Caracas: The South’s Answers to the World Economic Crisis


Richard Moore

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Minister Calls on Venezuelans to Repatriate Their Investments in the U.S.

Tamara Pearson –

Mérida, October 10, 2008 (– As world stock markets tumble, a range of economic experts met in Caracas to discuss alternative solutions to the crisis. Venezuela’s Minister for Planning and Development, Haiman El Troudi, highlighted the relative strength of the Venezuelan economy and called for Venezuelan resources invested in the United States to be repatriated.
At the International Conference of Political Economy being held in Caracas, Venezuela, from Wednesday until this Saturday, 40 specialists from around the world are analysing the current financial crisis and proposing south-based and alternative model solutions. 
In his presentation, El Troudi outlined how “the Venezuelan state has been strengthening under the Bolivarian socialist project” and that due to its on-target economic policies, those Venezuelans who have capital in the United States and who still have time to rescue it, should repatriate it because it will be safer in Venezuela than in the speculative banks of the U.S. 
“Bring your capital [here], together we’re going to construct a great country,” said El Troudi.
He felt it important that it be recognized that the Venezuelan government had understood on time that the world economic situation is a structural issue and so it developed an economic policy that resulted in international reserves of $40 billion, which represent a cushion to enable Venezuela to confront the crisis better than other countries.
He elaborated that one of the measures taken by the executive of the government, was the creation of an obligatory portfolio of industrial credit in order to boost the productive apparatus of the nation. While mortgage interest rates were rising globally, the Venezuelan government regulated the real estate quota and obliged banks to lend to savers who were interested in housing.
He also highlighted that a reserve of food is being set up, which will serve to ease the effects of the financial crisis.
The IMF should kill itself
Further, El Troudi argued that the South should demand the immediate cancellation of its external debt. He said this statement is more valid than ever in face of the current crisis, and that Latin America demands control of the movement of its capital. He proposed creating mechanisms of fair trade and getting rid of banking secrets and fiscal parasites, and also demanded the creation of social security funds for all peoples of the world and the implementation of a fixed social income.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez commented at the forum yesterday, “The people of the south, we demand the dissolution of the International Monetary Fund,” and El Troudi echoed those comments, saying the IMF (International Monetary Fund) should “dissolve, should kill itself.”
El Troudi criticised the World Bank and the IMF for not offering tangible alternatives to the economic crisis, and said, “For them the poor pay for the plates that the rich break.”
“Where are the prescriptions of [the IMF and World Bank] who supposedly have solutions to all the problems of capitalism? This is what they tried to impose on Latin America, with the disastrous application of neoliberal politics.”
Chavez reminded listeners that the IMF was one of the first organizations to announce its support of the new government during the coup of April 2002. 
“They try to wash their hands now and, furthermore, they dare to come out and present themselves as the life-saving doctors, [but] they are the ones to blame, they should resign.”
A need for regional unity 
El Troudi argued that the cosmetic actions that have so far been implemented won’t stop the financial crisis, and the solution is in the “deepening of the socialist path.”
He said that what we are seeing is the end of neoliberal hegemony.
“If the Bolivarian revolution hadn’t arrived it wouldn’t have been possible to prepare the subjective and objective conditions to withstand the burden, the onslaught of capitalism” he added.
At the conference, Gladys Hernandez, from the Centre for Research on the World Economy in Havana, Cuba, expressed the need for regional unity in face of the crisis. “It is necessary to foster the reindustrialization of the Latin American region with our resources and to try to establish a fair balance with foreign investments that would be capable of achieving certain earnings…as until now what they have done is rob our countries of their generated resources.”
Julio Gambina, an Argentinean economist said, “It is necessary to reorganize the world system and this proposal has to come from the South, but it shouldn’t come out of this meeting of intellectuals, rather it has to do with the construction of a political force that defines our course.”
Another Argentinean economist, Jorge Marchini, highlighted the necessity of alternative mechanisms like ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for America) and the Bank of the South.
The economic minister of Ecuador, Pedro Paez, proposed the creation of a single currency for Latin America, with the aim of strengthening production and confronting the financial crisis, and agreed with Marchina about the importance of the Bank of the South.
“The Bank of the South is at the heart of the development of banking of the new time. This entity will enable the transformation of the productive apparatus and generate mechanisms of coherence, between the countries which make up the initiative.”
The economic policy conference was entitled, “The South’s Answers to the World Economic Crisis,” took place in the Venezuelan School of Planning, and was jointly organised by the Miranda International Centre and the Venezuelan Ministry of Planning.
Economic experts at the conference came from over 20 countries.
Some of the themes they are debating include; crisis or deterioration of the model, crisis and economic models, the dismantling of the neoliberal model, and the Washington consensus, axes and challenges for the economic development of the people, and globalization questioned. :: website realized with drupal using free software only :: site best viewed with mozilla firefox