Chavez prefers Mercosur to Andean integration.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez admitted he prefers Venezuela's integration to Mercosur over the Andean Community of Nations, CAN, which he described as an agreement of elites.
Mr. Chavez said that with Venezuela as an associate member of Mercosur, the block "now extends up to the Caribbean", adding that "we now feel belonging to a true mechanism of integration with a very strong political determination", such as that showed by the presidents of Brazil, Lula da Silva; Argentina Nestor Kirchner and Nicanor Duarte from Paraguay.
In his Sunday program broadcast "Hello president", Mr. Chavez recalled last week's visit of Argentine president Kirchner who "proposed me another meeting next September and a round of trade and economic complementation talks", with the purpose of confirming a joint promotion strategy for Mercosur.
Regarding CAN, Mr. Chavez insisted Venezuela was among the founders of the idea, but "it was born as a pact among elites", and in spite of all efforts to re-launch the Caratagena agreement, "it's difficult, but we still have faith and we are determined to strengthen relations among Andean countries".
CAN is made up of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
"Now Venezuela truly belongs to where she must stand, a new Mercosur which is being built as an alternative to imperialism; an integration system that does not include countries with asymmetrical economies", emphasized President Chavez.
The Venezuelan president also revealed that one of the several agreements signed with president Kirchner includes the creation of a South American bank "to free us from the International Monetary Fund, because only united can we effectively be free".
"Next September when we meet we'll further advance in talks to supply Argentina with steel and aluminum for their naval industry and about the invitation for Petróleos de Venezuela to establish itself in the gasoline and lubricant retail market".
Mercosur full members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Associate members at different degree, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico. Mercosur and CAN have been negotiating for years a trade agreement.