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Chavez Ready to Face Bush at Summit
In the run-up to the Summit of the Americas, problems upset agenda
Fernando Marino-Aguirre (kalonik)     Print Article 
Published 2005-11-03 14:31 (KST)   
The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that he may interrupt his North American counterpart, George Bush, if he expresses doubts about the value of the Venezuelan democracy.

In declarations to TeleSUR -- a multimedia company consisting of a pool of South American states -- Chavez confirmed that he prefers interruptions and debates rather than monotonous and boring speeches.

Throughout the day, reports confirmed that the Venezuelan president would not attend the People's Summit. However, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Rodriguez-Araque confirmed the presence of Chavez in an anti-Bush meeting, along with Argentine soccer star, Diego Maradona.

This event will be held far from the place where the presidents will be meeting, but there will be another protest organized by groups opposed to the summit where possible clashes with security forces are anticipated.

In other reports, incidents involving firearms -- and automobile fires -- occurred in the Avellaneda, a city near Buenos Aires. They were described by the Argentine government and confirmed by official sources that they were not linked to the Nov. 2 protests that resulted in a train being set on fire.

However, increasing tension is mounting in the hours before the summit. For example, metropolitan subway workers in Buenos Aires have threatened to strike while the summit is on. However, it is believed senior personnel will be operating the trains.

At the same time, in Mar del Plata City, throughout Nov. 2, rounds of negotiations continued between diplomats about the final document of the summit. The most contestable issue, which is being strongly resisted by Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, has been the attempts of the United States to change the Americas Free Trade Area.

Argentine Economic Minister Roberto Lavagna has expressed that the only way to advance the free trade area is by eliminating agricultural subsidies, a question that the United States refuses to include in the discussion agenda.

In spite of what official spokesmen say about advances being made, the most conflicting issues could not be solved in time for the meeting's final declaration. Officials are hard at work trying to complete it before the plenary on Nov. 4.

The Argentine Government proposed "Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance," as the theme for the Summit of the Americas. However, NGOs and other groups have opposed, insisting that the central topic should not be how wealth is generated, but how it is distributed.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Fernando Marino-Aguirre

  Linked Story - People's Summit Awaits Arrival of Protesters...
  Linked Story - Summit of the Americas Kicks Off...

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