Chavez-led bloc plans to create agriculture, mining businesses

Bloomberg | 17 October 2009

Chavez-led bloc plans to create agriculture, mining businesses

By Jonathan J. Levin and Jose Orozco

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) — The Alba trade bloc, led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, agreed to create regional mining and agriculture businesses as the group concluded a second day of talks in Bolivia.

The group also has plans for an import-export business, to be called Alba Exim, and an energy company, said Bolivian Finance Minister Luis Arce, speaking today at the meeting in Cochabamba. The agriculture business will be called Alba Alimentos, according to Arce.

The companies will seek “sovereignty and the development of food security in all member countries,” Arce said.

The Alba bloc emerged as an alternative to a U.S.-backed free trade zone in the Americas. The bloc is made up of nine countries including Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba and Nicaragua.

The group also repeated its demand that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office in a coup in June, be returned to power.

Patricia Rodas, the country’s deposed foreign minister, read a statement on behalf of Zelaya, asking members of the Organization of American States to boost economic sanctions against the de facto government.

Talks to end the Honduran political crisis are deadlocked over which government branch should decide whether to restore Zelaya to power, a negotiator for the deposed leader said.

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source: Bloomberg