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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001 6:43 AM
Subject: [Chavez Proposes a 'Bolivarian Alternative' to FTAA

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source - Granma International Digital - December 12, 2001

Chávez proposes a Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas

IN contraposition to the U.S. annexationist project known as the Free
Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez
has proposed the adoption of a Bolivarian Alternative for the
Americas (ALBA).

On the first day of the 3rd Summit of the Association of Caribbean
States (AEC), Chávez insisted, "those of us from Latin America and
the Caribbean should think of an alternative," because the FTAA -
which he termed a "disintegrating government" - "is not what is going
to unite us."

Cuban President Fidel Castro, speaking at the plenary session
attended by 18 heads of state and government from the Caribbean
Basin, referred to the need to achieve preferential treatment
quickly, to protect the small economies in the region.

He cited the example of the European Union's interregional
development and its projects for balancing the small and large
economies within its membership.

President Castro warned about the dangers of the FTAA, which is now
becoming more concrete and could destroy all of Latin America's
unifying efforts.

The first session of the summit, held in Isla de Margarita,
Venezuela, witnessed a broad debate on economic themes, including the
possibility of creating an oil company of the Americas, reported
Prensa Latina.

Chávez suggested that a gas pipeline be constructed which would
benefit all the AEC member states, noting that several of those
countries have large petroleum deposits.

Another problem examined by the dignitaries was the propagation of
AIDS in the region, which comes in second worldwide, in terms of the
number of cases, surpassed only by sub-Saharan Africa.

Other issues discussed were regional food production and the need to
overcome the shortage of these products among the Caribbean

Copyright (c) 2001 Granma International Digital. All rights reserved.

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