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Chávez Proposes Creation of OPEC Bank to Cushion Impacts of Global Recession

During his speech, the Venezuelan head of state insisted that “the agreements not remain on paper” as in previous years.  He condemned the arrest warrant on the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, issued by the International Criminal Court “by order of the United States” and stressed the need to create a currency to confront the damage done by the dollar.

The president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, called on the Second Summit of South American and Arab Countries (ASPA), held in Doha, Qatar, to confront the global recession through joint ventures between South American and Arab countries involving agreements on finance, energy, and food.

Likewise, Chávez called for a symmetrical union between South American and Arab countries in order to combat a crisis caused “by the powerful countries” and noted the need to strengthen the proposals made by the president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, who called for the establishment of banks that provide government funds in times of crisis and pointed out the necessity for clean technology to create jobs; and her Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who appreciated the need for a just economy, albeit one that “doesn’t contain trade protectionism.”

At the same time, the Venezuelan head of state indicated that he began talks with the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, to strengthen bilateral relations with the Arab world, “which must be based on a strategic plan, not another summit, but the initiative to get things going.”

During his speech, Chávez also highlighted the resources of the South American countries.  “We, the countries of the Amazon — the world’s lung — here also constitute the largest reserves in the world,” the majority of gas, oil, and water reserves being located in South America.  Therefore, he concluded that the potential exists to implement a strategic plan that “is productive and involves food and energy.”

The Venezuelan president said that the measure taken against Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan, “is a legal monstrosity of capitalism” and denounced the atrocities committed by the United States, which did not recognize the elections of the Palestinian National Authority, with the excuse that they do not regard this territory as autonomous.

Chávez deplored the allegations made by US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who charged that “Venezuela is against the freedom of expression and supports terrorism.”  Such allegations, according to Chávez, are cynical, because “Washington never condemned the attacks against Gaza, which killed 1,400 Palestinians.”

He raised a question: “Why doesn’t the International Criminal Court go after Bush, a true genocidal criminal, or the government of Israel?  Instead, it harasses defenseless presidents like the president of Sudan.”

Chávez said that, just a decade ago, no Latin American country traveled so far in order to establish agreements for the benefit of its citizens, a sign of progress.

In his view, “the international financial crisis is a mutant virus, since it doesn’t stand still” and “the G-20 summit is the summit of the HIRCs, highly indebted rich countries.”  He nevertheless appreciated the presence of Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil as the representatives of Latin America at the London summit on the second of April.

Chávez said that “we shoudn’t count on anything except ourselves.”  Therefore, “it is necessary to change the international financial architecture.”  He regretted that, for a long time, several Latin American governments refused to change the capitalist system, despite several economic studies that predicted the global debacle.

He called for “the creation of an agenda, to allow so many ideas, so many possibilities, so many opportunities to be put into practice” and said that “it is necessary to take up the agenda of the South again, the agenda that we sent to these places.”

The president of Venezuela recognized the need for a genuine political will to implement fair trade strategies, “such as those that need to be introduced today,” mentioning “those implemented during the eighties, which were swallowed up by neoliberalism” for lack of real unity.

Chávez urged UNASUR president Michelle Bachelet and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil and coordinator of the affairs of the South, to work on building an Arab-South American trade agenda in order to come up with several points of interest to be put into practice “as soon as possible.”

He asked the nine member countries of the OPEC present at the ASPA Summit to set down strategies to consider a financial plan to bring the Arab and South American countries closer to each other.  In his opinion, the participation of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is crucial, as evidenced by its proven ability to “cushion the impact of the economic crisis, through the stabilization of oil prices.”

At the summit, Chávez proposed an OPEC Bank again.  The possibility of another currency was important from his point of view because we had “enough of the dictatorship of the dollar.”  “The United States has bought up half the world, with a worthless piece of paper, which analysts said would go up in smoke and which indeed went up in smoke.”

Lastly, Chávez called for the implementation of cultural cooperation agreements, in order to report fairly on what is happening in Asia and South America.  He gave the example of TeleSur, which works with Al Jazeera.

The original article “Chávez propone la creación de un Banco de la Opep para amortiguar recesión global” was published by YVKE Mundial on 31 March 2009.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at]

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