Venezuela, Brazil Rekindle Relations After 8-year Estrangement

Presidents Lula and Maduro met in Brasilia for the first time since the former’s election victory in October, and who acknowledged “political errors” during the administration of his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro

The two leaders met in Brasilia on Monday.
May 29, 2023 | 02:55 PM

Bloomberg Línea — Almost five months since taking office, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro in Brasilia on Monday, where they formally reestablished relations between the two countries, and which been broken off since 2019, when former president Jair Bolsonaro recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as that country’s interim president.

Lula qualified what occurred between the two countries during the last few years as “political mistakes”, and recalled his close relationship with Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chávez during his 2003-2010 administration.

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“It is absurd that Venezuela’s gold reserves are in the hands of a guy like Juan Guaidó, it is absurd that the European Union recognizes an impostor like him as president of the country,” Lula said.

Bolsonaro’s government withdrew all its diplomatic staff from Venezuela in April 2020, a year after Guaidó's swearing-in as interim president. However, tensions between Venezuela and Brazil had been ongoing since the administration of Brazil’s former president Michel Temer, whom Maduro labelled a “coup plotter” and “political hitman” in 2016.


“Venezuela is ready for us to resume virtuous relations with Brazilian investors and businesses (...) so that we return to the time of investment and development,” Maduro said in a joint statement with Lula on Monday.

The meeting between the two leaders was held with the purpose of signing new agreements between both governments, covering economic, environmental and energy issues. Although no details were provided about the private conversation between the presidents, Lula did highlight the drop in the two countries’ trade exchange, which once amounted to $6 billion and has since dropped to $2 billion dollars.

Three days ago, the new Venezuelan ambassador to Brazil, Manuel Vadell, handed over his diplomatic credentials to Brazil’s president. In January, the Venezuelan vice-foreign minister for Latin America, Rander Peña, received the chargé d’affaires appointed in Caracas, Flávio Macieira, who will initiate the process for the reopening of the diplomatic seat in the country.

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Lula’s inauguration in January, to which Maduro had been invited, was attended in his place by the president of the National Assembly of the ruling majority elected in 2020, Jorge Rodriguez. A ban on the entry of high-ranking Venezuelan officials to Brazil signed during Bolsonaro’s term in office, although it was later lifted by the Brazilian justice system, was reportedly the reason behind the decision.

Maduro’s visit also takes place within the framework of a summit of South American leaders to be held on Tuesday.

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