By Senabri Silvestre
SANTO DOMINGO, Dom. Rep. (AA) - Trinidad and Tobago signed a $50 million agreement with Venezuela to export manufactured goods to the South American country that has been hit by a deep economic crisis and food and medicine shortage.
This revolving fund, to be paid for with crude sales, seeks to provide significant relief to Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro said late Monday during an official visit to the Trinidadian capital of Port of Spain.
“Through this fund, we will be able to strengthen the trade flow between Trinidad and Tobago and the eastern part of Venezuela,” he added, following a meeting with Trinidadian Prime Minister Keith Rowley and Cabinet members at the Diplomatic Centre.
Both leaders, also, signed separate deals to exploit a gas field, conduct maritime patrols and intelligence exchange to fight drug trafficking and terrorism.
Rowley described Maduro’s visit as productive and useful.
“As we move on to the execution phase, the outcomes of these decisions will have far reaching positive consequences for the people of Venezuela and the people of TT,” he said.
As the leaders met inside, dozens of protesters outside, mostly Venezuelans living in Trinidad, demonstrated against Maduro.
Demonstrators banged pans and denounced the Venezuelan president who critics say is attempting to evade a presidential recall vote amid a political crisis Maduro has blamed on the CIA and U.S. regional allies.
A separate group of Muslim protesters demanded the release of five Trinidadians who have been imprisoned in Venezuela since 2014 on terrorism charges.
Rowley said Security Minister Edmund Dillon will travel to Venezuela later this month to negotiate their release.