Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, along with 20 ministers and government officials traveled to Caracas on Wednesday for discussions with the government of President Hugo Chávez—one of three annual meetings between the two Andean countries. The leaders pledged to achieve a “political, social and economic union.”
In 10 new bilateral agreements, Venezuela and Ecuador promised further cooperation in sectors including mining, tourism, infrastructure, educational exchange, and military technology.
The leaders also reviewed existing energy agreements. Petroecuador extracts oil from Venezuela’s Faja del Orinoco reserve while Petróleos de Venezuela has an exploratory well in Ecuador’s Guayaquil Bay. Venezuela and Ecuador, the only two Latin American countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, will begin joint construction of an oil refinery near Aromo, Ecuador, in 2010.
President Correa also took the opportunity to respond to critics of his decision in late September to accept the donation of six Mirage combat planes from Venezuela.