VIO News Blog

August 5, 2008

South America Plans Increased Cooperation

The Washington Post and Associated Press report on Citgo’s newest endeavor at corporate responsibility – this time in the form of a $1.5 million donation to a Maryland-based advocacy organization dedicated to aiding low-income and immigrant workers – in the Washington DC metro area.  Citgo’s donation will help the non-profit replicate the successful model of cooperatives that has flourished in Venezuela in recent years. According to CASA de Maryland, comprehensive educational, vocational training, and economic development programs will be created through the grant and will serve about 5,000 low-income participants. 

A group of 26 new laws passed on the last day of the Enabling Law by President Chavez are highlighted by the Associated Press today.  While critics say this is a way to implement measures included in a Consitutional Reform package that failed last year, the laws are actually different and include the Law for the Promotion and Development of the Popular Economy, the Integral Agricultural Health Law, the National Railway System Law, and a law to create a Venezuelan Agricultural Bank.   

A meeting between the presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela was held last night in Buenos Aires to discuss future cooperation and joint projects.  Plans to build a gas pipeling across South America were raised as well as the idea to create joint state energy companies and a regional air and train network to aid efficient food distribution.  In related news, President Chavez announced that the Bank of Venezuela will replicate the model of Brazil’s federal bank, Caixa Econômica Federal, the largest public bank in Latin America. The Bank will also expand and offer services to all of Venezuela’s municipalities.  The three presidents are scheduled to meet again on September 6. Following the meeting, President Chavez and President Fernandez will be in route today to Bolivia where they will meet with President Morales and discuss energy issues, according to Argentina’s presidential palace.

Finally, US Presidential candidate Barack Obama stated recently that he would work to end US energy dependence on the Middle East and Venezuela.

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