Friday, September 15, 2006

Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales arrive in Cuba

Granma International

14th NAM SUMMIT

• Fourth day charged with proceedings and expectations

BY ELSA CLARO AND NIDIA DIAZ —Granma International staff writers—

"THIS is the summit of the world…," said Hugo Chávez right after descending from the airplane that brought him from Caracas. The Venezuelan president described this 14th NAM meeting as the most important that he has ever attended. In his opinion it is destined to discover certain balances in the world.

Venezuela’s general proposals are known, he said, in response to a reporter’s question at the airport terminal —"they are those related to South-South cooperation and are already in motion; but he hinted at having other offers in his briefcase, apart from insisting that the NAM needs not only a new face, but also a new body and soul. Therefore the Havana Summit is one of the most transcendental with which the 21st Century is beginning, affirmed the charismatic head of state, who in addition to emphasizing the importance of the venue, highlighted the leadership of Fidel, his strength and quixotic actions that must leave a significant mark on this group of 118 Third World nations.

In reference to his UN visit for the 61st session of that international agency, he explained that the U.S. authorities have placed obstacles on and denied visas to his security personnel, but no matter what he will go to New York.

His arrival was one of the most awaited and was preceded by the likewise favored one of Evo Morales. With these figures and others who one-by-one have arrived or are about to touch down in Cuban territory, the fourth day of the NAM summit is advancing to another level.

This does not impede, of course, the disciplined continuity of the second day of discussions by attending foreign ministers, who are concentrating on the Movement’s working methods and procedures for a document already negotiated and nearly finished, according to comments made by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque when he opened today’s session.

The delegates are following their programs. As anticipated, high-level officials continued their deliberations while others, under the chairmanship of Choummaly Sayasone, president of the Republic of Laos, opened the meeting of the landlocked nations, a group composed of 31 countries including Afghanistan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mauritania, Malawi, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the homeland of the chairperson.

The agenda with which they are working includes among its central points making trade viable and seeking cooperation formulas in the spheres of adequate transportation in each case. According to leaks, Bolivia is to present its maritime demand, an issue that should be part of President Evo Morales’ speech to the full session of Heads of State and Governments that begins tomorrow, September 15.

Five nations and observing organizations and three invited guests, including Japan, the World Bank and various UN agencies, are participating in the debates of this group created in 1994. Of the landlocked nations, 23 are full members of NAM and 16 belong to the G-15.

INCIDENTS OF THE DAY

The good news includes statements from the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who congratulated Cuba on its assumption of the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement. The dignitary, who is thought to be one of those to be received by President Fidel Castro considers that the Movement retains its validity inasmuch as its essential objectives are as relevant as ever, despite the substantial changes that have taken place in the world in recent years.

The bad news proceeds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose experts estimate that even if the world growth trend for 2007 is maintained, that propensity has begun to revert. According to the credit and finance organization itself, the trade deficit of the United States will be to blame.

That announcement corroborates part of what was expounded in the inauguration of the Foreign Ministers’ Segment by Carlos Lage, vice president of the Council of State, in reference to the fact that the poor world – however extravagant that might be – is forced to finance the nation considered as the most powerful and richest on the planet.

According to the IMF’s biannual report, the surplus of various Asian nations is beginning to change rapidly and if that happens, there will be a headlong crash in the value of the already depleted dollar.

That would be associated with a potential increase in the already high tariff barriers in international trade, all of which leads to a reduction in the living standards of many countries, in particular, virtually all the NAM members.

Inflationary pressure in various important nations, the high price of oil and signs of a recession in the United States complete a pretty discouraging economic panorama which, due to the imposed and existing coordinates, have a particularly bad effect on the Third World.

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