For the first time during the administration of President Chávez, Venezuela and the United states have established a sister city accord. The agreement was signed by the mayors of the cities of Carora and Milwaukee, Edgar Carrasco and Tom Barrett, respectively. The mayors expressed satisfaction at having set a precedent that will benefit both cities in economic development, agriculture, health care, education, cultural exchange, social conscience and tourism.
“President Chávez has always valued relations with other countries and that people should get to know one another,” said Carrasco in an article published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. “Our governments may have their differences, but this does not limit our countries’ abilities to get to know one another,” he noted.
With the signing of this accord, the two cities broke with the traditional paradigm that establishes cooperative relations strictly at a federal level, thus continuing in the policies established by the Venezuelan government that seek to increase the common good under a system of interaction between peoples.
The Venezuelan delegation visited community centers such as “Council for the Spanish Speaking”, “Esperanza Unida” and “United Community Center”; these three organizations provide social services in education, at subsidized prices, to the city’s Latino community. The goal of these visits was to explore opportunities for educational exchanges within the framework of the sister city agreement.
The agreement was the product of work by several parties, including, on the part of Venezuela, the Consulate of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Chicago and authorities from Torres Municipality, led by current Mayor Edgar Carrasco and former Mayor Julio Chávez. For the United States, “The Peace Education Project of Peace Action Wisconsin”, the Milwaukee City Council, Council Member Joe Davis and Mayor Tom Barrett worked on the agreement.
Along with the signing of the accord, Mayor Carrasco’s agenda included meetings with the media, elected officials and community organizations to raise awareness about the achievements of the Community Council and participatory budgeting of his municipality. The city of Carora (Torres Municipality, state of Lara) has become and is currently known as a prime example of these topics in Venezuela.
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / March 25, 2009