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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 03:34 GMT 04:34 UK
Chavez and Lula push closer ties
By Iain Bruce
BBC Manaus

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (left) and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil (right)
The presidents enjoy a laugh at their Manaus talks
The presidents of Venezuela and Brazil have agreed to renew their efforts to achieve greater political, economic and social integration in South America

The agreement came during talks in the Amazonian city of Manaus.

But Venezuela's Hugo Chavez failed to win concrete backing from Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, for his more ambitious plans for continental unity.

The visit was Mr Chavez's first trip abroad since winning a referendum on his rule last month.

The Venezuelan President came here, to what he called the Amazonian heart of South America, seeking Brazilian backing for some ambitious projects:

  • the creation of a South American oil giant out of existing national oil companies

  • a continental state bank

  • a pan-Latin American TV channel to rival, according to Mr Chavez, CNN

What he got was more modest - clear support for his victory in last month's referendum and the promise of increased co-operation on a range of less controversial issues.

On his way into the talks, Hugo Chavez told the BBC that of course there were some differences between him and President Lula but that both leaders had the same goal - a goal that he described as turning South America into a power bloc that could bring the world the political balance and peace it so badly needs.

President Lula made clear that he also wants to strengthen the region and to give it a bigger role in the world. But he also left no doubt that his view of how to do that is indeed a more cautious one.


SEE ALSO:
South America trade bloc expands
08 Jul 04  |  Americas
Venezuela ratifies Chavez victory
27 Aug 04  |  Americas
Latin America builds trade muscle
05 Apr 04  |  Business
South American unity pledge
19 Jun 03  |  Americas


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