard his aircraft, the Venezuelan leader was greeted at the foot of the stairway by his counterpart President Donald Ramotar, and Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana Reina Arratia Dias.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro greets President Donald Ramotar after receiving the Presidential Salute
The historic moment captured live on radio and television included a Presidential Salute by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Guard of Honour who President Maduro was subsequently invited to inspect with Rear Admiral Gary Best as his escort.
A youth from Guyana’s Wapishana tribe garlanded President Maduro with an indigenous necklace that read “We the people of Guyana warmly welcome President Maduro and his delegation.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro introducing President Donald Ramotar to members of his Government
President Ramotar introduced President Maduro to each member of his Cabinet, introducing them by name and portfolio and likewise Venezuelan government ministers who were part of the visiting delegation were introduced to the Guyanese Head of State.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and President Donald Ramotar exchange the joint declaration after signing
A convoy of vehicles led by President Ramotar then proceeded to the Guyana International Conference Centre where the two leaders in the company of other government officials met for bilateral talks.
As they met at State House for lunch, the two leaders toasted to the friendship between the Governments of both countries. President Ramotar expressed best of health to Maduro and his family, stating that he “feels completely at home among friends and brothers and sisters” but most importantly that the legacy of peace in the Americas continue.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and President Donald Ramotar toast during lunch at State House
President Maduro in return expressed thanks to President Ramotar for his solidarity on the passing of the late President Hugo Chavez, who through his insistence that good neighbour relations should be maintained, crafted a new policy based on principles of brotherhood.
The highlight of the day was the signing of a joint declaration by both presidents to pursue with the United Nations Secretary General the reappointment of Professor Norman Girvan who gave impetus to the United Nations Good Offices Process since the appointment in 2010.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro greets former Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo in the presence of President Donald Ramotar and others
“We have come here to ratify, I am here to ratify that we are going to foster a cooperation based on our human relations, cultural relations, economic relations, that will serve as the base for a future of peace and the development of our regions,” President Maduro said.
The Good Office Process was adopted to pursue a peaceful and practical settlement to territorial issues in accordance with the Geneva Agreement of 1966.
The two leaders also committed to build on the foundation of existing relations such as rice trade and PetroCaribe. Both Presidents noted with satisfaction the continuity of the exports of rice and paddy to Venezuela and the supply of petroleum to Guyana
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accompanied by his wife and First Lady of Venezuela Cilia Flores greets Guyana’s First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar in the company of President Donald Ramotar
The establishment of new areas of cooperation saw the Heads of State also receiving the report of the 5th Meeting of the Guyana/ Venezuela High Level Bilateral Commission which was held during the visit, under the areas of Political Consultation; Food and Agriculture; Air, Land and Sea Transportation; Energy; and Education and Culture.
Among the new cooperation initiatives proposed are bilateral drugs agreement, furtherance of the proposals for cultural cooperation and capacity building in the area of Spanish language training for Guyanese and English language training for Venezuelans.
The bulk of President Maduro’s speech went a step back in history to explain the genesis of the two country’s territorial issue, the foreign masterminds involved and the approach by the late President Chavez to correct the past.
“Commander Chavez denounced this repeatedly… this policy of war and racism was the instrument used by the Venezuelan oligarchy in the 60s and the 70s and the 80s. Therefore President Chavez devised a new policy, a humanist, a South Americanist, a Bolivarian policy … and paved the way to a new stage of relations of brotherhood between the two countries,” President Maduro said through his interpreter.
The two leaders had only yesterday met in Suriname for the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Summit, where a declaration was made rejecting any military intervention in response to the civilian crisis in Syria.
President Maduro said any attack will be deemed criminal and questioned whether war is the best retaliation to deaths in Syria.
The two leaders again reaffirmed their strong opposition to any act intervention outside of the UN. President Ramotar said the only fight that should be sanctioned is one favouring peace.
After a social event that featured cultural performances and a few remarks, President Maduro departed with his friend President Ramotar saying the last farewell, but full of optimism about the future relations between the two countries.