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.
Around 1.5 million Venezuelans have decided to emigrate in search of a better future for their families. The figure accounts to between 4% and 6% of the overall population. Approximately 88% of these expatriates have made up their mind to emigrate over the last 15 years.