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Must learnedly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor
|Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008|
|Chavez urges Latin American allies to withdraw billions of dollars in international reserves from U.S. banks|
|By Ian James, Associated Press Writer|
CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged his Latin American allies on Saturday to begin withdrawing billions of dollars in international reserves from U.S. banks, warning of a looming U.S. economic crisis.
Chavez made the suggestion as he hosted a summit aimed at boosting Latin American integration and rolling back U.S. influence.
"We should start to bring our reserves here," Chavez said. "Why does that money have to be in the north? ... You can't put all your eggs in one basket."
To help pool resources within the region, Chavez and other leaders launched a new development bank at the summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Nations of Our America, or ALBA.
The left-leaning regional trade alliance first proposed by Chavez is intended to offer an alternative, socialist path to integration while snubbing U.S.-backed free-trade deals.
Chavez noted that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Colombia in recent days, saying "that has to do with this summit."
"The empire doesn't accept alternatives," Chavez told the gathering, attended by the presidents of Bolivia and Nicaragua and Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage.
Chavez warned that U.S. "imperialism is entering into a crisis that can affect all of us" and said Latin America "will save itself alone."
Rice left Colombia on Friday after a trip aimed at reviving a free trade deal that has stalled in the U.S. Congress. She sidestepped an opportunity to confront Chavez, who accused Colombia and the United States of plotting "military aggression" against Venezuela.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega joined Chavez in his criticism of U.S.-style capitalism, saying "the dictatorship of global capitalism ... has lost control." Three days earlier, Ortega had shouted "Long live the U.S. government" as he inaugurated an American-financed section of highway in his country.
The ALBA Bank is "being born with the aim of boosting development in our countries," Venezuelan Finance Minister Rafael Isea said Saturday as he and other officials gathered at the bank's Caracas office for an inaugural ceremony.
Isea has said the bank will be started with $1 billion to $1.5 billion.
Chavez welcomed the Caribbean island of Dominica into the ALBA an acronym that means "dawn" in Spanish joining Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba. Attending as observers were the prime ministers of Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, along with officials from Ecuador, Honduras, Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Chavez said a new fund created by Venezuela and Iran to support projects in third countries would have links to the ALBA Bank.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press
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