Venezuela Pushes for Change of Mercosur at Summit

President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez said yesterday at the 31st Mercosur Summit in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, that its objective should be to profoundly change the organisation into one which truly develops the region and its people.

By Steven Mather - Venezuelanalysis.com
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Caracas,

January 20, 2007

(venezuelanalysis.com)—President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez said yesterday at the 31st MercosurSummit in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, that its objective shouldbe to profoundly change the organisation into one which truly develops theregion and its people.

“We come, in the first place, to propose,to continue debating, approving agreements, spaces, timetables and projects tostrengthen real integration, the integration of South America, to contribute tosomething that we consider absolutely necessary, the reformatting of Mercosur,”said Chávez.

He also said that Venezuela’s main proposal would befor a Mercosur Fund and a Southern Fund.The capital from these funds would be for the development of the region.He said that the real objective of these reforms would be to “decontaminateneo-liberalism from Mercosur.”

The conference is being attended by all ofthe presidents of South America except Peru’s Alan García, who has haddifferences with Chávez in the past.They did apparently heal those differences recently, however.

Mercosur was created in 1991 as aneo-liberal trade agreement by its first four members Argentina, Brazil,Paraguay and Uruguay.To most experts it is considered a failure asthe countries have consistently failed to abide by its rules.The lack of a formal dispute resolution mechanismhas exacerbated to these difficulties.

Venezuelaformally joined Mercosur only at the beginning of 2006 with a commitment toreforming the organisation.Chávez hasin mind the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), which would includeall the Latin American countries.

President Lula also spoke of his high hopesfor Mercosur.“There has never existed apolitical moment for the integration of our peoples like now,” he said, “Ourunion is necessary.Not even thestrongest of us will be able to solve our social problems that transversecountries.”

The countriesof Mercosur are also considering the incorporation of Bolivia into the body.They will report on their considerations in180 days.Bolivian President Evo Moralesasked to be considered for membership last December.

The bloc has agreed$70 million in projects that will include $12 million of social development, $5million to provide incentives to small companies and $5 million to build roadsin Uruguay.

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