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Chavez hosts alternative pre-summit in Venezuela

Thursday, April 16th 2009 - 06:54 UTC
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The Venezuelan city of Cumana is hosting the summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA), one of the newest regional cooperation initiatives created by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The meeting takes place hours before the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad Tobago.

Leaders from Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, ALBA members, besides Ecuador and Paraguay as observers, will analyze on Thursday cooperation projects and common stances in a significant time for the group and the region.

When the world is suffering hardship caused by an international financial crisis originated in the United States, the meeting will review the progress in a project for a common currency, according to an announcement by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who is the anchor man of the ALBA project.

The proposal, which for many critics is as hard to achieve as was once said about the Euro, (over half a century) has a draft chronogram which before establishing a physical normal currency, is working on a joint accounting unit, identified as Sucre. The ALBA project is part of a wider program that includes from joint ventures, called grand-nationals, to social initiatives in the health and education spheres.

Cumana, with around half a million inhabitants, 250 miles east of Caracas and on the Caribbean will be confirmed as the seat of the ALBA Fishing Fleet project, one of the cooperation initiatives that seek production of inexpensive food.

The company is made up of 51% shares belonging to the Venezuelan Agricultural Corporation and 49% to Cuba’s Pescavante company and will ultimately have an estimated fleet of 30 fishing vessels and 38 processing plants.

But as was to be expected the main issue in the Cumana gathering will be, according to announcements by President Hugo Chavez, to aim carefully at the Summit of the Americas, scheduled for April 17-19 in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Our artillery is getting ready” said Chavez in recent statements in which he also criticized that Cuba has been excluded from the meeting, as a result of US efforts to isolate the island.

Chavez and the rest of the ALBA presidents are staunchly against the US blockade on Cuba, and several of them have anticipated they will address the issue directly with US President Barack Obama at Trinidad and Tobago this coming week end.

Besides Chavez, the presidents who have announced their participation in the ALBA meeting are Danile Ortega from Nicaragua; Manuel Zelaya, Honduras; Evo Morales, Bolivia; Dominica Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit and a representative from Cuba. Ecuador’s Rafael Correa and Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo have also been confirmed.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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