Venezuela's President, Hugo Chávez, congratulated Barack Obama for his "historic election" on Tuesday and confirmed his desire to establish "new relations" with the United States and re-launch "a constructive bilateral agenda" for the wellbeing of the two peoples.
"In this day of hope for Americans, President Hugo Chávez, on behalf of the people of Venezuela, congratulates the people of the United States and the president-elect Barack Obama for his important victory," reads a statement of the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as reported by AFP.
Chávez, who expelled US ambassador to Venezuela Patrick Duddy in mid-September, is a major critic of the United States and of the outgoing president George W. Bush. The Venezuelan president trusted that "the historic election of an Afro-American is a sign that the change of an era in South America may be knocking on the doors of the United States."
"From the homeland of Simón Bolívar (the South American independence leader), we are convinced that the time has come to establish a new relation between our countries and with our region based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, equality and real cooperation," read the statement.
A shipment of over 30,000 tons of phosphate arrived at Puerto Cabello port in late July on board the Shi Long Ling, a Chinese-flagged vessel that began its long journey in northern Africa. The cargo boat docked on July 26 after traveling more than 3,200 nautical miles. Undoubtedly, this would just be considered one in many cargo ships crisscrossing the oceans if it were not for the fact that Venezuela has denounced Western Sahara occupation by Morocco and yet purchases the territory's natural resource products from the occupying power.