April 20, 2006

Crisis in the Andes

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The Andean Community (CAN or Comunidad Andina de Naciones) has suffered a severe blow in recent days. During the summit of countries hosted in Asuncion, Paraguay, where Bolivia, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay met (April 19), Hugo Chavez announced his country was leaving the organization and Evo Morales declared it practically "dead".

The reasons they gave were mainly that the CAN did not reflect the necesities of the member nations anymore. Especifically, they pointed at the TLCs Colombia and Peru signed with the US. Morales said that due to the TLC between Colombia and US, Bolivia was to lose its lucrative Soy market.

The future of the CAN is seriously in doubt.

In the website of the CAN, which is functioning since 1969, there is a long list of achievements. Among them stands out the efforts to economic and political integration, and more specifically, the agreements towards the establishment of a free trade zone. The CAN is also keen on seeking the Latin American Free Trade zone. I can right away see why Venezuela is leaving and why Bolivia is thinking about it.

If the CAN does not solve this crisis, the work done until now will be lost. Of course, until now, I think that the results are only observable on paper.

Here is a nice graph that shows how important CAN is for Bolivia.