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Venezuela becomes strategic ally

Ambassador of the Republic of Venezuela in Ha Noi Jorge Rondon Uzcategui writes to Viet Nam News on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Venezuelan solidarity today, July 5.

Flying Angel: A stunning view of the Angel Waterfall in Venezuela. The world's highest waterfall is located in the Guayana highlands.
Flying Angel: A stunning view of the Angel Waterfall in Venezuela. The world’s highest waterfall is located in the Guayana highlands.

The year 2014 is signifi-cant for relations between Viet Nam and Venezuela. It marks the 50th anniversary of Venezuelan solidarity with Viet Nam’s struggle for liberation and unification and the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. It also marks the eighth anniversary of the historic visit of Supreme Commander Hugo Chavez Frias to Ha Noi.

These three facts define the fraternal and constructive links between two geographically and culturally distant peoples united in their dreams of freedom and decisive internationalist vocation for a better and fairer world.

On October 9, 1964, a command of the National Liberation Armed Forces, armed wing of the Communist Party of Venezuela, kidnapped Colonel Michel Smolen, Deputy Chief of the Air US Mission in Venezuela.

The Tactical Combat Unit “Ivan Barrero Miliani” Livia Gouverner Detachment, Brigade No 1 Military District “Captain Wilfrido Omana” announced to the world that Smolen’s life depended on the US military freeing Vietnamese patriot Nguyen Van Troi, who had been taken prisoner on May 9 and condemned to be executed on October 10, 1964.

In response to the demand by the Venezuelan guerrillas, the Vietnamese fighter’s execution was postponed.

On October 13, the Venezuelan guerrillas freed Smolen. However Troi was executed two days later. The action forever linked the peoples of Bolivar and Ho Chi Minh.

On December 18, 1989, the Governments of Viet Nam and Venezuela decided to establish diplomatic relations. These relationships, carried respectively from embassies in Havana and Manila, could be classified as mere formalities.

But this situation underwent a dramatic change with the arrival of Commander Hugo Chavez to the Presidency of the Republic in 1999. His clear vision of the new Venezuelan foreign policy envisioned Viet Nam as a reliable partner for Venezuela in the construction of its national development.

He also saw Viet Nam as a strategic ally in the design of a multi-polar world of solidarity and in the promotion of South-South co-operation. One of the first steps to realise a partnership between the two nations was the establishment of embassies. The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam opened its Embassy in September, 2005, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in January, 2006.

Commander President Chavez made an official visit to Ha Noi from July 31 to August 1, 2006. At the meeting, authorities undertook a series of actions to develop fraternal and practical relations. They did this by establishing political, economic and legal bases and committing themselves to co-ordination in multilateral forums and international organisations.

Since then, bilateral relations between Viet Nam and Venezuela have vigorously advanced. This is evident in the many meetings of senior leaders; mutual solidarity in international forums and convergence of views on the most pressing problems facing the international community; the establishment of friendship organisations; the celebrations of two Joint Commissions and the implementation of agreements on co-operation in energy, agricultural, technical, educational and cultural matters. An evident fact is energy co-operation, through which the Oil and Gas Corporation of Viet Nam (PetroVietnam) and the Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela formed a joint venture company, Petromacareo, to produce 200,000 barrels. It will also improve heavy crude from the Junin 2 field Orinoco Oil Belt, which will be processed in a Vietnamese refinery for domestic demand.

Prospects for medium and long-term relations between the two countries are full of optimism, due to similar ideology and common interests – plus the need for deep economic, financial, technological, cultural and agricultural relationships.

We are convinced that Viet Nam and Venezuela will not only become closer in future years, but will consolidate a reliable strategic association.