Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi proposed a military alliance mirroring the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to counteract the influence of the US and Europe during the second Africa-South America summit held over the weekend in Margarita island, Venezuela and which convened almost sixty leaders.
“For African countries, it’s closer to visit our brothers in South America. We share the same interests of liberation and revolutionary ideals” said Qaddafi. “Colonialism humiliated us, insulted us and robbed us of our riches.”
President Hugo Chavez host of the summit said it was essential to diminish the influence of “imperialism” and boost ties with “brotherly” countries rich in mineral resources such as Angola and Nigeria, which are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.
“It’s a new hour in our history,” Chavez said. “We have many great leaders, many of them here today.” Chavez also announced accords with several African countries on joint mining and oil projects.
“We have the biggest permanent reservoir of clean water in the world and they call us the poor,” Ecuador President Rafael Correa said. The countries talked of working together to develop natural resources to reduce reliance on former imperial powers.
Along with a joint statement touching on concerns from reform of the UN Security Council to shipping piracy, countries also sought bilateral agreements. Venezuela signed a memorandum of understanding with Sierra Leone to create a joint mining company and will sign similar agreements with Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Namibia, Chavez said.
Venezuela also is working with Angola, Tanzania and South Africa on mining agreements, Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said in an e-mailed statement. Chavez wants Venezuela to build small steel mills in Mauritania and Tanzania, Sanz said.
Venezuela has proposed a joint state mining company for whatever countries in Africa and South America want to join, Chavez said.
“A state mining company of our own,” he said. “Here, we have recovered gold mines, iron mines. These important resources were in the private hands of the local bourgeoisie and multinationals and smugglers of all sorts.”
Chavez said his mining industry recently got “several billion dollars” in financing to be paid by dedicating a portion of gold, steel and diamond revenues to the debt. He didn’t give further details.