Venezuela Proposes New Regional Currency During ALBA Summit

In a speech at the III Extraordinary Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in Caracas on Wednesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez proposed the creation of a regional monetary bloc with its own currency to break the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and U.S.-dominated international financial institutions.

By James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis.com

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The presidents of ALBA member countries and associates in Caracas Wednesday
The presidents of ALBA member countries and associates in Caracas Wednesday
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Caracas, November 28th, 2008 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- In a speech at the III Extraordinary Summit of the
Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in Caracas on Wednesday, Venezuelan President
Hugo Chávez proposed the creation of a regional monetary bloc with its own currency
to break the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and U.S.-dominated international
financial institutions.

“We are going to create a proposal for a monetary zone of
solidarity-based commercial exchange,” said Chávez. “The hegemony of the dollar
must end.”

The currency would start out as a virtual compensation
system, and later become a hard currency, Chávez explained. It would make Latin
American countries less susceptible to the effects of the world financial
crisis, he said.

Chávez suggested that the name of the currency be the Sucre, in honor of
Antonio José de Sucre, a South American independence hero. SUCRE also stands for Unified Regional
Compensation System, translated from Spanish.

The ALBA is an alternative trade bloc to the U.S.-backed
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and its members include Honduras, Nicaragua,
Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela,
Dominica, and Ecuador
as an associate.

Chávez also said the ALBA member countries must construct
their own solutions to the world financial, food, and ecological crises. “We
are not going to wait here with our arms crossed for the World Bank or the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) to come and solve the problems for us,” said
Chávez. “We have things to say, the South also exists.”

“We will leave the Inter-American Development Bank and we
will make our own bank, a bank that we ourselves manage,” said Chávez. “Can
anyone imagine that the solution will come from Washington, from those who generated the
crisis?”

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said “the time has arrived
to review” the participation of ALBA member countries in the IMF and other
financial institutions.

Chávez said these institutions “must be dissolved” because
they are the “culprits of the crisis” and they only exist as “an imperialist
hand to dominate us.”

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who participated in the
summit, said the ALBA “has established bases that put us in an advantageous
position amidst the world economic crisis.”

Bolivian President Evo Morales also advocated mutual support
among countries in the region, which is one of the ALBA’s principles. “Those of
us who believe in life have no other path than to choose to work together and
complement each other for the benefit of all,” said Morales.

“In Capitalism, there are no human beings, but consumers,
there is no Mother Earth, but raw materials, and great assymetries exist among
families, countries, and continents,” Morales asserted.

Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador,
asked for support from ALBA member countries as he seeks international
tribunals to relieve Ecuador
of debt incurred by past governments which operated according to the values of
U.S.-dominated international financial institutions.

“We ask the ALBA to back us. It is necessary to make the
truth known… this debt is illegitimate and we have no reason to pay,” said Correa.
“I assure you, we will make sensible and responsible decisions… we can achieve
much more if we are united.”

While presenting the final declaration of the summit, President
Chávez proposed that ALBA countries create debt auditing commissions to support
debt-burdened countries such as Ecuador
and “begin evaluating ourselves and supporting other nations in this task.”

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