Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez underlined the importance of Latinamerican unity to ensure the region’s “freedom”, questioned the IMF capability to address the global economic crisis and was full of praise for the Kirchner administrations that face a crucial mid term election next month.
During a press conference in Buenos Aires where he arrived Friday to sign several agreements with her counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Chavez said “we’ve come to ratify the strong commitment of marching side by side with Argentina” towards an “alternative for the neo-liberal economic policies” which have exposed the weakness of capitalism.
Paraphrasing the Argentine guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Chavez said both countries “are one step, half a step ahead of the current international chaos”.
“Fortunately our peoples not only reacted on time sounding the alarm, but were also capable of an alternative path to the neo-liberal model, which has collapsed the whole system”, said Chavez.
He added that each time he arrives in Buenos Aires, “we feel at home, at the big house”.
“I’ve never forgotten when we arrived here for the first time ten years ago, and looking around we saw nothing of our interest. But then from Caracas one day we saw the Argentine people out in the streets: it was a revolution, and from the 2001 crisis came out Nestor, an unknown character and later you President Cristina”.
“I spoke with Nestor, my friend, and wished him the best of luck in the coming elections. It’s up for the Argentine people to decide who they will support” said Chavez.
He went on to say that “nobody knows were this crisis is taking us” and regarding the IMF he underlined that he doubted very much “the same financial architecture that has caused all these problems can offer a solution to the mess”.
“Only united can we be free”, he emphasized and for this “the axis Caracas-Buenos Aires is vital” and that is why “we are asking “respectful relations” from Washington towards Latinamerica and an end to the Cuban blockade.
“We are all thinking positive to achieve respectful relations. The only thing we are asking and not solely for Venezuela, but for the rest of Latinamerica is respect”
Further on the said his government, “for the moment” is not thinking of nationalizing other banks, as will happen with the Banco de Venezuela, which belongs to the Spanish Santander group.
“Are we thinking of nationalizing other banks? not for the moment”, was Chavez reply. He added that next week the Venezuelan government and the Santander group would be signing a letter of intent with all the details for the take over.
“All is running fine and easy, in spite of all the noise” he pointed out recalling that Santander was already thinking of selling the bank because they had signed a document to that effect. However he refused to give details of the money involved in the transaction.