Chile and Brazil Sign Bilateral Agreements in Education, Culture and Research
President Piñera met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Saturday morning to sign several agreements. One day later, the Brazilian leader was forced to return to Brazil after a deadly nightclub fire in Santa Maria.
SANTIAGO – This weekend the Chilean and Brazilian presidents signed a number of bilateral agreements and affirmed their commitment to strengthening cooperation between the two countries.
“We have signed three cooperation agreements between Brazil and Chile, in three important fields for both countries: the field of education, the field of culture and the field of the Antarctic continent, where we can certainly work closely,” President Piñera said after Saturday’s meeting in La Moneda Palace.
In education, the presidents signed a memorandum of understanding to allow academic exchange at higher, postgraduate and technical education levels to encourage the mutual learning of Spanish and Portuguese between the countries.
In culture, the leaders signed a cultural exchange agreement for the years 2013 to 2015 whereby each country will take measures to publicize the other country’s arts, heritage and craftsmanship.
And in terms of research, the countries agreed to joint scientific investigation projects in the Antarctic territory.
The Brazilian president highlighted the importance of the relationship between the two nations.
“The commercial relationship…is quite significant,” she said. “And for this reason President Piñera has made it clear that we can cooperate more, which is why we hope to have major agreements between the Chilean and Brazilian countries.”
“Although we do not share borders, we have great possibilities for cooperation,” she added.
The signing of the agreements came a day before President Rousseff was forced to return to Brazil in the aftermath of a fire in a Brazilian nightclub that killed at least 232 people.
The fire allegedly occurred when a pyrotechnics display caused the roof of the Santa Maria nightclub to be set alight, and fire extinguishers in the club did not work.
In addition to those killed, a further 120 people were injured, with 90 hospitalised for burns and smoke inhalation.
In a news conference on Sunday morning in Santiago, President Rousseff announced that she would return to Brazil immediately.
“It’s a tragedy for all of us,” she said. “The Brazilian people are the ones who need me now and it’s there I need to be. I want to tell the people of Santa Maria in this time of sadness that we are all in this together.”
President Rousseff visited survivors at a local hospital late on Sunday.