Saturday, January 26, 2008

Venezuela, Allies to Start New Bank

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and three of his closest allies are teaming up to create a regional development bank meant to rival U.S.-backed institutions such as the World Bank.

The bank will be a central theme as Chavez hosts a summit Saturday with leaders from Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba - members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA.

The left-leaning regional trade alliance is intended to offer an alternative, socialist path to integration while snubbing U.S.-backed free-trade deals.

The ALBA Bank will be started with $1 billion to $1.5 billion of capital, Venezuelan Finance Minister Rafael Isea said Friday, according to the state-run Bolivarian News Agency.......


Chavez Urges Withdrawals From U.S. Banks

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged his Latin American allies on Saturday to begin withdrawing billions of dollars in international reserves from U.S. banks, warning of a looming U.S. economic crisis.

Chavez made the suggestion as he hosted a summit aimed at boosting Latin American integration and rolling back U.S. influence.

"We should start to bring our reserves here," Chavez said. "Why does that money have to be in the north? ... You can't put all your eggs in one basket."

Chavez noted that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Colombia in recent days, saying "that has to do with this summit."

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