Details of the visit to London of Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, were announced today by the Mayor’s office.
Speaking about the visit Mr Livingstone described Latin America as “an increasingly important world economic region” stressing that “London’s future depends of establishing strong links with the world’s great emerging economies.”
Defending the visit, which has been attacked by some, Mr Livingstone called the President “a beacon of democracy and social progress” in the region who has enjoyed “an unprecedented record of electoral success”.
President Chavez arrives in London on Sunday when he will address a meeting on Venezuela’s social reforms hosted by the Mayor.
On Monday he will meet trade union leaders at the Trades Union Congress. This will be followed by a press conference at City Hall after which he’ll attend a lunch hosted by the Mayor. There will then be a reception at the House of Commons, followed by a Canning House lecture.
The President will not be meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair who he has previously denounced as “the main ally of Hitler” for his support of US President George Bush.
Robert Neill, Leader of the London Assembly Conservative Group, has refused to attend the lunch stating that “President Chavez is not a person whom I wish to meet and I do not believe he is an appropriate person to entertain at City Hall.”