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CARACAS, Saturday November 10, 2012 | Update
 
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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Chávez wraps up 2012 with a full diplomatic agenda

The Venezuelan leader has not confirmed his attendance at the Ibero-American Summit

President Chávez confirmed his visit to Brasilia on December 7; meetings with Mujica and Santos are scheduled (Handout Photo)
REYES THEIS |  EL UNIVERSAL
Saturday November 10, 2012  12:00 AM
Invitations for two summits of Heads of State and Government and at least a couple of bilateral meetings have been set in the agenda of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez by the end of 2012.

President Chávez's continued foreign travels for diplomatic contacts have been significantly reduced since June 2011 when he disclosed that he had cancer and shortly after traveled to Havana for several checks. However, ending this year, he could get back to his usual pace.

The president's first appointment is in Cádiz, Spain, for the Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government on November 16-17.

The Foreign Office has not confirmed yet Chávez's attendance at the important event. Nevertheless, Spanish diplomatic sources fear that the Venezuelan leader will not show up for health reasons.

Furthermore, two of his major allies, Raúl Castro, the president of the State Council of Cuba, and Argentinean President Cristina Fernández, left the representation of their countries in the hands of their foreign ministers.

No matter ideological differences between the President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, and leftist presidents of Latin America, King Juan Carlos of Spain has delivered a public message. "We would like to come out from Cádiz more united as a community; improving dialogue mechanisms among us and increasing the integration and cooperation among our governments."

Another important event, where the Venezuelan president did confirm his attendance, is the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), to be held in Brasilia.

On Thursday, November 1, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota was on visit in Caracas and he met with President Chávez. "Foreign Minister Patriota has brought an invitation to me to visit Brasilia on December 7. God willing, we'll be there. It will be the summit of the presidents of the Common Market of the South, Mercosur," the Venezuelan leader declared.

Moreover, Uruguayan President José "Pepe" Mujica has expressed his interest in the rendezvous. He has said that if he cannot meet with his Venezuelan counterpart in Cádiz, then he has plans to come to Caracas ahead of the summit in Brasilia in order to discuss some issues related to Mercosur.

Mujica, whose country will take on the Pro Tempore Presidency of the trade bloc, affirmed that he plans to hold a "serious, deep discussion" on Mercosur, as integration cannot be "reduced to a mere trade exchange."

Further, the Foreign Offices of Colombia and Venezuela are working on a potential meeting that would be held soon on the border between Colombian Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro.

Translated by Conchita Delgado
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