Venezuela on the world map
It is difficult to imagine the political map of the world of the beginning of the new millennium without the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its active foreign policy, and the socio-economic transformations, which had been held in the country under the leadership of the President Hugo Chavez during the last fourteen years.
Both supporters and opponents of the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution (both have always been in abundant) agree in one - Hugo Chavez was an extraordinary and vivid politician offering sometimes unexpected solutions, who assumed the full responsibility for the reforms and proposed new solutions of age-old problems typical of many countries in Latin America and the developing world. Formulated and carried out under his leadership, the active independent line in international affairs based on the strengthening of the sovereignty, independence, and the right to seek their own way of sustainable development combined with the socially oriented economic line inside the country contributed to the growth of national consciousness, not only in Venezuela, but throughout the LAC region. It is a powerful, not yet exhausted, impulse of formation here of the centre of power in the modern multi-polar world. Not without the influence of Caracas, the new vector of integration processes in Latin America and the Caribbean has been determined, which led to the formation of such associations as CELAC, UNASUR, and ALBA. The growing Latin American solidarity, without regard to the senior partners and ideological differences, is a real fact of modern international relations.
Hugo Chavez was a great friend of Russia. He was respectful to our complicated history that he knew well and understood the character of the new challenges and tasks faced by our country. It would be no exaggeration to say that thanks largely to his openness, perceptivity to innovation and initiatives, Russian-Venezuelan relations have reached a new level of strategic partnership, and practical cooperation in such areas as the military-technical cooperation, energy, agriculture, credit and financial sector, civil construction and skill pool training is trending up. Suffice it to say that Hugo Chavez officially visited our country nine times. The last time it was October 2010. Over the past ten years, a solid negotiating and legal base of relations has been established, and more than 60 bilateral instruments have been signed. Russian companies - the National Oil Consortium, Gazprom OJSC, NK Rosneft OJSC, Kamaz, and others come to the Venezuelan market. A Russian-Venezuelan bank has been created and is successfully operating (by the way, the first bank with Russian participation in LAC). Large-scale projects for the extraction of hydrocarbon raw materials in the pool of Orinoco river - Junin-6 - have been successfully implemented to be folowed by the joint work of Russian and Venezuelan companies at the Carabobo-2 block.
A separate and extensive topic is our bilateral cooperation in the international arena, where Russia and Venezuela have the same positions on such fundamental issues, as the rule of international law and inadmissibility of interference from outside with the internal affairs of sovereign states. We appreciate the serial line of our partners regarding the situation in the Caucasus, recognition by Caracas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and development of full-scale relationships with these young republics.
It is essential, that the leaders of the two countries maintain an unindifferent and trustful dialogue and mechanisms of the two-way interaction between them, the main of which is the Intergovernmental Top-Level Commission, the next 9th meeting of which was held in Caracas on April 3 this year. This is a solid foundation to move forward.
Today, everyone is wondering, what will be the fate of the inheritance of the charismatic Comandante, and which way Venezuela will go. There is a huge range of different opinions. However, there is one constant, adopted by everyone - no realistically thinking Venezuelan politician can give up the line of eradication of poverty and illiteracy, alignment of social imbalances, involvement in economic and social life of the country’s population groups, which were previously doomed to stagnation in poverty.
The new Venezuelan leadership led by Nicolas Maduro, winning the extraordinary presidential elections on April 14 this year, is intending to build its policy both within the country and abroad on the basis of continuity, continued social and economic reforms initiated in the previous period. The results of the April election showed that the continuation of Chavez reforms depends on the ability of his successors to deal with such complex problems as ensuring economic growth in the context of the on-going global financial crisis and energy product market volatility that provide the lion’s share of Venezuela’s currency revenue, fight against organized crime that swept through Venezuelan cities, effective countering to opposition that has not resigned to another defeat and is trying to imbalance the situation in the country and put the legitimacy of the new government to question. It is essential for the supporters of the new President to consolidate their positions and through this ensure the peaceful development of the political process in the country. It is challenging, even for such a politician as Maduro, who has formed its principles and had a solid experience of working with the Comandante.
Naturally, adjustments in foreign and domestic policy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are possible, because even Hugo Chavez recognized, that he had to be a pioneer, to seek new and sometimes not standard solutions, and the experience of others, albeit the most successful, was simply inapplicable in Venezuela.