Monday, September 28, 2009



By Steven Bodzin and Daniel Cancel
Sept. 27 2009

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and 28 other leaders from South America and Africa called for new links between the continents, including joint military, banking and mining efforts.

Chavez and Qaddafi proposed a military alliance mirroring the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to counteract the influence of the U.S. and Europe. Chavez called for a unified mining company, oil company and bank as leaders including Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe highlighted their countries’ resources.

“For African countries, it’s closer to visit our brothers in South America. We share the same interests of liberation and revolutionary ideals,” Qaddafi said yesterday at the Second Africa-South America summit, on the Venezuelan tourist island of Margarita. “Colonialism humiliated us, insulted us and robbed us of our riches.”

Hosting the summit plays into Chavez’s goal of diminishing what he calls “imperial” influences and boosting ties with allies including Angola and Nigeria, which, like Venezuela, are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“It’s a new hour in our history,” Chavez said today. “We have many great leaders, many of them here today.”

Joint Projects

More than 60 delegations planned to sign accords on trade, energy, mining and agriculture, Venezuela’s foreign ministry said in a statement. Chavez announced accords with several African countries on joint mining and oil projects.

“We have the biggest permanent reservoir of clean water in the world and they call us the poor,” Ecuador President Rafael Correa said. The countries talked of working together to develop natural resources to reduce reliance on former imperial powers.

Along with a joint statement touching on concerns from reform of the U.N. Security Council to shipping piracy, countries also sought bilateral agreements. Venezuela signed a memorandum of understanding with Sierra Leone to create a joint mining company and will sign similar agreements with Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Namibia, Chavez said.

Venezuela also is working with Angola, Tanzania and South Africa on mining agreements, Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said in an e-mailed statement. Chavez wants Venezuela to build small steel mills in Mauritania and Tanzania, Sanz said.

Venezuela will propose a joint state mining company for whatever countries in Africa and South America want to join, Chavez said.

“A state mining company of our own,” he said. “Here, we have recovered gold mines, iron mines. These important resources were in the private hands of the local bourgeoisie and multinationals and smugglers of all sorts.”

Chavez said his mining industry recently got “several billion dollars” in financing to be paid by dedicating a portion of gold, steel and diamond revenues to the debt. He didn’t give further details.

Oil Agreements

Venezuela is interested in forming a joint state oil company among countries on the two continents, especially smaller producers, Chavez said. He said his country signed an accord with Mauritania to work together on oil refining and transport of refined products, and with Niger on joint oil production.

Venezuela is the biggest oil producer in South America. China National Petroleum Corp. is spending $5 billion in Niger to make the central African nation an oil producer.

Attendees to the summit, the second of its kind after a 2006 meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, ranged from Chilean President Michele Bachelet, who spoke about the global financial crisis, to Mugabe, who highlighted his country’s mineral riches. Libya will host the next summit in 2011.

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Walter in Caracas at; Daniel Cancel in Porlamar, Venezuela, at