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Interview with H.E.Mr.Rafael Angel Barreto Castillo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Venezuela
16 September 2010
H.E.Mr.Rafael Angel Barreto Castillo
photos by Ruslan Popov
Your Excellency, share with the readers of ADIS Magazine some of your best impressions from Bulgaria and your travels around the country?

First I would like to thank you so allow me to connect and presented a message to all Bulgarian friends. During our stay in the country, my wife and I did everything possible to know many places in your beautiful country. We made several trips from which impressions are really positive. The first impressive thing was the scenery and beauty of this country. Very often me and my wife take a ride and travel hundreds of miles across the country enjoying this vast, green plains, valleys, hills, the endless green expanse during the majority of the year. It really amazes us in a positive term, as we traveled in many other countries around the world without a view even close to yours.

And despite the difficulties encountered with the language since Bulgaria is a very difficult language, we have overcome them, so we always get along with people of the places where we've been. We have not had problems of this nature due to the famous hospitality of the Bulgarians.

Other thing that has astonished us is the existence of many Bulgarian ancient towns - smaller or larger, which have preserved their authentic appearance. These are Renaissance and Roman colonies on the Bulgarian seats Koprivshtitsa, Nessebar and the ethnographic complex Ethara. Care of the Government and local bodies to assist in their preservation and survival arouse our admiration.

If I can summarize what is most amazing and best of Bulgaria, which we saw during those years, the beauty of natural landscapes, humanity and friendly people.

Do you have a favorite place in Bulgaria?

Two are our favorite places in Bulgaria. The first one is the Rila monastery, although we are not very religious, but I think that such kind of beauty should be seen not only by religious ones but also by everyone who comes to your country. Rila Monastery is the place I bring my guests to. Veliko Turnovo with its hills and old houses comes second. It’s a really amazing and very beautiful town.

What is your favorite Bulgarian dish or wine?

Mrs. De Baretto:  Or favorite Bulgarian dishes are moussaka and stuffed peppers, arranged with a nice shopska salad. Do not forget the Bulgarian banitsa.

As comes to wine, I’d rather prefer Merlot. However it’s very difficult to talk about a particular wine, because Bulgaria is famous with so many world-class wines.
 

H.E.Mr.Rafael Angel Barreto Castillo & Mrs.De Barreto
photos by Ruslan Popov

Please, tell us more about your family.

I’m blessed with a very large family and we often gather on occasions. I have many children - six sons and daughters. Of course, all of them are grown-up people with their own professions and way of life. They all have their families and I enjoy many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We can boast of a family home full of many people. Family idyll always prevails in our home.
I’m blessed with a very large family and we often gather on occasions. I have many children - six sons and daughters. Of course, all of them are grown-up people with their own professions and way of life. They all have their families and I enjoy many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We can boast of a family home full of many people. Family idyll always prevails in our home.
 
 
Your Excellency, is there any object or character typical of Venezuela with emotional value for you that accompanies you during your mandate in Bulgaria?

Something that is typical Venezuelan, has emotional value and always bring with me is the knitted hammock you saw in the garden of the residence. When we were youngsters we were thought how to utilize the hammocks hanging in the yard of each Venezuelan house – how to swing it, how to play with it. However my favorite moment associated with this hammock is the ability to enjoy an afternoon Siesta. Hammock is hanging in our residence garden almost year-round, being removed only in the winter for obvious reasons.
 

H.E.Mr.Rafael Angel Barreto Castillo next to his favorite symbol of Venezuela -
the knitted hammock
photos by Ruslan Popov

Do you find any similarities between the people of Venezuela and Bulgaria?

Yes, we find many similarities between the Bulgarian and Venezuelan people. We share the same family values, such as family gatherings. As a common feature I consider the joy of life, the desire, dreams and aspirations of both people for a better life, the beauty of the Bulgarian and Venezuelan women.

Simon Bolivar, Latin American revolutionary, liberator and politician is an emblematic figure for Venezuela. Please share with our readers, what future initiatives you are planning for promoting Venezuelan history and culture?

Bulgarian people are quite familiar with the role of Simon Bolivar in our history. In Plovdiv there is a school that bears the name of our national hero - Simon Bolivar. We support their work and organize many events. Thanks to cooperation between the school and the Embassy of Venezuela we’ve launched a place, where children have the opportunity to study not only Spanish but to learn about history and culture of Venezuela as well. The school has established a small museum, presenting materials and symbols related to our country.

Mrs. De Baretto: we are currently working on setting up a large library of Hispanic literature.

We are always part of their celebrations on the occasion of the beginning and the end of the school year. Students themselves are part of our celebrations and events organized by the Embassy of Venezuela - they sing, draw and dance. For me, school life plays a significant role in the education and culture of a country.

As a result of many years of work of the whole Embassy stuff, a monument of Latin American Liberator, Simon Bolivar, has been inaugurated in Downtown Sofia – at Vazrazhdane Square.
 
The name of Simon Bolivar and his place in the history of Latin America are well known to the Bulgarian people and our initiatives are a good way to promote our culture and history.

This year marks 200 years of the independence of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Tell us more about the path Venezuela has been walking since then?

There are two important dates in the Venezuelan history - April 19th, 1810 and July 5th, 1811, which marked the beginning of the struggle for liberation from Spanish colonialism. And just this year started the big celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the independence of Venezuela, but also of whole Latin America. Since the beginning of this historical process, through all these years, we fought to win our sovereignty and democracy. Having walked a very difficult and long path, during which we had civil wars, internal struggles, dictatorships of so called democratic governments continue to tread this path, which for us is a revolution led by the President Hugo Chavez, who called this time, this revolution 21st-century socialism. In the name of the implementation and development of a program called Simon Bolivar National Plan for Development, we establish the beginning point of a new socialist ethics in pursuit of a ultimate social agenda and the introduction of democracy with the participation of the people of Venezuela thus achieving a new social geopolitics and the development of Venezuela as an international energy leader given (Venezuela is among top five of the largest oil exporters in the world) We want to find our place in the world geopolitics, uniting progressive nations.
 

The residence welcomes with the National Flag of Venezuela and the picture of the President - Hugo Chavez
photos by Ruslan Popov


Venezuela is known for its extremely rich and diverse scenery that attracts tourists from around the world. In 2008, a Treaty on cooperation in tourism was signed between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. What are the joint plans in this direction?

Yes, indeed we have incredible natural resources in our country - 2000 square meters beach with hundreds of small and large islands, snowy mountains, plains, valleys, jungles and desert areas inside the country. All Bulgarian people who wish to visit our country are welcomed in Venezuela. The island of Margarita is available for you. Welcome to our amazing nature reserves to see Angel, the highest waterfall in the world, or the snowy mountains of the Andes, charming Merida state or elsewhere in the country, which has to be seen.

Recently I read that Bulgaria is working on a plan for developing the rural tourism, which raises admiration and we would like to do something in this direction in our country. I sincerely hope that during the next Fifth Joint Intergovernmental Bulgarian-Venezuelan commission we’ll go deep into these direct plans and programmes.
 



At the residence of Venezuela
photos by Ruslan Popov

Your Excellency, would you like to send a brief message to the Bulgarian people.
 
We would like to once more express our sincere gratitude to the Bulgarian government and people for their warm reception during the years of my mandate here, in Bulgaria. For more than four years are enjoy the sincere friendship of many Bulgarians and have become part of this country’s life enjoying great peace and rest at the same time. You make us feel like we are in Venezuela!


This interview is produced solely to ADIS Magazine. No part of this interview may be reproduced in any other way without prior written consent of ADIS Real Estate.
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