The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, was in the state of Paraná, in the south of Brazil, last week on a business trip following a visit by the governor, Roberto Requião, to Venezuela in November. Since the Requião visit, Venezuela has invested some US$ 300 million in the state of Paraná.
While in Curitiba, the state capital, Chavez met with some 1,000 members of the Via Campesina, a Social movement umbrella group which unites activists and militants. He will also signed commercial agreements with state representatives.
Chávez participated in the II Regional Meeting for Integration Paraná-Venezuela. A total of US$ 112 million in investment agreements were announced at the close of the meeting.
Taking advantage of the presence of Venezuelan President, representatives of the Via Campesina and the coordination of social movements of Paraná, an umbrella group, released a document entitled Letter of the Americas in Defense of Nature and Biological and Cultural Diversity.
The document was endorsed by 32 social movement groups, and signed by Hugo Chavez, the governor of Paraná, Roberto Requião, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Perez Ezquivel, and Catholic religious thinkers and leaders, Leonardo Boff and Dom Pedro Casaldaliga, among others.
The document repudiates the introduction into the Americas of foreign species, transgenic organisms and the so-called "terminator" seeds, which do not germinate more than once.
It also says it "opposes the imperial government of the United States and its transnational companies." The signatories oppose the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) and other bilateral trade agreements which threaten natural resources.
In conclusion the document calls for the recognition of land rights for rural workers, Indians, fishermen and descendents of slaves.