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Chávez attempts new current of economic integration

El Universal, Venezuela

Chávez attempts new current of economic integration

5 June 2007

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’ call upon the members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) to organize a "federation of republics" rings a bell in socialist processes, as this is one of the tools socialist leaders in the world contemporary history have used.

According to political scientist and economist Edmundo Segui, the idea of a federation of republics is not new in Chávez’ statements. The Venezuelan ruler has suggested this mechanism in different times during his campaign to undermine the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

"What Chávez is doing is opening a new current of economic, social and political integration, and he is trying to give it a juridical character. One attempt here and another there, and little by little he is lobbying to find what he wants."

"Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela must join a federation of republic, and later other countries of the Caribbean, Central America and South America will join too," Chávez said last June 3 in the presidential palace of Miraflores, downtown Caracas.

Segui added that "this new Chávez’ initiative does not harm any other he has proposed in the past, particularly because they deal with different blocs of countries. The Union of Nations of the South (Unasur) involves South America, and therefore it encompasses the Andean Community and the Common Market of the South. Meanwhile, the proposed federation points to the center of the continent, but Bolivia is among its likely members for merely ideological reasons."