VIO News Blog

June 30, 2008

Venezuela at the Forefront of Regional Cooperation

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 10:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

President Chavez said last Friday that he and Colombia’s Uribe are “accepting each other with whatever differences there may be.” The AP reports that they will meet in July — the first time since Colombia’s campaign to accuse Venezuela and Ecuador of aiding FARC rebels. Last week, President Chavez signed 21 new cooperation agreements with Brazilian President Lula da Silva (pictured here). According to the Caracas newspaper El Universal, deals were made in energy, trade, the environment, telecommunications, and border security. “We are showing that progress can be made toward actual integration among the peoples,” Lula said.

Also in regional news, leaders of the 7 member countries of the Bank of the South met Friday. They announced that the institution begins with $10 billion in startup capital. The AP reports that the Bank of the South will have interest rates favorable to those of other international financial institutions. It will offset dependence on conditional loans from the IMF and World Bank among member nations Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Meanwhile, the AFP reports that the World Petroleum Congress is taking place in Madrid this week. An IPS article indicates that this meeting and others demonstrate “a new global energy order that is emerging under the weight of soaring oil prices.”

A Washington Post column by Jackson Diehl once again wrongly states that President Chavez is a “dictator” and cheers the opposition. The Post promotes an opposition candidate for mayor who is among many barred from participating in local elections due to corruption charges. The candidate, Leopoldo Lopez, frequently tours Washington to drum up anti-Chavez sentiment, and this time claimed the Venezuelan leader fears that the U.S. “might press for democracy in Venezuela.” However, polls show that Venezuelan citizens are more satisfied with the state of their democracy than most others in the region. A Wall Street Journal briefing also wrongly deems President Chavez a “dictator,” and repeats the unproven claim made by Colombian officials that he aided the FARC.

Finally, the AP reports that a high-ranking military officer in Venezuela took his opposition to the government to the Supreme Court. He challenged the slogan, “fatherland, socialism or death — we will triumph,” as unconstitutional. Apart from the formal legal challenge, the officer vaguely called on Venezuelan troops to “do what they need to do to uphold their duty.” Another challenge comes from the Miami Herald, which reports that a new reformist church in Venezuela that views the president favorably is disparaged by some. The church does not condemn divorce or homosexuality, and is “inclusive, participatory and with a strong Bolivarian spirit that recognizes Jesus Christ as the Lord of History.”

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