Community of Andean Nations in Crisis

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The Community of Andean Nations (CAN), which includes Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, is undergoing dramatic changes after Venezuela decided to withdraw for the group. The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez, said that his decision to withdraw Venezuela from the group was to protect national interests.

To replace the (CAN) Chávez has proposed to Peru and Colombia a new trading bloc, the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA). Such a proposal is seen by regional experts as an effort by Chávez to obtain greater regional leadership. The Venezuela’s ex-ambassador to the United Nations, Milos Alcalay, said that Chávez’s decision fits his “confrontational dialect” he maintains with the government of George W. Bush.

The announcement by Venezuela has prompted an emergency meeting of the CAN members this Wednesday in Lima. For his part the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, announced that he will not assume the presidency of this bloc in June as was scheduled due to the current crisis that is afflicting CAN. Morales also criticized his Peruvian counterpart Alejandro Toledo for having signed a free trade agreement with the U.S.

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