Venezuela is set to establish a cultural centre in the Syrian capital Damascus, boosting bilateral relations between the South American country and the Syrian regime.
The Venezuelan Ambassador Jose Gregorio Biomorgis and Syrian Assistant Minister of Culture Sanaa Al-Shawa met yesterday to discuss the initiative, agreeing that the Venezuelan centre in the capital would serve as a message from the two countries to the rest of the world that they are able to continue cultural activities despite the internal political crises they are both facing.
The scheduled time for the opening of the centre is 20 September, which will coincide with the week of Venezuelan culture in Syria.
Speaking at the meeting, Biomorgis said: "Venezuela will be the first country to open a cultural centre in Syria after the unjust siege imposed on this nation," referring to the ongoing nine-year-long civil war raging in Syria. Ever since protests erupted in 2011 and President Bashar Al-Assad's brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors, the regime has been subjected to international condemnation due to its use of mass arrests, disappearances, torture and the rampant bombardment of civilians.
Throughout the Assad regime's isolation, only a few countries have maintained direct relations with it and provided it with diplomatic and military support. This small network of countries, known popularly as the 'Axis of Resistance' due to their claim of resisting Western and foreign imperialism, consists of Iran, Russia, Venezuela and proxy militias such as Hezbollah.
Apart from being one of the members of that 'axis', Venezuela faces much of the same problems as Syria: its President Nicolas Maduro faces internal political opposition, a refugee exodus has been fleeing from the country over the past few years, and the economy is going through a huge crisis, as well as both countries having had US sanctions imposed on them.