Walter Marquez: Venezuela's ambassador to Delhi

Vol 4, PW 24 (17 Jan 01) People & Policy

He's not your typical diplomat.

Confined to a wheelchair, Walter Marquez, the bespectacled, casually dressed, 50-something ambassador of Venezuela to Delhi, is, if anything, an outstanding role model for the world's disabled. More, this energetic man is the driving force between a dramatic surge in commercial ties between Caracas and Delhi.

In the 18 months since Marquez assumed his post, Venezuelan exports to India have shot up from $5m in 1999 to a staggering $210m last year. Talking to Petrowatch at Petrotech-2001, Marquez said he expects it to touch $500m by 2001.

Admittedly, most of the money is generated by crude sales to Reliance Petroleum. "India and Venezuela have two thing in common," said a smiling Marquez, "Winning beauty contests and petroleum.

He adds: " We also hope to sign a joint venture for beauty contests!" Why the attraction for India "We know India needs 2m barrels a day (b/d) but produces only 650,000 b/d," he adds, "Our aim is not only to sell crude. We have a deficit in dairy products, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and IT.

All this we want to buy from India." As ambassador, Marquez stresses the 'Government-to-Government' and 'South-South' nature of commercial ties between Delhi and Caracas. Trade with India, he said, is one of his government's top priorities.