Latin America: A survey of problem areas

Posted in Other | 14-Aug-06 | Author: Bernd D. Weber

Hugo Chávez and his political mentor Fidel Castro: "Chávez regognizes the USA as his enemy"
Hugo Chávez and his political mentor Fidel Castro: "Chávez regognizes the USA as his enemy"
This article intends to give a picture of current problem areas in Latin America that might have regional and supranational effects on the future development in the area. Three countries and their actual policies are of especial interest for the closer or farther region: Venezuela, Bolivia and Colombia. Involved in this political scenario are further countries, like Brazil, Argentine, Ecuador and even Cuba in relationship with Venezuela, as well as Chile and Peru concerning the political strategy of Bolivia. Brazil’s concern on the Bolivian nationalization of their gas resources, the decline of the Andean Pact and possibly MERCOSUR reflect the difficult situation in the region.

In the Caribic it is still Cuba annoying the United States (USA), claiming to get the Guantanamo Bay military base back, and the conflict in Haiti still remains virulent. The Mexican immigrant crossing the Southern border of the USA remains in the immediate focus of the U.S. government and the Congress. But nevertheless views are more and more focussed on what is happening in Latin America south of the Panama Canal.

Talking about America mostly finds it in close and unique relation to the United States. The next country in relation with the notion America is Canada. Meanwhile the rest of “The Americas” – the 33 nations of Latin America from Mexico through the Caribic states and down to the Tierra del Fuego (Cape Horn) – seemed indeed to be what it was called for a long time: the backyard of the United States. U.S. Americans saw themselves first, and even NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and backbone in the Cold War era, did not receive great attention in the spirit of the majority of the population. They would not even know what “NATO” means.

For the politically educated American people Western Europe and, during the phase of the Cold War era, Eastern Europe’s “Warsaw Pact” obtained a dominating attention, but after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 the interest turned more and more in direction to Asia and it’s upcoming future superpower China.

Short historical review

"Simón Bolívar brought till 1824 the independence to the whole South American region"
"Simón Bolívar brought till 1824 the independence to the whole South American region"
Spanish troops, the “conquistadores” led by Francisco Pizarro, destroyed the old Inca Empire in most of the South American states, bringing forth with them the Catholic religion. For a long period onward the whole territory with the exemption of Brazil has been under their influence. With the verdict of Vatican’s pope Alexander VI. in 1493 the whole world had been divided between Spain and Portugal on a degree of longitude 370 Spanish miles west of the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The later Spanish-Portuguese treaty signed in Tordesillas 1494 underlined this verdict, thus leaving Brazil to Portugal, where up to now the Portuguese language is conserved as the official language. But all the rest of the western hemisphere stayed from then on under Spanish control. The similar treaty of Saragossa, dated 1529, formed an adequate see border in the Pacific Ocean, thus dividing the world into two equal parts between the two empires, Spain and Portugal.

The emancipation of the different countries started in 1810, when at first Simón Bolívar started the Creole rebellion against the Spanish colonialists and brought till 1824 the independence to the whole South American region. Brazil obtained his independence from Portugal in 1822. The whole territory split into different independent states, being shacked by numerous inner disturbances. The United States relaying on the Monroe-doctrine, declared in 1823, saying that all American territory is to be seen under their hegemony, imposed their economic influence on the region and pursued imperialistic issues.

The main countries of South America obtained their independence as follows: Colombia 7/20/1810, Paraguay 5/14/1811, Argentine 7/9/1816, Chile 2/12/1818, Venezuela 6/24/1821, Peru 7/28/1821, Brazil 9/7/1822, Bolivia 8/6/1825, Uruguay 10/4/1828, Ecuador 5/13/1830.

In the 20th century the countries constituted the “Organization of American States” (OAS) and initiated several pact systems like the “American Free Trade Areas” (AFTA), the “Mercado Sur” (MERCOSUR) an the Andes Pact (CAN). Beside this there was an engagement to form an economic forum excluding the USA named ALCA, a nowadays favorite project of Venezuela’s president Chávez. There exist strong relations to the European Union, who appear like a sample to be followed, but the reality in South America does not look like to adapt similar practices as of now. National interests are still a hindering reason to integrate national economics into a greater system.

Supranational organizations

The most important supranational organization is, off course, the “Organization of American States” (OAS). Founded in the Columbian capital Bogotá on 4/30/1948, its statutes came into vigor on 12/13/1951 assembling all 35 American states, including the Caribic. Since 1962 Cuba’s membership is suspended.

Main goals are the enforcement of peace and security among the American states, the defense of sovereignty and integrity of all members, solidarity in action against aggression from outside or between one another, including mediation processes, sanctions in the case of neglecting a mediation process and other violations, finally economic, social and cultural cooperation.

The yearly residing General Assembly decides on political items in a majority decision. The foreign ministers meet in a consultative meeting, A Standing Council assembles the ambassadors and a secretariat supports the organization.

Another essential organization is MERCOSUR, the “Mercado Común del Sur”, founded on 3/26/1991 in Asunción by Argentine, Brasilia, Paraguay und Uruguay. Associated members are Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. In July 2006 Venezuela got full membership in the organization. Main goal is the integration of the national economics by enforcing the free trade of goods. Main institutional organ is the “Council” to fulfill the objects of the treaty of Asunción. The group “Common market” as the executive organ is tasked with the integration process, a “Trade Commission” supervises the common trade tariffs. A “Common Parliamentary Commission” tries to accelerate the rules of the common market. A consulting economic and social forum assists the organs as well as a secretariat.

Another organization is called „Communidad Andina de Naciones“ (CAN), founded in 1969 with the “Charter of Cartagena” by Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. With the membership in the MERCOSUR Venezuela resigned the CAN. Its purpose is to strengthen the regional economy, increase the international relations and to contribute to a Latin American political unity. Main organs are the “Andean Presidential Council”, the council of the ministers of foreign affairs, a commission, the Andean Parliament, a Court of Justice and financial institutions.

Survey on the political development of critical countries

In the perspective of the United States a couple of countries show a political development that could be considered to be in confrontation to American national interests. Here is a compilation.


"It will depend essentially on the countries involved to solve their internal and external problems"
"It will depend essentially on the countries involved to solve their internal and external problems"
The most annoying country in the perspective of the USA in what they call their backyard is Venezuela with his very aggressive president Chávez.

On 2/2/1999 the actual president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías came into power. The former Lieutenant Colonel of the Armed Forces pursued a very individual policy, relying on Latin Americas former hero Simón Bolívar, who liberated great parts of the continent from the Spanish colonization. Chávez implemented a very personal policy named “Bolivarian Revolution” and since being president he tries to spread this idea out into the whole region. He also renamed the country into “República Bolivariana de Venezuela” (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela).

He relies mainly on the armed forces which in the meantime were equipped with modern armament. Eccentric and incalculable, he could increase his power against an internally divided opposition, incapable to resist his political intentions. Thus, accusing the United States for interfering into inner affairs he since 1999 expulsed the military advisers and accused the USA at different occasions to prepare an intervention against his country and even to try to kill him on several occasions. He even menaced to stop the oil exports which amount up to 15 % of the imported US contingent, but he did not do so up to now. On 4/25/2005 he had terminated the mutual military cooperation which was initiated in 1951.

Chávez recognizes the USA as his enemy, called president Bush a “mad man”, a “donkey and idiot” and on 11/20/2005 a “killer”. He tries to dissolve all their political bands to Southern American countries wherever he sees himself capable to do so. Thus in spring 2006 he warned Peru to sign a treaty of free trade with the USA, after having opposed already to similar treaties with Colombia and Ecuador. He nerved the USA with delivering oil to 40.000 poor Boston households in November 2005 and by announcing to support the underdeveloped New York City’s South Bronx with 31 Mio. Liter oil as well.

The planned free trade area for the whole Latin America, initiated by the USA in 1994 and called “ALCA” (Area de Libre Comercio de las Americas/Free Trade Area of the Americas), did not come into effect. But Chávez picked up this idea as his own to create a forum under his leadership, while excluding the USA, and strengthened his efforts in 2005 and 2006. Since then he tries to persuade the South American presidents to join his vision, but could not succeed up to now.

Another offence against the USA can be seen in Chávez’ very narrow relationship to Cuba’s dictator Fidel Castro. Both signed several economic and social arrangements. Venezuela will deliver oil to a moderate price while getting help from military advisers and medical personnel.

In October 2005 Chávez announced his will to make Venezuela a nuclear power state. For this he declared to cooperate with Iran, where he signed a significant treaty, and to contact other countries – like North Korea - to obtain the necessary technological knowledge and the material needed for a nuclear plant, capable for plutonium enrichment.

Venezuela’s armed forces up to now relied mainly on U.S. armament. It looked like a nightmare to the USA when Chávez signed a treaty with Russia to deliver 100.000 Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, while the army volume does not exceed 60.000 men. The first lot of 30.000 rifles had been delivered in June 2006. USA suspected him to deliver these weapons to revolutionary groups in Latin America, like to Colombian FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), the “Shining Path” (Sendero Luminoso) in Peru and others. Furthermore he bought naval warships – frigates and patrol boats - from Spain by a contract signed on 3/30/2005. USA intervened to stop this Spanish deal, but in vain as is looks like for the moment. Chávez also announced to buy Russian fighters and helicopters.

A later announcement even concerned the USA much more: After the full stop of all armaments deliveries to Venezuela by the USA, he declared on 3/17/2006 to sell American F-16 fighters to Iran, one of the countries on USA’s list named the “axis of evil”. The arrangement to deliver armament to other countries includes a strict clause excluding the transfer to third parties, obviously no problem for Chávez. Furthermore he supports Iran’s nuclear policy and for long planned a visit there.

On a tour through several countries – Belarus, Russia, Iran and Vietnam – Chávez on 7/24/2006 at first met the Belarus president Lukashenka, the “last dictator of Europe” where he expressed his will to start cooperation in the armament sector. He called Lukashenka his “new friend”.

During his three days visit in Russia starting on 7/25/2006 he ordered 24 SU-30 fighters and 53 Mi-35 military helicopters, valuing more than one billion dollars. Russian foreign minister Ivanov confirmed the purchase, while the US administration tried to prevent this, but in vain. Furthermore he wanted to acquire another 920.000! more Kalashnikov’s latest model AK-103 and to obtain the license for a follow-up production in his country. He declared to need this amount of weapons to arm the militia for homeland defense against a possible U.S. military intervention. Chávez also talked about getting the Russian anti air system “Tor-M1” and even applied for a submarine. The whole amount of armament deals with Russia arises to three billion dollars.

The Russian oil company Lukoil got a concession to search and exploit two oil fields in Venezuela. Russia has also been invited to participate in the construction of a 8.000 km gas pipeline through South America and was asked to cooperate in the construction of a gas pipeline in Southern Venezuela. During his visit in Russia Chávez declared the USA as the “greatest threat” of the world.

The next visits saw him in Iran, Qatar, Mali and Vietnam. North Korea, indeed, foreseen on his calendar to be visited, did not want to receive him. U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice called Venezuela actually as a serious problem and the axis between Chávez and Castro as “especially dangerous”. Chávez for his part declared in Tehran on 8/1/2006, Bush had concluded a “pact with the devil”. The main goal of all his international visits, where everybody was called his “friend”, seemed to be the initiation of an “anti imperialistic front” against the USA.

The most important intention of Chávez seems to be the intensification of the integration project of all South American countries and then to take over the leadership, based on his profit he gained from the oil and gas exports, and his membership in the MERCOSUR is planned to serve him as a basis, another nightmare for the USA.

There is one more point which might cause difficulties to the U.S. administration: Chávez wants a two years seat in the UN Security Council. He is on his way to undertake all kind of steps to reach this by contacting different countries’ presidents within Latin America convincing them to vote for him as one of the two representatives of the region representing the non-permanent members. In the case he would reach his goal he would find himself in the status to use or better misuse this platform for further attacks against the U.S. president.


"The main part of the harvest served as the main income of the poorest people in Bolivia"
"The main part of the harvest served as the main income of the poorest people in Bolivia"
Bolivia, since 8/6/1825 independent, saw 189 coup d’état and can be considered as the poorest South American country. Geographically divided between the Altiplano in the West and the plains in the Eastern part, it’s population reaches about 8,8 million people; 71 % are indigene Aymara and Quechua. Since 1982 the country saw five different governments and within four years four presidents. The now ruling president is the indigene Evo Morales, an ethnic Aymara.

The country faces different difficulties. Since the catastrophic war called the “Pacific War” or “Saltpeter War” from 1879-1883, militarily started by Chile, Bolivia lost with his pacific region of Antofagasta the access to the Pacific and became an interior country. This loss caused much trouble in the meantime. Bolivia’s richest resource is gas and it wants to use a harbor under the own control for exportation. But regarding the “treaty on peace and friendship” closed on 10/20/1904 Bolivia lost the right to rely on international law over his former terrain including the harbor of Arica. But the treaty did not exclude negotiations and obliged Chile to concede Bolivia the right for an utmost free trade through his country and the use of ports like i.e. Arica and Antofagasta.

As negotiations remained without result, Bolivia cut the diplomatic relations to Chile from 1962 till 1975. Chile’s president Pinochet in 1975 reached an agreement with Bolivia, allowing to use a small corridor south of the frontier to Peru, but this country relied on the treaty closed on 6/3/1929, saying that here Peru’s agreement would be necessary. Peru protested and ended a possible solution. This as well ended the short period of diplomatic relations in 1978 again.

On 9/24/2003 Bolivia’s vice-president Carlos Mesa brought the requirement to get a sovereign access to the Pacific to the UN General Assembly. The conference of the “Organization of American States” (OAS), held in Mexico on 1/13 and 1/14/2004, negotiated as main subject Bolivia’s political matter on how to get the access. While Chile demanded to renew the diplomatic relations before any negotiation, Bolivia wanted a clear result before doing so. Thus the item is still pending, but on 4/17/2006 first signs appeared from Chile’s new government to find a solution. The reason to this newly approach can be seen in Chile’s economical need for gas, which primarily could be provided by Bolivia.

Another problem arose with the resource of natural gas which made the country the second greatest in South America behind Venezuela. Foreign industrial companies were exploiting gas and oil for decades and only a small portion of their profit reached the government and even much less the poor inhabitants, mostly those in the poorest region, the Altiplano, where we find as majority Aymara and Quechua Indian. Their income relies mainly on the coca plant and the huge plantations, which they keep running to survive. U.S. military personell as well as civilian advisers were busy to destroy these plantations, but the indigene people just initiated new ones elsewhere.

As her main supporter appeared a certain Evo Morales, syndicate leader of the coca farmers and speaker in favor of the coca planting. In Bolivia’s old culture the coca plant served for medical treatment and remains till today of crucial importance in the cultural tradition. Only part of the harvest was picked up by international syndicates to be transformed into drugs. The main part of the harvest just served as the main income of the poorest people in this country.

When Morales became president on 12/18/2005, he immediately repeated that he would not stop the cultivation of the coca plant, but, however, hinder anyone to transform these into drugs. In this matter he informed the U.S. government and offered his support. The UN was asked to take Bolivia’s coca plant off the list of forbidden drug items. The request is pending.

Let us come back to the gas problem. The crisis started when President Sánchez de Lozada (1993-1997) in 1996 announced the privatization. International consortiums got the concessions for exploitation and made good profit. Only a mere small part of it reached the poor indigene regions of the country. Thus trade union leader of the coca farmers Morales, at this time as well representative in the parliament supported by his “Movimiento al Socialismo” (MAS), applied for the nationalization of the natural resources, between others the gas. Predecessor president Carlos Mesa had already announced the possibility to renationalize it and had asked for more than the granted 18 % out of the profit of foreign companies. Morales himself wanted 50 %. He presented for president and got the highest ranking office.

Just like Venezuela’s Chávez Morales does not seem to be a friend of the USA. On 12/21/2005 he called President Bush a “terrorist”, the only one “in the world I know” and condemned the war against Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein. He shocked the U.S. administration with his advance to Cuban president Castro; on 12/30/2005 he underlined his friendship with him and signed a cooperation agreement. On 1/4/2006, when meeting Venezuela’s Chávez in Madrid, he stressed his friendship to him as well, thus annoying the USA. Both countries wish a very close cooperation, Venezuela intends to support Bolivia financially. However, the actual system in both countries made him think over his own position. He clearly disagreed with their system of government from “top to bottom” and favorites for his country a system from “bottom to top”, as he declared in January 2006. Both countries, together with the political system in Russia and China, can not set an example for his “andino-amazon” socialism, as he sees it.

Bolivia still has to face the danger of separatism. The richer lowland is not willing to share the relative richness with the poor Altiplano, opposing to all plans about a redistribution of the national income. Thus the country’s territorial integrity could break up.


"Since 1964 Colombia lives in guerilla war with two left-wing rebel groups"
"Since 1964 Colombia lives in guerilla war with two left-wing rebel groups"
Another country of concern for the USA is Colombia. Colombia is till this day a country marked by internal riots. A civil war broke out in 1948, called "la violencia". The uprising of small farmers and impoverished day laborer against big landowners and great industrialists ended in dictatorship beginning 1953 by General Rojas Pinilla, from 1958 to 1974 a coalition of the national front ruled. Since 1974 there are open presidential elections, the last passed on 8/7/2002 and made Alvaro Uribe Vélez president. He was reelected on 5/28/2006 and tried to continue his policy to bring peace to the country.

However, the country, situated in the northwest of South America between the Caribbean and the Pacific and rich in raw material, with 43 Mil. inhabitants, suffers from heavy social mismanagement with far widened poverty, imbalance of income and corruption; the rate of unemployment reaches 16.5%, 60% live below the poverty line. Besides, Colombia is assessed as a significant center of the drug cultivation and drug trafficking, drug money also controls the policy, smears parts of the political management, the Army and even the Justice.

Since 1964 Colombia lives in a guerrilla war against two left-wing rebel groups - Leninist-Marxist "Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia" (FARC) founded on 5/27/1964 and procuban "Ejército de Liberación Nacional" (ELN) coming up in 1965. Both control possibly half of the country, mainly in the south and southeast. At first supported from Cuba, they for a long time seemed self-sufficient and financed themselves. Protection money from the drug business served them, they sucked further "Revolutionary taxes" from big landowners and industrial enterprises, in the end, they took ransoms from hijackings of politicians and foreigners as well as from taking hostages. Their annual "income" was estimated at about 1 billion $. The purpose of the FARC was originally “the conquest of the political power " and the installation of an " independent republic ", later they demanded a "demilitarized zone ". Both propagated the improvement of the living conditions and demanded a land reform; today they are far away from their objectives, and more or less simple terrorists.

Both organizations committed countless attacks on public facilities, the Army and the security forces, committed hijackings, extortion and terror murders even against ecclesiastical charitable organizations and representatives of human rights organizations. Their financial situation mainly relied on drug trafficking, which for a long time made them militarily better equipped than the Army, which too for her part often committed injuries of human rights.

Against FARC and ELN, however, came up other legal-directed paramilitary groups: The "Autodefensas Unidades de Colombia" (AUC) and "Autodefensas Campesinas de Córdoba y Urabá" (ACCU). These groups, equipped by big landowners and great industrialists and designed as “death squadrons”, committed cruel massacres of farmers wherever they suspected them to cooperate with the rebels, they even caused the expulsion of the population. Being without political ambitions they financed themselves as well from drug trafficking.

In the end, the drug mafia and a high crime rate threatened the internal security. The act of violence in the country led to 2.5 million displaced persons and with temporarily daily nearly 100 dead people it stands worldwide at the head, yearly about 30,000 murders are registered.

The government repeatedly started peace talks with the FARC and the ELN. Under president Bétancourt in 1982-1984 the change of the FARC was on the brink to be reformed to a political group, but finally it failed. The same happened with other peace conversations in 1991 and 1992, on 10/22/1993, in August 1996 with the ELN, on 1/7/1999 with the FARC and in March 2002 after nearly three-year durable negotiations once more with the FARC. A 42.139 km ² big "neutral zone" was created in January 1999, in addition on 2/20/2002 peace efforts ran out. In July 1998 hopes had sprouted for a short time when the ELN agreed in the Würzburger Carmelite's cloister "Himmelspforten" to one-sided peace steps, but the project failed finally. In January 2002 UN tried a mediation but up to now, however, all attempts remained unsuccessful. A participation of the AUC in the peace conversations was rejected by the government. Since the 9/11/2001 attacks FARC and ELN could be found on the terrorist list of the USA. On 7/9/2004 Uribe offered to end all military actions and to start peace negotiations against ending of the guerrilla warfare activity by the ELN, thus reaching an armistice.

Since 1989 the government strengthened her fight against the drug cultivation and the drug cartels of Medellín and Calí. Both controlled up to a quarter of the agrarian usable area. After their elimination other cartels took over the power. The destruction of cultivation surfaces was mainly supported by the USA - financially, with U.S. personnel and by special airplanes. In the end, Colombia counts as a main supplier of heroin and cocaine to the American market. Worldwide it delivers three quarters of the cocaine.

The government tried to defuse the repeated protests of the farmers by financial support to rearrange for other products; nevertheless, this succeeded only meagerly. Some success brought the law of the 12/11/1996 concerning the seizure of illegally acquired agriculture surfaces and the penal-aggravating law of the 1/17/1997 against drug trafficking, monetary laundry, terrorism and the organized criminality. In the end of 1999 the government issued the "Plan Colombia", providing 7.5 billion $ for the fight against the cultivation of opium and coca sheets as well as the drug crime. The USA supported this with an auxiliary parcel agreed in the 6/30/2000 of 1.3 billion $ and trained and equipped the Colombian élite troop “Batallón Antinarcóticos del Ejército Nacional". However, when president Uribe on 1/16/2003 asked the USA to go forward with military means against drug trafficking and terrorism in Colombia, they did not follow.

While FARC and ELN continued their civil war without reduction, the AUC on 5/14/2004 yielded and withdrew under international control into a security zone. They negotiated about a reintegration into the society, her self dissolution and disarmament finally were concluded end of 2005. But parts seem till today not to be under the control of the government. President Uribe, trying to interrupt the cycle of violence with his motto "democratic security" was the first to call FARC and ELN “terrorists”. Lately the USA saw a very urgent problem in the proliferation of weapons, which in the near future could be delivered by Venezuela’s president Chávez to both guerrilla groups. This would increase the danger, that Colombia’s armed forces would face an enemy better equipped than themselves. Both countries have a common border which makes it easy to transfer all kind of weapons. It will be difficult for the Colombian government to stop Chávez’ dirty engagement. The USA are aware of this fact and were already insulting Chávez to support various South American terrorist groups.

Uribe, strictly obeying the human rights and strengthening the democratic civil rights, wants to finish the terror ruling for more than 40 years in Colombia. He still relies on two options, a strong military pressure and the concurrent readiness to negotiate. However, in addition he must also gain control of the neglected economic policy and the social policy and regain the authority over the whole territory. But to bring peace to the country seems to be a “mission impossible”. There is still this triangle consisting of drug trafficking, terror and organized criminality.

Further problems in the region

Within the MERCOSUR Argentine and Chile are quarrelling on the gas price. Bolivia’s president Morales had increased the price for Argentine by 50 %. As Argentine’s president Kirchner could not dare to put pressure on his own industry he just increased the price for gas delivered to Chile by 100 % and gave the order to all gas stations close to the Argentine-Chile border to sell gas to a much higher price to all cars from Chile. Argentine and Uruguay are quarrelling about two paper plants which are planned to be built along the common border, the Uruguay river.

There is still a border problem between the two Andean Pact countries Peru and Ecuador, which had let to a war in January 1995. As well Peru has a border problem with Chile, while loosing a part of his territory during the “Saltpeter War”. As well there remains the problem with the guerrilla group “Sendero Luminoso”, which had been weakened within the last decade but not finally defeated. The organization’s most important income was based on farmers cultivating the coca plant and the cocaine drug export. U.S. military advisers supported for years the government in destroying the cultures, but the program to end the cultivation failed.

Brazil is a reliable but very critical partner of the USA. President Lula is very critical, too, against all activities of Venezuela’s Chávez to obtain the leadership over Southern American countries. In this point he shares the same view with Argentine’s Kirchner. But Kirchner depends very much on Chávez, who bought up most of the promissory notes held by the “International Monetary Fund” (IMF) thus to free him from it’s direct influence.


1. The most aggressive opponent to the United States policy in Southern America can be seen in Venezuela’s president Chávez. His activity aiming at decreasing the influence of the USA in the region is to be evaluated as the greatest danger. His political activity has to be limited thus to prevent that his “Bolivarian Revolution” can expand in the area and cause turmoil. To prevent him from getting a seat in the UNSC seems not to be possible; apparently it looks like he might be supported by the majority of South American countries.

2. The presidents of Brazil and Argentine, Lula and Kirchner, do not seem to support the expansion of Chávez’ ideas, aiming at playing a leading role in the whole area. Their national interests will be strong enough to prevent him from being the new hero à la Simón Bolívar. They might need the political and economic support of the USA without having to fear that they might be junior partners only. This the USA have to look at very strictly.

3. Bolivia’s president Evo Morales appears to be the younger scholar of Chávez. His policy to help indigene people to live on a higher standard is very honorable and to be supported. The USA are asked to engage in the development of the country and thus retain Morales from a too close connection with Chávez. Even the European Union (EU) can give a helping hand, financially and economically.

4. The MERCOSUR, admitting Venezuela as a new member, has to recall, that Chávez tries to take over the political command and it will be in this frame only where limits can be imposed to him. Rejecting his proposal to create a common armed forces element was a significant sign to do so, especially since Chávez wanted to take over the control of these forces himself.

5. The smaller internal Southern American conflicts should be solved by involving the OAS, the regional organizations, the UN Secretary General or in parts even the EU as long as bilateral meetings do not come to adequate solutions of the problems. The prosperity of the whole continent depends deeply on this and every president of all countries should be interested to do so.


1. The USA are urgently asked to treat all countries of the continent equally and to exclude the fear that they are the absolute Hegemon to whom everybody has to obey. That is what all countries of the region are thinking and for which they accuse and condemn the USA. Here the USA have to change their policy fundamentally.

2. The USA should support the politically moderate and conservative countries – primarily Chile, Peru, Colombia and possibly Ecuador, as well as Paraguay and Uruguay – efficiently with economic programs to bring a visible progress to them and thus forming an antipole to the more socialist regimes in the region, which seem to be more and more influenced and leaded by Venezuela’s “bolivarian” revolutionary Chávez. This finally will strengthen the process of democratization in the whole region.

3. It will depend essentially on the countries involved to solve their internal and external problems through political means, inviting the OAS as well as the regional organizations like MERCOSUR and CAS for mediation. For this their institutional functions have to be brought forward and strengthened to credibly fulfill this task. External organizations like UN and EU can give a helping hand and serve at least in certain matters.

4. The two South American politico-economic organizations, MERCOSUR and CAN, need to be supported mainly by the USA but as well by the EU as a good sample, thus to reach their economic goals and make progress in what twelve South American countries decided on 12/9/2004 in a basic statement: The creation of a “South American Confederation” assembling MERCOSUR and CAN members, including Chile, Mexico and Panama.