Africa-South America Summit in Venezuela Cements South-South Collaboration

Creating a new Radio of the South, formalising the Bank of the South, criticising the make-up of the UN Security Council, and supporting Honduran President Manuel Zelaya were among the outcomes at the second Africa-South American Summit (ASA) that was held this weekend on Margarita Island, Venezuela.
The Africa-South America (ASA) Summit (María Cecilia Toro/PP)

Mérida, September 27th, 2009 ( – Creating a
new Radio of the South, formalising the Bank of the South, criticising the make-up
of the UN Security Council, and supporting Honduran President Manuel Zelaya
were among the outcomes at the second Africa-South American Summit (ASA) that
was held this weekend on Margarita Island, Venezuela.

Heads of state from 61 countries, 49 from Africa and 12 from South
America, participated in the summit, with the theme of "Closing gaps, opening
up opportunities."

Radio of the South

The Summit launched the Radio of the South, a network of radio
stations driven by Venezuelan National Radio (RNV), which, as it says in its
mission statement, aims to bring the revolutionary struggles of the people of
the South to the forefront, and to promote the union of peoples of the South
through information exchange and cross-national collaboration.

Initially the radio network will reach 40% of Venezuela, as well
as integrating 18 radio stations in Argentina, 10 in Colombia, 4 in Bolivia, 4
in Honduras and Uruguay, 3 in Panama, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Brazil, Mexico, and the
U.S, 2 in Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, and Haiti, and 1 in Guatemala, Dominican
Republic, Chile, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea.

A team of translators in Caracas will bring the programming to
Gambia Radio, whose news will also be translated into Spanish. A similar
exchange will be carried out with Radio Benin and Algeria's International Radio.

Programming will include 35% Venezuelan and Latin American music,
and Radio of the South studios in Caracas will produce a third of the
programming, while the rest will be produced by allied radios across America
and Africa. The radio can also be listened to live on the internet at

Bank of the South

During the Summit on Saturday, the heads of state of Argentina,
Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, and Venezuela signed a document to form the
Bank of the South, which will have a starting capital of US$20 billion. Venezuela
will contribute $4 billion, as will Brazil and Argentina, with other countries
also contributing according to their capacity.

"It will be our bank, to bring back the reserves that we have up
there in north that they use to give credits to us," Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez

"The transfer of resources from the South to the North is a
tremendous figure and they lend that money back to us with interest rates far
superior to what they pay us…but we're not stupid, we are waking up and they
won't keep manipulating us with this tale of the ‘free market,'" Chavez said.

The constituting agreement says the bank will have its
headquarters in Caracas and offices in Buenos Aires and La Paz. It will only
lend to member countries and can lend to a range of organisations, including
private companies, cooperatives, and state organisations, but taking into
consideration the extent to which they generate food, energy, health, natural
resources or knowledge sovereignty. It will also encourage development projects.

"The bank of the south is strategic… I think we should go even
further and gradually put together our own South-South financial system,"
Chavez said, adding that in the future, "We have to create…a South-South bank
or the Bank of ASA, Banasa."

For a fairer UN Security Council

In order to achieve more "balance," the ASA conference called for
a reformation of the UN Security Council, in which 5 countries (China, France,
Russia, the UK and the US) are permanent members and have veto power.

In a document passed by the summit, the ASA countries stated the
need for "a greater participation of developing countries in South America and
Africa…in order to correct the current imbalance and make this Council a more
democratic, transparent, representative, effective and legitimate organisation
that responds to the new political realities."

The document continued, "We praise the efforts carried out in the
inter-governmental negotiations on this issue, in conformity with decision
62/55 of the General Assembly of the UN."


Regarding the recent coup in June in Honduras and the return of legitimate
president Manuel Zelaya to the country on 21 September, when he sought refuge
in the Brazilian embassy, Brazil proposed a declaration on Honduras to ASA,
which was approved unanimously.

The Declaration condemned the coup of 28 June and demanded the
immediate and unconditional return of Zelaya to his position as president and
that the Honduran coup regime comply with the Vienna Convention regarding the
inviolability of diplomatic missions.

"The heads of state of South America and Africa meeting on
Margarita Island on 26 and 27 September express their deep concern for the
current political situation in Honduras," the declaration said.

Venezuela's participation in the

Chavez proposed, and the summit approved, a proposal that
Venezuela take on the responsibility of organising the ASA secretariat from now
on. The secretariat would meet on Margarita Island and would ensure
implementation of the plans and projects coming out of the summit.

Chavez said that in order to turn "ideas into projects" he should be
permitted to head up the secretariat, and that what were previously working
groups could be turned into presidential commissions.

During the summit, Venezuela also signed notes of understanding
for the formation of joint mining ventures with Sierra Leone, Mali, Namibia,
Niger, and Mauritania. Chavez announced that he had signed an agreement of
cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations to
assist with the battle against hunger in Africa by providing seeds, fertiliser,
and other farming technology.

"[ASA] is a vital mechanism, it's the union of
South America with Africa… We'll prove that we are a big power and that the
union of these two powers, South America and Africa, will contribute to what
[Simon] Bolivar said, the equilibrium of the world," Chavez said.