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23 Jul, 2008 20:13

Chavez: Russia and Venezuela unite as oil & gas giants

Russia and Venezuela have made a giant leap in co-operation in the oil and gas industries, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in summing up the results of his two-day visit to Moscow. He also commented on Venezuela’s relations with the U.S. and Europe

I believe our military interests have always been exaggerated. I’d like to remind you that the military issue is only one in our many-sided cooperation, which we’ve been creating step by step.

From day one we’ve been working in the fields of energy, oil, gas, aviation, railways, minerals, agriculture, science, technology and, of course, in the military field as well.

But since the empire of the United States feels itself already broken, the United States planned to blockade us. They had plans for intrusion into Venezuela and for disarming us. For example, many years ago the USA sold Venezuela the FS-16 aircraft. It happened 20 years ago. It cost Venezuela a lot of money.

Nowadays, they refuse to sell spare parts to us. I’d like you to know that they break mutual agreements. They violate international law. It’s not the only example. They also refuse spare parts for the F-5 aircraft too. We also had radar there, and they took them back.

Moreover, they forced other countries not to sell us any kind of defence equipment either. You may ask Spain, they will tell you. They prohibited Spanish companies in Brazil, for example, which sold us an aircraft of high quality. We used it to combat drug trafficking, organised crime, violence on the border with Colombia, smuggling. So they didn’t allow the Brazilian company to modernise this aircraft.

Then I said, “Well, you don’t sell us spare parts, then I’ll head to Moscow.” They tried to put pressure there too. But here the government turned out to be of firm principles. And the companies here didn’t allow themselves to be forced. More than that, Russian companies have 100 per cent Russian technology. In Brazil, they use U.S. technology. Therefore, the U.S. has power over them. The same thing happens to Spanish companies.

Hence, thanks to Russia, Putin, and now Medvedev, thanks to or ties with Russia we've started the process of strengthening our defensive capabilities.

We are a peaceful state. We have a pacifist outlook. But the United States threatens us both from inside the country and from outside the country. Now the Unites States has plans for intrusion into Venezuela. What’s at the core of this issue?

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. That’s the basis of the issue. We have to defend ourselves, it’s our responsibility, our duty.

So, we’ve been advancing in our military-technical cooperation. Venezuela doesn’t plan to rearm its armed forces. Today we’ve tackled all the issues of military-technical co-operation. Now we are finalising the issue of Sukhoi-30 aircraft co-operation. We are working on an integral system of anti-aircraft defence for short, medium and long distances.

Today President Medvedev confirmed that we’ll continue our work in this direction, and Russia will continue supplying Venezuela with this equipment. I don’t know from where figures like $US 30 billion appear. We don’t have these figures. They are extremely exaggerated. What are these figures? We are considering them now. We’ll be going ahead depending on our capabilities.

What contracts have been signed and for how much?

You shouldn’t worry about how much. From our side, we’ll say how much. It’s variable. It’s a dynamic process. But I’ll tell you what we’ve signed. Many of you were present when we were signing those agreements. It is of the utmost importance that we had a leap in cooperation in the oil and gas industries. Compared with Russia, Venezuela is a small country. However, comparing our oil and gas resources we’re two giants. And these two giants are uniting. More than that, we take seriously our responsibility to the world.

Gazprom is a huge company, PDVSA is also a huge company. They’ve signed an agreement for initiating works in the Orinoco river basin, where the world's largest oil resources are. I’d like all of you, Russian people, to know that it’s a big privilege for us to count on Gazprom in exploiting oil resources in the Orinoco river basin. It’s the first step.

Here on the map you can see the Orinoco river basin, which is the heart of Venezuela. Gazprom will be in the oilfield “Ayacucho-3”. Here it is. Just imagine: it’s 50,000 square kilometres. This zone is completely filled with oil. Just now it’s possible to produce one billion barrels there. It’s an enormous oilfield with the largest oil resources in the world. Here, Gazprom will start the process of creating an alliance with Venezuela. They can already start working, as at the depth of 2000metres it’s possible to extract oil. The surface is absolutely even there. Besides, it’s sand oil. There are no stones in the way of drilling.

I’m not prepared to say right now what investment will be required, since it’s an ongoing process. I can assume we’re speaking about millions of dollars. It’ll require 70 billion dollars to produce oil over the next five years. It’s a gigantic figure. We take seriously our responsibility to the world because we will let it avoid problems with future oil supplies. When oil resources have run out elsewhere in the world, only five countries will still produce oil. They are Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.

One should bear in mind that it’s not a renewable resource. The United States pursues an insane policy of consumption. In the meantime we are doing the right thing.

We are uniting our efforts for the rational use of oil stocks, which both our countries count on. Lukoil has also signed an agreement. It went ahead and formed a joint-venture in the Orinoco river basin in the area of Honing –3. Here it is. You should have a clear picture that each of these sectors has 20 billion barrels. So, we’ve signed an agreement with Lukoil. What figures do the investments imply?
We’re speaking about 100 years, as there’s oil for 100 years there. It means billions of dollars. And it concerns not only financial investment in technology, but added value and energy security for the whole world.
We’ve also signed an agreement with TNK-BP. It’s for another area-Ayacucho-2. So, three various deposits with various Russian companies in the energy sector.

We’ve also adopted an agreement for advancing and protecting investments. We’ve even advanced in a technical discussion of this agreement. As well as having a technical part, the agreement also has a political part. We’ve decided to create a mutual bank. We took this decision and we’ll set up this bank. Now we are considering how and with what resources to create it. It needs to promote a number of projects not only in energy, but also in infrastructure, railways and mineral resources and so on. Perhaps, I haven’t touched on all the issues, but those mentioned have a strategic importance. We’ve leapt forward in the energy, oil and gas industries, let alone those successes we have in other areas. We also agreed to continue work on the contracts and agreements we didn’t sign today due to there being some technical details to be discussed further. In October, the high-level inter-governmental commission will have to deal with them. The Venezuelan side will be headed by Vice-President Ramon Carrizales and the Russian side will be headed by Vice-President Aleksandr Zhukov.
How do relations between Russia and Colombia impact on the ties between Moscow and Caracas?
We are very glad that Russia has boosted its cooperation not only with Venezuela but also with Colombia and other states. I brought a letter to Medvedev and a letter to Putin from Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega. Last night I stayed in Managua, and he asked me to hand over these letters in order to form the inter-governmental commission
for mutual cooperation. We analysed the situation in Latin America and said it would be great if Russia’s government increased its exchanges and cooperation with Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, the Caribbean basin and Central America. Russia is a friendly country. It’s not an empire. Russia is a big state of the 21st century. We share with Russia the view of a multi-polar world. Summing up, we’re very pleased.
Next question – Russian aircraft and ships.

The aircraft have already appeared and are still on the way. Now they are already Venezuela’s aircraft. We’re speaking about Sukhoi aircraft and helicopters. You also ask me if Russian ships have appeared in Venezuela’s military bases. I believe Russia has enough potential to mobilise its aircraft and ships to make them appear in any part of the world. If they come to Venezuela, nothing weird will happen.  We’ll give them a warm welcome if they come to Venezuela. So, we don’t mean the Fourth Fleet. The Fourth Fleet implies a threat to us, and not only to Venezuela, but to the whole of Latin America. If some day the Russian Fleet arrives in the Caribbean we’ll raise flags and beat drums. We’ll play the Russian and Venezuelan anthems, because we’ll have friends as guests, we’ll shake their hands, because they’ll come as allies. Nowadays, Russia has become one of our important allies. In other words, we’ll kindly meet them and be very happy.
Then, Chris Baldguin writes recently you’ve threatened to take repressive measures against the United States and the European Community.
I said it not as a threat. In this case, the real menace is the so called ‘Directive on Return’. This is a threat against our people, against the dignity of our people, and above all against the poor and the weak. Even the UN protested against this ‘Directive on Return’. I believe it would be a disgraceful directive. Tomorrow night we’ll arrive in Lisbon. First we’ll visit Belarus to greet our brother Aleksandr Lukashenko. From there we’ll go to Lisbon to meet Prime-Minister Sohro. After that, our route takes us to Majorca to talk to King Juan Carlos. If he asks me again to cease talking, I’ll continue any way and speak even longer. Then we’ll go to Madrid to visit Prime Minister Zapatero. By all means we’ll speak with journalists in Portugal and Spain and maybe with other leaders of the European states. I’d like again to urge Europe to reflect. Who could have ever thought that some Europeans or U.S. citizens would visit Venezuela without documents, as many did in the 20th century, in particular, Europeans? World War I, the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War, World War II. Millions of Europeans emigrated to Latin America and the states of the Caribbean, and we never applied to them the ‘Directive on Return’. We opened our arms to them. They still live with us. I mean their descendants starting from Mexico down to Argentina. I’d like to ask Europe to reflect. I have some ideas. It would be great to exchange some views. The thing is not about the arrival of some bandits, or some monkeys, or, maybe, some serpents. They are human beings. They are alive. Nobody is entitled to consider poverty as a crime. The poor look for a possibility to live, and this model of globalisation, of neo-liberal globalisation has completely collapsed. It only helped to increase all kinds of evil in the world. It would be great to start negotiations with nobody worried or irritated, none who say ‘Stop talking" or splashes a glass of water or throws a tape recorder in the face, in order to communicate as equals with respect to the dignity of other people.

Just imagine that tomorrow about 500 Europeans come to us for some reason: women, old people, children, men. Do you really believe that we would put them in prison? It’s even impossible to think about it.

We’ll take them to a decent place. We’ll immediately initiate negotiations with the countries they came from, with their governments. We would immediately form some commission to consider each case separately for each family. And it goes without saying we would finalise this problem and never put them in jail for 60 days, or even for a day. It’s natural. They are children. What human rights do we dwell upon here? Where are the rights of children? Where are the fundamental human rights? Therefore, I don’t threaten anyone. They threaten us. But here, you see everything is misrepresented. We are trampled down, but they say that we threaten them and we trample them down. So, Chris, it’s vice versa. For 500 years we’ve been not only threatened, but we were even kept on our knees. We were robbed, but now it’s enough. Let’s respect each other. The white people like you are as equal as the Indians like I am. The blondes like you are equal in their rights to negroes in Africa or in the Caribbean. There’s no superior race. It wasn’t only Hitler who ‘created a super race’, but now new Hitlers, new fuhrers have appeared who look at us – Indians, negroes, mestizos – as people of low grade. Convince yourself that we are equal.

Only in this way can we have peace all over the world. Hence, we don’t threaten anyone, we just have rights. Actually, I speculated a little bit and imagined such a situation that if Venezuelans were suppressed in any European country, and I’d learn about it. I know for sure it’ll never be Russia, but maybe if some European state or the
United States sent to jail innocent women and men, who hadn’t committed any crime, rather than contacting us and solving this issue. We could sign such ‘Directive on Return’ of capitals, investment of this country in Venezuela, because it would be equally right. But it’s not a threat at all. We’d like to have mutual understanding with the north, in particular those who still preserve imperial thinking, who are extremely proud of themselves, who suffer extreme superiority complex. We’d like them to think about this. We are ready to make them hear us, to make them reflect upon it. And we are not the only ones in our thoughts. The so called ‘Directive on Return’ has raised a wave of indignation.

Question about the militarisation of Latin America, which is promoted by the U.S.

I should say that the U.S. from the very beginning of its existence as an independent state began to promote militarism in Latin America. Simon Bolivar warned about the U.S 200 years ago. And Bolivar was right. Thomas Jefferson said that the U.S. will swallow republics of the Caribbean basin one by one. He once said that the U.S. is determined by providence to fill America with poverty in the name of liberty. It can be said that now,  200 years later, we are filled not only with poverty, but with blood, pain and tears. They stepped into Mexico, took away half of its territory in the 19th century, particularly the oil-producing regions. Texas and many other regions – it was all Mexico. They invaded Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti several times, also Grenada, Panama, Guatemala and Nicaragua. They just burned Central America, organised coups d’etat in Brazil and in Venezuela. In Chile they killed Allende. In Argentina they proclaimed the government of tyrants and genocide. They bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Frankly speaking, the U.S. has filled this world with blood and pain. This cursed empire will fall in this century. Its days are numbered. Today I recollect Mao Zedong, who once said that an empire will come to an end and will become a paper tiger. The U.S. as an empire is coming to an end as an empire, to the benefit of the whole world, to the joy of its own people, to the benefit of society, to the whole of mankind. But they have started the militarization of Latin America and they still continue it. In the whole world the adequate answer was given by the Russian government. Now they are trying to create some kind of anti-missile shield. They have the biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons on the planet and military bases all over the world – some of them secret ones. They take prisoners and kill people. It is the state of genocide. I think that, sooner rather than later, this empire will fall – to the benefit of the whole world, enabling a balance in the world to be created: polycentric and multi-polar. That will guarantee peace in the world. To the creation of this multi-polar world we are making our small contribution.

Now you, young people in Russia, Venezuelan students, while the whole world strives, prepare yourself, realise and fight for a balance in the world. On this depends not only your life, but the lives of those still unborn, but who will come to this world – your children. Thank you so much.