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(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
Text of interview with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez by Marin Pique: "Lavagna never criticized, but rather backed agreements", published by Argentine newspaper Pagina 12 website on 18 June; subheadings added editorially
The window on the fourth floor of the Sheraton Park Tower Hotel overlooks a plaza still in semi-darkness that seems desolate in the cold Sunday morning. The time was 0700 [local time] and the Retiro area of the city was deserted. The emptiness was barely broken by the vertical silhouette of the old Torre de los Ingleses, a landmark that is visible from the hotel. "Who built that tower?" ask the aides of Venezuela's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Rodriguez, speaking in their Caribbean accent. Smiling, they mention two things that are not very common in Caracas: wide streets and dog walkers. Ali Rodriguez listens in silence, and his face shows no change of expression. Leaning back in his chair, illuminated by a lamp that leaves half of his face in shadow, the foreign affairs minister concentrates on his interview with Pagina/12. Speaking in a low and measured tone that only picks up speed when he gives statistics on petroleum activity (which seems fitting for a former head of the powerful OPEC), he talks about his country's entry in Mercosur and announces new agreements between PDVSA [Venezuelan Petroleum] and Repsol. Then, without seeming at all perturbed and with a slight …