At that moment, I burst into tears of happiness, as in my mind, Vietnam is a heroic nation. It has spectacular landscapes and the Vietnamese people are very hospitable. Especially, Vietnam is the homeland of President Ho Chi Minh, the leader for whom the Venezuelan people have a great love and respect. The Venezuelan people have built a statue of President Ho Chi Minh on Simon Bolivar Boulevard in the capital of Caracas.

Ambassador Juan Carlos Fernandes Juárez

Vietnam and Venezuela boast traditional and close-knit relations and friendship. The relationship between the two countries has continually been consolidated and developing over the past time as Vietnam and Venezuela share many similarities in the struggle to gain independence and freedom as well as in the path to national development.

I am full of sincere admiration for President Ho Chi Minh. President Ho Chi Minh, General Vo Nguyen Giap, Hero Simon Bolivar and President Hugo Chavez were outstanding figures who created the images of brave and heroic Vietnam and Venezuela.

Setting foot in cities, urban or rural areas in Venezuela, you will surely be surprised that local people know General Vo Nguyen Giap and show their admiration for the military genius and legendary general of Vietnam. At the Military Bolivarian University of Venezuela, all cadets learn about military tactics of the general, especially about the Dien Bien Phu Victory which “resounded throughout the five continents and was world-shaking.”

On July 31, 2006, Commander-in-Chief and President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez visited Vietnam and presented a sword similar to that used by Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar to Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap.

President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez presented a sword similar to the one used by Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar to General Vo Nguyen Giap during his visit to Vietnam on July 31, 2006.

At the headquarters of the Embassy of Venezuela in Hanoi, there is a photo capturing the moment President Hugo Chavez presenting Simon Bolivar's sword to General Vo Nguyen Giap. This photo became immortal and was seen as a vivid symbol of the friendship between Vietnam and Venezuela, showing the connection between the two generals and the two peoples as well. Every time I look at that photo, my emotions surge. It is also the commitment of the Venezuelan people to maintaining the good relationship between the two countries.

In my opinion, the Venezuelan and Vietnamese people, especially younger generations, should learn more about the history of the two countries and their friendship and solidarity. However, connecting the two peoples is concerning not only the past, but also the present and the future. Vietnam’s struggle for national liberation and post-war economic recovery are a bright example for Venezuela. The support and solidarity of Vietnam for Venezuela as well as that of Venezuela for Vietnam will continue to help us develop this good relationship.

Over the past time, there have been a number of delegations of ministries, sectors and enterprises from Vietnam visiting Venezuela to enhance cooperation. I agreed that the bilateral relations between the two countries should be further promoted and hoped that the intergovernmental committees of the two countries would actively take effective measures to boost cooperation with Vietnam, particularly in trade, aviation connection, health, and technology, to name but a few.

In 2023, despite many difficulties and challenges, Vietnam was still considered a highlight in the “gloomy picture” of the global economy. The macro-economy was stable; the major balances of the economy were guaranteed; and the country's GDP growth rate was estimated at over 5 percent, which was quite high compared to many countries in the region and the world. I think that the organization, development, and participation of all economic sectors are a typical example for the world.

In addition, the voice of Vietnam in the international arena carries more weight as the country has won its seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2023-2025 tenure, which will help a responsible country like Vietnam prove its position by following the principles of solidarity and respecting the right to self-determination of nations. The fact that Vietnam has a legitimate voice in the UNHRC is significant, especially at present, as the world is experiencing hard times. Well aware of that, the Vietnamese Party and State have raised their voice and it has been welcomed by the international community.

In 2023, Vietnam’s economy obtained impressive outcomes and its position and prestige in the international arena were enhanced. Meanwhile, Vietnam is also home to a diverse and rich culture, which is imbued with national identity.

I have been in Vietnam for a while; therefore, I am very curious about Vietnamese culture. Through learning from books, newspapers and friends who have lived in Vietnam for a long time, I have a better understanding of the Vietnamese people, especially the lunar New Year (Tet) - a sacred moment marking the transition between the old year and the new one. This is also the time for family reunion. All family members look back upon what they have done in the previous year and look forward to the future. The Vietnamese people celebrate Tet with a lot of joy. Before Tet, people often buy flowers and Tet decorative items to decorate their houses, etc. That brings a special and bustling atmosphere of Tet celebration preparations.

This is the first time I have celebrated the Tet holiday in Vietnam. I feel moved with emotion. I will enjoy the Chung cake and decorate the embassy and my house to welcome the new year. The Chung cake reminds me of the typical Venezuelan dish called Hallacas. This cake is made from corn flour and meat and wrapped in banana leaves.

On the occasion of the lunar New Year 2024, I would like to extend congratulations to all Vietnamese people and extend my best wishes of good health, happiness, peace and prosperity for the year of the Dragon.


Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Vietnam

Translated by Quynh Oanh