President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni yesterday 2nd November 2023 met and held discussions with the Venezuelan Envoys at State Lodge- Nakasero.
The envoys included H.E Yvan Gil Pinto, the Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Hon. Yuri Pimentel Moura, the Vice Minister for Africa in the Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
During the meeting, the President welcomed the envoys to Uganda and also thanked his Venezuelan counterpart, H.E Nicolas Maduro for sending them to Uganda with the aim of linking up the two countries.
“We have not been having close links with the freedom fighters in South America, but we had contact with Fidel Castro of Cuba and some of his colleagues. Cuba helped us to start a medical school and we have had some trade exchanges,” he said.
President Museveni also saluted H.E Maduro and the late President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez for taking an independent stand against foreign aggression that led to the suffering of the people of Venezuela and Latin America at large.
“The indigenous people have really suffered but all the Latin Americans, even the new populations who went there are also suffering. So, it is really painful to see the suffering of those people, partly caused by the interference of external powers,” he noted.
Just like Latin America, the President further informed his guests that Africa also faced ideological and strategic problems but have slowly managed to deal with them.
“The Imperialists tried to maintain control here even after independence, but we have somehow moved. Our Pan Africanism leaders like Nyerere supported by the young people, we have been able to liberate ourselves by military struggle supported by Africa and socialist countries. That was one big success between 1963 and 1994 when South Africa got freedom. This created a higher base for Africa,” President Museveni revealed.
“Then the second one has been economic integration. Initially, the African leaders didn’t understand the importance of integration but in 1980 about 20 years after Independence, they started seeing that without integration, Africa can’t move because you need production and production needs a market. If you produce it, who buys it? Are the internal markets of each country enough to support large scale production and transformation?And the answer was no.
A bigger market is a better stimulus for growth and transformation. So it was called the Lagos Plan of Action and this was to create free trade zones, first of all by region, but eventually formed the continental common market and this one has helped us because we started with the common markets of Eastern Africa, Western Africa and so on but now we have formed the Continental Free Trade Area.”
The President also underscored the need for integration for Latin America, saying that it is very crucial to ensure economic independence of the continent.
“We have not done much work with Latin America but I’m sure we can trade with you. It is good that we get in touch with Venezuela, Brazil and other left-leaning countries. We should work together in areas such as energy, agriculture, health and education,” he added.
President Museveni also told his guests that they are waiting to receive H.E Maduro to attend the Non-Aligned Movement(NAM) summit scheduled for January next year in Kampala.
On the other hand, H.E Gil Pinto informed the President that in Venezuela the situation is good and that H.E Maduro sent his greetings to him and the people of Uganda.
He said they have visited Uganda for two reasons which include; congratulating the East African country for what it is doing and to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.
“We are very interested in working with you in the areas of agriculture, tourism, Education, energy and health,” the Envoy asserted.
“We know that Uganda is advancing very well in different areas so we are ready to work hand in hand with you.”
H.E Gil Pinto also disclosed that for the last seven years, Venezuela has suffered because of different challenges but he was happy to note that the country has managed to overcome them due to the good leadership of President Maduro.
“We can say that we have already taken an advancement in the economic sector which is very important. Last year, we had a 15 percent increase in our GDP and this year a 5 percent increase. Next year we are preparing ourselves for Presidential elections. To date H.E Maduro is doing well and there’s no serious opposition to him. We are preparing ourselves to win the election but also to keep on improving our economic sector,” he said.
“We Know that the world’s geopolitics have different changes right now, but we know that the only way for us to get through is by working in unity and cooperating with other countries. For this reason, we are working hand in hand with different countries and in a special way we are ready to work with Uganda.”
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Henry Okello Oryem.