Sunday, December 13, 2009

Leftist LatAm bloc to begin using its own currency

Posted on Saturday, 12.12.09

Leftist LatAm bloc to begin using its own currency
Associated Press Writer

HAVANA -- Members of a leftist bloc of nine Latin American nations said
Saturday they plan to use a new currency dubbed the "sucre" for trade
among themselves starting in January.

No sucres will be printed or coined, but the virtual currency will be
used to manage debts between governments while reducing reliance on the
U.S. dollar and on Washington in general.

Cuba already signed an agreement on Saturday to pay for a shipment of
Venezuelan rice in sucres, according to Rogelio Sierra, the island's
deputy foreign minister. He declined to say what the shipment was worth.

That agreement was made even as ever cash-strapped Cuba has fallen
behind on its debt to nations and multinational corporations amid the
global recession.

The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas trade group is holding a
two-day summit starting Sunday in the Cuban capital.

The group was formed by Venezuela's self-described socialist president,
Hugo Chavez, as an alternative to U.S.-backed free-trade consortiums.
Member nations are Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador,
Bolivia, Antigua and Barbuda, San Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.

Honduras remains part of the bloc despite a June coup that toppled
leftist President Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya's deposed foreign minister is
attending the summit, but the acting government in Honduras will almost
certainly not abide by any agreements made.

Chavez was greeted Friday as he arrived in Cuba by President Raul
Castro. Cuba and Venezuela signed "agreements of cooperation" on 285
bilateral projects in 2010 totaling nearly US$3.2 billion, according to
Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez. He provided no details on
what those agreements entail, however.

On Saturday, Raul Castro said the cooperation between the countries will
allow them to "alleviate the negative impact of the current world
economic crisis."

Leftist presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Evo Morales of Bolivia
are expected to attend the summit.

Leftist LatAm bloc to begin using its own currency - World AP - (12 December 2009)

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