The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, took some time off from the 18th Rio Group summit and met with a group of Brazilian intellectuals and activists who work with social movements. The meeting took place on Friday.
“The main topic of discussion was what to do about the neoliberal model that reigns in Latin America today,” explained Emir Sader, of the Rio de Janeiro State University Public Policy department, who participated in the gathering.
Other participants were writer and Catholic thinker, Leonardo Boff, the landless movement leader, Gilma Mauro, architect Oacar Niemeyer, and the lawyer and PDT politician Nilo Batista.
According to Sader, the Chavez government in Venezuela is an important player in the anti-neoliberal or central-left movement in Latin America which opposes American hegemony.
He went on to say that the way to break off from neo-liberal policies is well known, but no one is on track for a rupture.
“With the reelection of Bush there will be strong pressure to move ahead with an agreement on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). So, where is Mercosur? Where is the Latin American parliamentary front? The single currency?” he asks, as he points out that Chavez released a note criticizing the delays in Latin American political processes.
“He [Chavez] is playing the role that Castro played for many years. He speaks the truth… Venezuela is the only country in Latin America where social rights have improved recently,” declared Sader.
Sader said that today Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are capable of grand strategic projects that could integrate the continent.
He cited the formation of a single petroleum company and the creation of a seed bank – to face up to multinational firms in those sectors.
Translator: Allen Bennett