President Chávez laments the death of Kim Jong Il
Trade between the two countries plunged since 2007
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez sent condolences to North Korean authorities expressing the "most sincere sorrow" for the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, on behalf of "all Venezuelans," after learning about the death of his "comrade."
President Chávez said that he has full confidence that North Koreans will move "toward a prosperous and peaceful future," according to a Venezuelan foreign ministry statement.
In the text, the government expressed its willingness to "keep walking along with sovereign nations for the auto-determination of countries and world peace."
Trade between Caracas and Pyongyang significantly increased when President Chávez took office in 1999, but it has dwindled since 2007, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.