President Hugo Chávez hosted Argentinean ex-president Eduardo Duhalde, current president of the Commission of Mercosur (Common Market of the South) Representatives, with whom he discussed Latin American integration, after the recent subscription of agreements between the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and Mercosur, under which both blocs will integrate a free trade area.

During the meeting, Chávez pointed out that integration in the region ought to be complete, one that includes social, economic, cultural, and even military issues.

“We have been talking about the military integration of the South. There was a meeting of ministers of defense in Buenos Aires. We must re-design our plans concerning security and sovereignty in Latin America”, he pointed out.

He added that Latin American union must go beyond economy and trade. “The market is part of the life of the peoples. I think that beyond the formation of a market, we have been taking steps, like the CAN-Mercosur agreements, towards a full Latin American integration. The economy is important, but it is also important to achieve the social integration of our peoples -which we regard as the concatenation of mechanisms of struggle for social redemption-so that our actions do not end up in mere rhetoric”.

For his part, Duhalde said that he had very important reasons to visit Venezuela, “since we are on the verge of achieving South American unity, and president Chávez is one the main promoters” of this initiative. “Next December 9th , the 180th anniversary of the Battle of Ayacucho will be celebrated in Cuzco (Perú). There, we will probably sign the first declaration of the South American Union”, he indicated. The South American Presidents Summit of is to be held after this event.

Published in Quantum N.38