Caracas, December 11, 2006 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has made his peace with his Peruvian counterpart Alan García at the South American Nations summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
The two had fallen out at the time of the Peruvian presidential elections in May this year when Chávez expressed support for García’s opponent Ollanta Humala, which resulted in García accusing Chávez of interfering in the campaign and called him a dictator and said he had “psychological problems.”
Chávez for his part called García a thief and a lap dog of US imperialism. However, he spoke in conciliatory terms at the summit. When he addressed the other leaders he referred to the Peruvian president as, “Alan, my friend, beginning today.”
When García spoke he gave the strong impression at the summit that things were now much better from his side too. “We are both polite and cordial people. Any previous comments are part of a previous chapter and have remained closed. We have had the opportunity to talk at the dinner. There is good chemistry between us. We have a social sense, each one in their reality, to seek the development that benefits the poorest and most excluded, in that there is a clear agreement,” he said.
The summit was intended to serve as a catalyst to drive forward the regional integration process. Currently, South American countries are divided into two trade pacts, Mercosur and CAN (Community of Andean Nations).
Chávez left no doubt where he stood on the integration issue, “ Never before in these 200 years have there been better conditions not just for the integration but for the reunification of our people. Only united can we be free, and only free can we fly”, he said.
The summit itself was attended by the presidents of Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and also Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega who was invited as a guest.
In another gesture surely designed to bring himself closer to Chávez, García spoke about the summit being in the spirit of Bolívar. Simón Bolívar is a Venezuelan independence leader who had dreams of a united Latin America. He is also a hero of Chávez.