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Montevideo, February 23rd 2024 - 04:39 UTC



Continental challenges.

Thursday, January 4th 2001 - 20:00 UTC
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Colombia and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez figure strongly in the continental agenda of the incoming American administration. The Colombian peace talks between the elected government and guerrilla organisations are but exhausted and the US sponsored "Colombia Plan" that includes a 1,4 billion US dollars military aid package and promises to spill the conflict to neighbouring countries, has yet to receive the backing from other Latinamerican leaders. President Chavez from Venezuela, --US fourth oil supplier--, not only has become a "constitutional" autocrat after forcing seven elections in two years, but spearheaded OPEC's policy to push oil prices (37 US dollars a barrel), and broke the UN embargo by visiting Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Furthermore the former paratrooper received Cuban leader Fidel Castro in a state visit to Venezuela and has sponsored Colombian guerrillas saying that they are combating the "Colombian oligarchy, as I did in Venezuela". Elected president Bush has openly backed the "Plan Colombia", but it's no quiet clear how he will react to a Venezuelan president with so many international initiatives. The incoming president has promised full support for Mexican president Vicente Fox, who last year changed history when he openly defeated the Institutional Revolutionary Party that ruled Mexico almost unchallenged for the last seventy years. Mexico has become the US main trading partner, and as a former Texas governor, Mr. Bush is well aware of the immigration and drug problems of the long border. Further south Mr. Bush will meet with a more confident and strong Brazil that after the 98/99 financial crisis has experienced a spectacular comeback and is undoubtedly a regional leader plus number one in Mercosur. The test will take place next April in Quebec where the all Americas summit is scheduled. Another challenge for Mr. Bush is the Americas Free Trade Association, born under the auspices of his father's term but which was stalled during president Clinton's eight years, unable to obtain the "fast track" legislation from Congress. It's hard to anticipate if Mr. Bush will manage the precious authorisation from a split even Congress after the most disputed US elections in

Categories: Mercosur.

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