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Chavez Leans On Andean Nations To Cut Free Trade With USA

Venezuela could change its decision to withdraw from the Community of Andean Nations (CAN) if neighboring Colombia and Peru were willing to reconsider their free trade deals with the United States, President Hugo Chavez said on Monday.

“I would be willing to reconsider out decision if Colombia and Peru reconsider their free trade agreements with the United States,” Chavez told a news conference after receiving a letter from Bolivian President Evo Morales, who asked him to reconsider his stance.

Last week, Chavez said that Venezuela would leave CAN, saying that it had been fatally wounded by the Colombian and Peruvian free trade agreements with Washington.

If a member of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) were to sign a free trade deal with the United States with similar terms, that organization would be dead too, the president added. Fortunately, Mercosur members have no such plans, Chavez said.

Venezuela has also been moving to become a full member of Mercosur, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay…

(I found this interesting. I think Chavez is more than a little crazy, but neither he nor anti-US sentiment in South America should be ignored. After all, he isn’t the only “socialist”, anti-US leader over there.)

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  1. The reason for this growing “anti-Americanism” as Americans describe it (and what a useless phrase) is the failure of neo-liberalism to deliver on its false promises of prosperity.

    What’s actually falling apart – step by step – is the “Washington consensus” – that is, the economic arrangement which took hold following the jettisoning of the post war established Bretton Woods model.

    Washington’s economic domination of S. America through neoliberal mechanisms has produced tremendous wealth for local elites and a thin slice of middle classlings but grinding poverty for most people.

    Consequently, people are increasingly weary of following Washington’s dictates and have started to search for alternatives.

    I disagree that Chavez is “more than a little crazy”. Far from perfect, to be sure (a bland statement, but there it is) but his efforts to redirect Venezuelan oil wealth to domestic needs instead of – primarily – multinational profit taking represent a major breakthrough in US/Latin America relations and are reviving the Bolivarian spirit so desperately needed.

    I suggest David Harvey’s “A Brief History of Neoliberalism” for a comprehensive review of the history and economics.


  2. Napalm Dog Napalm Dog

    I wonder about the sanity of anyone who wants to lead a country.

  3. Bola Bola

    What Chavez is doing is using the power of the oil to “free” his country from the USA control. Morales can do that with the Bolivian cocain!!!

  4. Glauco Rocco Glauco Rocco

    Yes, he is crazy, no, he isn’t redirecting oil wealth to “domestic needs”, he is redirecting oil wealth to keep his power, blackmail other countries, kill jobs, and make us poorer. Ah, and the bolivarian spirit is like the Marx spirit for Lenin and Stalin.

    I live in Venezuela, and i’m poorer everyday.

    In a constructive statement, i guess the real problem is Chavez love for CastroComunism, which is essentially anti-americanism without reason.

  5. G. Rocco wrote:

    he [Chavez] is redirecting oil wealth to keep his power, blackmail other countries, kill jobs, and make us poorer. Ah, and the bolivarian spirit is like the Marx spirit for Lenin and Stalin.



    An astounding list of evils.

    Let’s conduct a thought experiment: compare and contrast the efforts made by Venezulan governments – pre Chavez – to address the needs of the majority of your nation’s citizens and the efforts being made now. If you are honest, you’ll note the dramatic changes, funded by petro revenue.

    Regarding Chavez’s enthusiasm for Cuba…

    The fact Cuban doctors come from a Marxist/Leninist state (merely a faded label at this point) obviously troubles you. I’m sure not having access to doctors at all in the years prior to these physicians’ arrival troubled poor Venezulans more.

    The fact you’re Venezulan is significant but not automatic evidence of accurate knowledge.

    I live in the U.S. Does this mean I thoroughly understand every element of my very large and complex nation? Ideology very often trumps a sober consideration of data.

    In any event, Ellis’ space is the not the venue for this sort of circular discussion because your reply – which will, predictably, arrive in the form of yet still more useless red baiting – is sure to come and it’s pointless to go back and forth burning up bandwidth in a debate that convinces no one of no thing.

  6. not all of South America hates the U.S.; ask Paraguay about their recently approved American military base. closer to Brazil than most would like.

    it’s interesting how academics love Chavez – and apparently most of the population do too, but you can’t trust their news sources completely – while things don’t look that pretty in the daily basis.

  7. Glauco Rocco Glauco Rocco

    Ummm, red baiting. Nope.

  8. From Wikipedia: “Red-baiting is the act of accusing someone, or some group, of being communist, socialist or, in a broader sense, of being significantly more leftist at their core than they may appear at the outset. The term is used mainly with the intention of discrediting the individual’s or organization’s political views as dishonest and/or haphazard.”
    I’d say you were red-baiting.

    So if Chavez isn’t redirecting the oilwealth to benefit those previously excluded from participatig in it, where is the money going? Venezuela isn’t ‘Tropico’.

  9. Anders wrote (to G. Rocco):

    I’d say you were red-baiting.



    Over the years, I’ve noted how anti-Chavez debaters rarely address the question of the poor’s pre Chavez status and their situation now.

    It’s always communism this and dictator that or simply, ‘he’s crazy’ (and from time to time, if a debater is truly foolish, Hitler will get tossed into the pot as a point of comparison) but never how things were for the dispossessed before and the real hope they’re experiencing now.

    There are several reasons for this. One of the most prominent is addressed by Richard Gott in this (somewhat dated, but still instructive) piece for the Guardian titled “Racist rage of the Caracas elite” –

    Needless to say, things aren’t perfect (as someone will no doubt blandly point out, thinking themselves to have offered deep analysis) but for the first time in a long time actual progress is being made in communities the glittering classes conveniently step over.

  10. G. Rocco G. Rocco

    I blame my poor english. I thought it meant that i was about to make a reply, then you will reply, then i will reply, and then Mr. Ellis will come and hit us with the cane for using this as a political soapbox to make believe we are better informed, or the other is less, or who is better.

    I’m off to read comics.

  11. Adam Adam

    other countries standing up to the us? how dare they.

  12. halcyonseven halcyonseven

    Oh… wow… some of you amaze me. Yes maybe we will all be so lucky to live under a lovely leader like Chavez someday who is so BRAVE to stand up to the big bad US. What a wonderful man. He must be an amazing leader indeed. Don’t listen to the person who lives in the country just rely on whatever your communist social studies professer sold you to justify your ignorance. God. Really.

  13. WilliamV WilliamV


    I apologise to Mr Ellis for the new interruption, but sincerely feel Mr Dwayne is perhaps a few snadwiches short of a pic-nic.

    A few simple questions:
    – Where is Gral. Silvino Bustillos? He “disappeared” a few months ago, in the best style of the Argentienan gorillas from the 70’s.
    – Could you please explain here the positive aspects of the Maisanta list? Or is it “a fabrication of foreign saboteurs”?
    – What would you do in the US if you were told that your vote is no longer secret (with available proof) and is known by the incumbent GOP?



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