Sunday, October 23, 2005

President Hugo Chavez Frias: Latin American External Debt Must Be Revised

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 President Hugo Chavez Frias: Latin American External Debt Must Be Revised

ABN: According to President Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan government is proposing that Iberoamerican dignitaries should revise "the monstrous mechanism” of the current external debt mechanism that drowns Latin American countries.

“That ‘eternal’ debt system is a monstrous mechanism,” said Chavez ...  quoting his Cuban counterpart, Fidel Castro ... as he arrived at the Alameda Palace Hotel in Salamanca, Spain, where he is participating at the XV Iberoamerican Heads of State Summit.

“It’s a tragedy and we want the world to see that,” Chavez said.  Latin America is going through one of the most dramatic stages in its history, and poverty continues to grow, despite the fact that the region follows most of the recipes suggested by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The peoples of Latin America have paid twice the original debt from over 20 years. We are close to reaching US$800 billion. Latin America is bleeding to death,” Chavez said.

Chavez recalled that there are nearly 230 million living in poverty in Latin America, of which 100 million are living in extreme poverty. He also discussed the current United States commercial deficit, which reaches $700 billion and will surely cause a negative impact on the external debt of Latin American countries.

The Head of State said that Venezuela wants  a proposal made by Spain to the XV Iberoamerican Heads of State Summit ... suggesting the exchange of debt for education ... to be channeled into a more substantial project.

“I propose we pay half the debt ... that Latin America stops paying at least half of that debt for a decade ... and then we would have around $80 billion available for healthcare, education, micro credits and housing for the poor.”

President Chavez praised Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s speech, mentioning that the Bolivarian Revolution’s creed is based on the essence of Christian values, which is love for the poor.

Chavez said that capitalism is the cause of the largest disaster that the peoples of Latin America have ever lived in all their history. “It is time to look deeper ... that is our proposal.” He added that Venezuela has made “proposals for cooperation” such as the creation of the Iberoamerican Humanitarian Fund, pointing out that the Spanish government has expressed support for this proposal.

The Iberoamerican Humanitarian Fund’s purpose would be to cater to the most important problems in the region, such as child mortality ... to prevent this, Venezuela proposes a massive integral and preventive healthcare program.

“It is about trying to break the pernicious model set by capitalism, and substituting it by a social state, where society assumes a central position.”

Chavez said that part of the Humanitarian Fund should go to programs such as Mission Miracle, where Venezuela and Cuba give assistance to the sick and needy ... not only from Venezuela, but from the entire region of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Furthermore, Chavez emphasized the urgent need to train more doctors to assist in the area of integral community healthcare.

"Cuba and Venezuela have made a commitment to produce up to 200,000 doctors in the next 10 years ... not to make healthcare into merchandise or to privatize it ... but to guarantee integral community healthcare for all, so the State will assure free healthcare and medication.”

The Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution (with the assistance of Cuba) is giving free healthcare and medication to 17 million Venezuelans, in addition to a free food distribution program serving the needs of the poorest communities.


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