May 12, 2006

The EU - LAC Summit and its Repercussions

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From May 11 to the 13, countries in Latin America and the European Union are meeting in the EU-Latin American/Caribbean Summit. This summit is bringing together some 60 countries from these two regions and even countries in-line to enter the EU, such as Romania and Bulgaria.

Bolivia is attending the summit with Evo Morales at the head. Whereas the meeting's agenda evolves around poverty aleviation, multiculturalism, better relations among the regions, human rights, commerce and so on, the Lat Am region is having its own particular agenda trying to address some of the divisions, problems, conflicts and interests affecting it currently.

For instance, according to press reports, Lat Am is experiencing a "slight" rift among its members. We have the rift between Argentina and Uruguay (due to pollution), Peru and Mexico have virtual stand offs with Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia (due to nationalization) and the eternal Bolivia, Chile problem. Some of these problems are old and others are fresh.

The problem between Brazil and Bolivia could potentially be harmful for both countries. Brazil has expressed concern, not only because of the nationalization of the natural gas resources in Bolivia, but because its investments in that country. And recently, while in Vienna, Morales accused Petrobras (the Brazilian energy conpany) of ilegally operating in Bolivia. Additionally, Morales said there was no need of compensating Petrobras for its losses as a result of the nationalization process.

The climate is so tense right now that Chavez, in his infinite wisdom, was quoted as talking of a conversation he recently had with Lula da Silva where Lula expressed he was under tremendous pressure to take strong meassures against Bolivia.

I have to think, how irresponsible Chavez is by publically talking about a conversation that could have been confidentially confided in him by Lula.

While the summit is going on, there will be intense communication among the countries in Latin America. It seems there are two sides forming, the pro-Chavez and the anti-Chavez.