Friday, April 21, 2006

Chavez Kicks the CAN

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's anti-imperialist firebrand, just announced that Venezuela will be dropping out of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) in response to new free trade deals made between the United States and other CAN countries.

CAN has always had a controversial history in regards to the free trade movement. In 1989, CAN created a free trade zone amongst its members which had horrific economic repercussions. Between 1980 and 2000, growth in the region slowed to one eighth of its pervious rate. With the recent trade deal raitified and signed by out-going Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, Chavez has grown more frustrated with CAN's colonialist direction.

As he has distanced himself from can, Chavez has been pushing for Venezuelan entry into the Mercado ComĂșn del Sur (Mercosur). MERCOSUR's goal is to provide a counter-weight to America's historic economic hegemony in the region, and is primarily composed of nations that have rejected the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).