Category Archives: ENGLISH ARCHIVE

Stevia: indigenous plant of Paraguay

Stevia: indigenous plant of ParaguaySTEVIA: INDIGENOUS PLANT OF PARAGUAY

 This is sweet news for Paraguay, even while Argentina and other neighboring countries seek to develop their production of stevia as an alternative sweetener.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

Stevia producers and farmers gathered in November 13-14, 2012 in Asuncion to discuss current challenges and accomplishments in their initiatives.Under the framework of the VI International Symposium of Stevia, President Federico Franco informed participants that Stevia or Ka’aHe’ê hs been declared as a plant of Paraguayan genetic heritage. The Head of State announced substantial investments to encourage the cultivation of this natural non-caloric sweetener, discovered by Moise GiacomoBertoni in 1887.

Stevia is a herbaceous plant and native to Paraguay that is making inroads worldwide as an alternative to traditional sugars – derived from sugar cane, sugar beets and maize – as a sweetener. It is widely used as a sweetener in Asia, and its use is growing in the United States and elsewhere.Stevia is a naturally low-calorie sweetener and has been described as a boon to people suffering with diabetesand/or obesity.

The President of Paraguayan Chamber of SteviaProduction (CAPASTE), Juan Barbosa, asked government representatives to enact legislation that encourages Steviaproduction as well as developing a certification stamp that would accompany Paraguay’s stevia products exported abroad. President Franco’s government introduced in this symposium a number of initiatives in to increase production, processing and marketing of SteviaRebaudiana Bertoni in the international markets.

The president noted that: “the Ministry of Agriculture and Dairy (MAG) products, is planning to invest over USD 2 million towards the production of Ka’a He’ê for the last quarter of 2013 and following next year.”

Production of stevia sprouts requires modern technology; the Paraguayan ministry of Agriculture is working to develop techniques, tools and research labs to facilitate the cultivation of stevia on a larger scale.

Enzo Cardozo, the minister of Agriculture, expressed his commitment that “the Ministry of Agriculture will create programs of training, research and expand Stevia plantations across the country, in order to transform Paraguay into a top producer of stevia on the world stage.

Paraguayan farmers have cultivated more than 2,200 hectares of stevia plants. Other countries in the region such as Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia are directing their energies towards large scale production of stevia.

Spero columnist Peter M Tase writes on Latin America and trade issues.

Read the article: STEVIA: INDIGENOUS PLANT OF PARAGUAY

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Albania celebrates 100 years of religious tolerance

Albania celebrates 100 years of religious tolerance

By  Peter M. Tase and Arta Musara

Monday, November 19, 2012

Albania has always been considered a unique example of co-existence in terms of religion and culture. Past records show that independently from historic and political settings, Albanians showed a friendly behavior towards each other’s religious tendency.  The relation of Albanian’s with religion has not been a constant one.

There are some valid questions to answer in today’s Albanian society in order to further understand on what’s happening in a region with a variety of religion and religious communications such as the Balkans.
These matters mainly focus in the risks of the Albanian society to enliven religious conflict due to radicalization; the tendency of religion to integrate itself and the risk of clashes between democratic institutions and religious rule.
Analyzing behavior towards religion and religious behavior in today’s Albania, there are some main features coming out of the Albanian society and its relation to religion.
First, generally Albanians show a pragmatic behavior which is also related to religion. Their ultimate values are more materially oriented then spiritually oriented.
This mainly affects attitudes toward religion, as they influence attitudes of acceptance or rejection based on religious preferences, tendencies or spiritual attraction.
In the second place, it is necessary to emphasize Albanians’ tendency towards homogeneity which is reflected in their main core values as a society. Taking in consideration the variety of norms and values depending on social groups or sub-groups the individual is an essential part of it, when it comes to make generalizations, they tend to act unvaryingly towards religion, faith and diversity.  The salient characteristic of Albania’s long period of the communist regime was the establishment of an equal society in all aspects, including expectations and an equal social class for all, causing tremendous consequences in the burgeoning of social standards and attitude to reinforce “the power of the people” which it turned out be “a responsibility of all.”
In trying to differentiate between instrumental and religious values as well cultural influences on them, even in historic arguments, there has been a distinction between Muslim believers and orthodox or catholic worshipers in their attitudes towards intellectual accomplishments and professional choices. The last two groups have historically been focused on their education and their scholarly work clearly testifies willingness for a greater flexibility and greater engagement in urbanization processes, an attitude which is entirely different from the firmness of Muslim population in the country in relation to the afore mentioned life aspects of Albanian society.
The religious heritage to the majority of Albanian society is less influential in differentiating alternatives and attitudes than the social status’ role. The social groups or subgroups belong to culture, age and profession, etc., represent variables which create a greater homogeneity in core values and cause differences in secondary values and related attitudes. This is a possible explanation of this greater tolerance Albanians show towards diverse cultural, religious and ethnical stereotypes.
Since late September, Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha has chaired various meetings of the national committee in charge of coordinating the 100th anniversary ofAlbania’s independence, scheduled to commence on Nov. 28th, 2012.
Berisha called upon every committee member to improve the communication between government offices while arranging various historical events in which a special importance will be given to religious tolerance in Albania.
November 28th will be a historic date of festivities, not only in Albania but also for every Albanian community in Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo. Albania’s anniversary of statehood will revive the historical successes and blunders of the last 100 years, in addition to salient traditions in Religious coexistence and ecumenism.
According to Berisha,“now is the time to establish more active action teams that would better arrange the celebrations at every Albanian small town.”
The current process of preparations has consisted of many discussions derived from a significant historical legacy, which at times has been constructive and unproductive. Historical facts encourage Albanian people to better reflect and evaluate appropriately historic information that may have currently been altered.
For Mr. Berisha “the noteworthy historical controversies have been debated for a long time and thanks to these discussions [Albanians] have revealed the truth that has been ignored in many levels in the past. Debates in this small country of the Western Balkans are evolving in a constant course, their dynamic influence never ends, but religious tolerance and coexistence will never fade from the nations historical memory”
This is a perfect opportunity for the Albanian society and politicians to recognize Albania’s accomplishments and historic blunders of the past as well as to view the future with new hopes, aspirations and see Albaniabecome a full member of the European Union; a constant aspiration of Albanian politics for more than two decades.
Albania’s European Union Integration process has taken over two decades and the its government is making little progress on the vital electoral reform laws, consolidation of democratic institutions, ensuring theindependence of the court system from political pressure as well as the fight against corruption. Hopes remain high for Albania to join the European family when Tirana has fulfilled the necessary legislative recommendations and reforms.
Peter M. Tase writes for Spero News and Arta Musaraj is the editor in chief of  Academicus International Scientific Magazine.            

Read the article: Albania celebrates 100 years of religious tolerance

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

Paraguay makes headway in war on drugs

PARAGUAY MAKES HEADWAY IN WAR ON DRUGS

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

Paraguay makes headway in war on drugsOn November 13, the Paraguayan National Secretariat for the War on Drugs (SENAD),  organized an extensive exhibition of confiscated items as evidence of its recent “Operation Black Eagle.”
According to Paraguayan President Federico Franco: “Today begins officially a new international image of Paraguay and our nation begins the construction of a bright future with an extensive hydroelectric industry and further develop bi-oceanic trade routes,”
Since the beginning of his administration, President Franco has been deeply committed to the war against drugs. The current operation is a major success of his administration; SENAD forces have captured over 25,000 pounds of cocaine, five airplanes, trucks, weapons and nineteen suspects who were members of a local drug trafficking gang.
Paraguay’s current administration has mobilized the armed forces, Ministry of Interior, National Police andSENAD forces, on a full scale war against drug trafficking and organized crime.  The main goal of the current administration is to end drug trade and eliminate drug trafficking routs in the country.
In “Operation Black Eagle” event, was present the director of SENAD Dr. Francisco de Vargas Benítez, who was enthusiastic from the successful operations and attacks against Drug traffickers.  For De Vargas “the greatness of this operation lies not only in the quantity of drugs seized, but in the huge amount of evidence collected in addition to 19 people arrested.”
Observers in Paraguay say that this is a clear evidence that Franco’s government is determined to dismantle international organizations dedicated to drug trafficking.  The suspects recently detained are of various nationalities, including from Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay.
Spero writer Peter M. Tase is an analyst of Latin American affairs.

Paraguay promotes Native American language

Paraguay promotes Native American languagePARAGUAY PROMOTES NATIVE AMERICAN LANGUAGE

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

The Guarani language is the only official indigenous tongue in Latin America. It is increasingly spoken in rural Paraguay and is the bearer of Paraguayan culture, folklore and national identity.

Guarani language, or Ava ñe’ê, as it is also known, is the original language of South American countries, used before the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores came to the new continent.

In the recent decades Guaraní language has become less spoken in the major cities of Paraguay, therefore it requires families and society to take some extra measures in securing its daily use at home by youngsters.  For Ramon Silva, a professor and teacher of the Guaranilanguage, “Paraguay is the first country in the hemisphere to recognize a native language and to include it in the constitution of 1967, it is up to us to preserve this inherited important treasure”.

For Prof. Silva, “Guarani, as a highly spoken language was always present in Paraguayan homes, but now young generations learn how to read and write in Guaraní and unfortunately do not practice it daily. In order to secure the language’s survival it should be spoken more frequently.”  If this trend continues then the vocabulary of Guaraní language will shrink and Paraguayan society, sooner or later, will have to gather forces and prevent this language from becoming extinct.

According to official sources, the language is spoken by 90 percent of the population and 60 percent of Paraguayans only speak Guaraní language, whereas 20 percent of Paraguayans, predominantly in the national capital city – Asuncion, only speak Spanish.

On November 8th, the administration of President Federico Franco, celebrated the inauguration of the Academy of Guaraní Language, which will be administered by the State Secretary of Language policy, Dr. Carlos Villagra Marsal.  For Secretary Marsal “language is the moral fiber of a country, and the academy is the responsible institution for ensuring its broadcast, growth and strengthening as a tool of communication among our people.”

For Lino Trinidad Sanabria, there is an arduous task waiting in order to “rescue, preserve and achieve a unified voice towards the grammar and interpretation of phonetics in Guaraní Language; the members’ objective is to produce a dictionary that will differ from the current versions with Spanish translation.”

The Academy is staffed by: Domingo Aguilera Adolfo Jimenez, Feliciano Alcaraz Acosta, Mario Ruben Alvarez Benitez, Milciades Almidio Aquino Arguello, Ruben Bareiro Saguier, David Galeano Olivera Abdon, Maria Georgina González Morán, María Eva Manfeld Aguero, Maria Elvira Martinez de Campos, Julia Irene Segovia de Borba, Ramon Silva, Miguel Angel Sanabria, Lino Verón Trinidad Gomez, Sara Delicia Villagra-Baroux, Thaddeus Zarratea Davalos.

Paraguay: Stevia and economic diversification

PARAGUAY: STEVIA AND ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION

By Peter M. Tase

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paraguay, a nation located in the heart of South America, barely makes it in the news despite having a myriad of exciting agricultural products that are exclusively grown and harvested in its fertile soil.  As reported by establishment media in the U.S., most news coming out of Paraguay is sensationalistic and focused on the political transition from the government of former President Fernando Lugo, a leftist aligned with Venezuela’s anti-American Hugo Chavez, rather than its unprecedented economic growth. Part of that growth is due to the export of organic sugar and other sweetening agents such asstevia, which is being found more and more often on the shelves at American supermarkets.
Sandwiched between Ar
gentina and Brazil, Paraguay is currently emerging as an exemplary organic food producer in the region as well as in a worldwide level.  In 2011, Paraguay was the largest exporter of organic sugar to the United States, with a quantity of approximately 35 thousand tons made available exclusively to U.S. consumers and food processing customers and enterprises.  Additionally, in November 2010, Paraguay exported five hundred tons of organic sugar to Belgium alone.   The country’s local economy heavily depends on the production of organic sugar, stevia, soy beans and sesame seed.  Paraguay has become the number one producer in the world of sesame seed. Sesame seed is abundant with B vitamins, various minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassiu
m, copper and selenium.
Another area of significant importance is the untapped mining sector which could attract foreign investments interested in further exploring and processing ilmeniteand titanium ore. If Paraguay’s significant mineral resources could be combined with the country’s agricultural economy, it could be a turning point for diversifying Paraguay’s economy, and turn it into a regional mining leader in mining, even considering that Paraguay has recently encountered stumbling blocks in its trade with its partners in the MERCOSUR regional organization. The mining sector would give more leverage to Paraguay’s economy as well as raise the standard of living.
Stevia rebaudiana
According to well known Paraguayan journalist, Pedro Gómez Silgueira, his country is internationally known as a purveyor of “food for the world.”   This statement is even more accurate today than before, considering that rural Paraguay is known to be the land where Stevia rebaudiana was first discovered in 1899 by a Swiss botanist, Moisés de Santiago Bertoni.
Stevia is a member of the chrysanthemum family, and is native to eastern Paraguay in the Amanbay mountain range and the adjacent Parana State in Brazil. The daily use stevia by the Guarani people, the indigenous population of Paraguay, piquedBertoni’s interest during his first visit to the country in the 1800s. As a result, he published studies in various publications that were very helpful in shedding more light on the native South American communities at the turn of the 20th century.  The Guaraní term for stevia is “Ka’a-he’ẽ” – meaning sweet plant – which is still used to sweeten “yerba mate” Ilex paraguayensis – which is related to holly – that is brewed as a green tea in South America as tonic.
In recent decades, st
evia has become a popular commodity in the developed world thanks to its high nutritional benefits: it is a naturally low calorie sweetener that is bolstered by  hundreds of phito-nutrients, minerals, vitamins, proteins and natural fibers. The natural sweet compounds in the stevia leaves are called diterpeneglycosides or steviol glycosides.  Once dissolved and extracted, these natural elements are incredibly sweet, 150 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia tastes sweeter than honey yet it is no more fattening that pure water and safe to use by patients with diabetes.  Stevia is non-toxic and beneficial to people on a low-cal diet, and for those diagnosed with hypo- and hyperglycemia, hypertension. Stevia does not cause dental caries, as does sugar. Stevia has become a healthy choice among other sweeteners, such as cane and beetsugar, aspartames, saccharin, and other synthetics.
Since 2009, Coca-Cola in partnership with Cargill has used stevia sweetener for its low calorie soft drinks which were first introduced in the East Coast and Midwest American markets.  At the same time, Pepsi has also taken some steps towards re-branding its products and come out with drinks that use Splenda or other artificial sweeteners that are substantially incomparable to the health and dietary qualities that stevia has to offer.
Stevia can be u
sed as a sweetener and as an herbal tea for its medicinal effects.  Stevia leaves are 20 to 30 times sweeter than cane sugar.  Stevia causes a significant effect on human taste buds without raising the level of blood sugar.  In addition, it provides zero calories for those on a diet.  The product is available in three forms: in a fresh leaf state, a dark green liquid concentrate, and a fluffy white concentrate powder.
Steviol glycosides a
re heat and pH stable, they do not ferment or darken upon cooking, therefore very useful in an array of foods and beverages.   Even thoughstevia has been  known in Europe and North America for only the last few years, Asian countries such as Japan and Korea have used these ultra refined extracts as a natural sugar substitute for over twenty years in carbonated drinks, fruit juices, health and sport drinks, yogurts, desserts and jellies, as well as snacks, candies, chocolates, pastries, noodles, rice wines, soy sauces, pickled vegetables, cookies and biscuits. Some manufacturers include: Asada, Asahi, Dong A, Kirin, Pokkari, Meiji,Nichirei, Lotte, Samyang, Nissin, Nattori and others.  Today, China grows 85% of the world’s consumption of stevia leaf.
Stevia is widely consumed in many countries of the world, including those in Asia mentioned above, including Australia, Canada and the United States, and the European Union. Consumption of stevia is projected to grow the U.S. – a country where over 25 million of children and adults or over 8 percent of the population is affected by diabetes, including children and youngsters.

Paraguay: Mexico and Colombia show support for new government

PARAGUAY: MEXICO AND COLOMBIA SHOW SUPPORT FOR NEW GOVERNMENT

By Peter M. Tase

Sunday, November 11, 2012

On November 9th, the Colombian government confirmed its diplomatic presence in Asuncion. Ambassador AlbertoBarrantes, has returned to his post in Paraguay since the democratic political impeachment of the former President, Fernando Lugo, on  June 22nd.
According to Paraguayan Foreign Minister FernándezEstigarriba, this decision taken by Bogota is “a positive unilateral decision” that displays a rift between Colombia and other members of the UNASUR regional organization. With this unilateral action by Colombia, it is unlikely that other UNASUR countries will make the same decision to send their representatives in Asuncion.
Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru withdrew or recalled their ambassadors for consultations following the dismissal of former presidentLugo, a decision that is likely to change only when the new president of Paraguay begins a new term in August 2013.
On the other hand, the Mexican government has demonstrated a leadership role in bringing Paraguay closer to the Pacific Alliance, a regional trade block that was created recently by Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. Mexican Ambassador Fernando EstradaSamano emphasized the “highly valued the bilateral relations” between Paraguay and Mexico and was open to help President Federico Franco’s government in fulfilling its obligations before the OAS and international Community.

FILED UNDER POLITICSDIPLOMACYPARAGUAYCOLOMBIAMEXICO,ARGENTINAGEOPOLITICS, SOUTH AMERICA

COLOMBIA AND MEXICO: POLITICAL SUPPORT TO PARAGUAYAN GOVERNMENT

COLOMBIA AND MEXICO: POLITICAL SUPPORT TO PARAGUAYAN GOVERNMENT

On November 9th, the Colombian government confirmed its diplomatic presence in Asuncion. Ambassador Alberto Barrantes, has returned to his post in Paraguay since the democratic political impeachement of the former President in June 22nd.

According to Paraguayan Foreign Minister Fernández Estigarriba, this decision taken by Bogota is “a positive unilateral decision” that impartially causes a crack between Colombia and all other members nations of UNASUR. With this unilateral action of Colombia, it is unlikely that other UNASUR countries will make the same decision to send their representatives in Asuncion.

Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru withdrew or called their ambassadors for consultations following the dismissal of former president Lugo, a decision that is likely to change only when the new president of Paraguay will begin his term in August 2013.

On the other hand Mexican government has demonstrated a leadership role to bring Paraguay closer with the Pacific Alliance, a regional trade block that is created recently by Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. Mexican Ambassador, Fernando Estrada Samano, “highly valued the bilateral relations” between Paraguay and Mexico and was open to help President Franco’s government in fulfilling its obligations before the OAS and international Community.

P.TASE

 

Argentina’s throttling of Paraguay’s economy

Argentina's throttling of Paraguay's economyARGENTINA’S THROTTLING OF PARAGUAY’S ECONOMY

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

By Peter Tase

Argentina’s customs barriers control Paraguayan exports.

At a time when Paraguay voted in favor of Argentina to join the UN Security Council, the administration of Cristina Kirchner violates treaties and international laws which specify the status of products that are in transit. According to international agreements, Paraguayan products that are in transit through the Port of Buenos Aires, should not be examined by its customs check point. In addition to these obstacles, Argentina owes to Paraguay more than USD 193 million from the purchase of electrical energy at Yacyreta Hydroelectric Dam.

On November 2nd, the Customs of Argentinean Government in Buenos Aires informed Paraguayan river transportation companies that they will inspect all containers originated from Asuncion and destined to international markets. This new measure will further complicate and elevate the obstacles for Paraguayan products in International Markets. Paraguayan ship owners have rejected this new measure by Argentiniangovernment. These procedures will cause a delay and crash the Paraguayan businesses that ship their products through the port of Buenos Aires.

Paraguayan president, Federico Franco, has expressed his concern and at a press conference in e Department of Cordillera assured the public that “Paraguay will defend its sovereignty, file a note of protest to appropriate international organizations and make sure to defend our national sovereignty.”

These verification procedures will enable Argentinean customs to open the Paraguayan containers in Buenos Aires, unload its contents and even destroy the security seals at every container, therefore will tamper all commodities coming from Asuncion in transit through Rio de la Plata.

According to the president of the Center of Maritime Ship-owners of Paraguay (CAFyM), Guillermo Ehrecke: “this situation is totally unusual, but coming from Argentina, it is not a surprise to Paraguayans”

Mr. Ehrecke said that this measure violates international treaties and agreements, in which is clearly established that the goods in transit from one country to another cannot be checked at ports where the goods are in transit. These non-sense measures will cause an additional expense of USD 800 – 1,000 dollars/container to Paraguayan exporters.

On November 2nd, I contacted three times by phone the Embassy of Argentina and no one was available to comment on the current situation caused by Argentinean Customs’ services. It is evident that Kirchner wants Paraguay to become another province of Argentina. Buenos Aires’ current measures will elevate the sense of nationhood amongst Paraguayans and Kirchner’s actions will certainly backfire sooner or later.

With current blocking measures against Paraguayan exports, President Kirchnerwants to harm the Paraguayan economy and reduce its impressive level of growth, which Argentina envies and is certainly far away from reaching the level of Asuncion’s macro-economic stability.

Speroforum columnist Peter Tase is an analyst of Latin American affairs.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.
Read the article:

ARGENTINA’S CUSTOMS CONTROL PARAGUAYAN EXPORTS.

Argentina’s customs control Paraguayan exports.

At a time when Paraguay voted in favor of Argentina to join the UN Security Council, the administration of Cristina Kirchner violates treaties and international laws which specify the status of products that are in transit.  According to international agreements, Paraguayan products that are in transit through the Port of Buenos Aires, should not be examined by its customs check point. In addition to these obstacles, Argentina owes to Paraguay more than USD 193 million from the purchase of electrical energy at Yacyreta Hydroelectric Dam.

On November 2nd, the Customs of Argentinean Government in Buenos Aires informed Paraguayan river transportation companies that they will inspect all containers originated from Asuncion and destined to international markets.  This new measure will further complicate and elevate the obstacles for Paraguayan products in International Markets. Paraguayan ship owners have rejected this new measure by Argentinian government. These procedures will cause a delay and crash the Paraguayan businesses that ship their products through the port of Buenos Aires.

Paraguayan president, Federico Franco, has expressed his concern and at a press conference in e Department of Cordillera assured the public that “Paraguay will defend its sovereignty, file a note of protest to appropriate international organizations and make sure to defend our national sovereignty.”

These verification procedures will enable Argentinean customs to open the Paraguayan containers in Buenos Aires, unload its contents and even destroy the security seals at every container, therefore will tamper all commodities coming from Asuncion in transit through Rio de la Plata.

According to the president of the Center of Maritime Ship-owners of Paraguay (CAFyM), Guillermo Ehrecke: “this situation is totally unusual, but coming from Argentina, it is not a surprise to Paraguayans”

Mr. Ehrecke said that this measure violates international treaties and agreements, in which is clearly  established that the goods in transit from one country to another cannot be checked at ports where the goods are in transit. These non-sense measures will cause an additional expense of USD 800 – 1,000 dollars/container to Paraguayan exporters.

On November 2nd, I contacted three times by phone the Embassy of Argentina and no one was available to comment on the current situation caused by Argentinean Customs’ services. It is evident that Kirchner wants Paraguay to become another province of Argentina. Buenos Aires’ current measures will elevate the sense of nationhood amongst Paraguayans and Kirchner’s actions will certainly backfire sooner or later.

With current blocking measures against Paraguayan exports, President Kirchner wants to harm the Paraguayan economy and reduce its impressive level of growth, which Argentina envies and is certainly far away from reaching the level of Asuncion’s macro-economic stability.

PETER TASE

(International Program Assistant to Secretary General of IFEES)

Venezuela’s complicated relations with South American partners

Venezuela’s complicated relations with South American partners

By  Peter M. Tase

Sunday, October 07, 2012

After Paraguay’s membership suspension from the South American MERCOSUR regional trade organization in late June, its trade relations with Venezuela have somewhat reached a stalling point. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s policies of 21st century socialism are affecting the globalist trends of South American countries which additionally have been negatively affected by the anti –globalist leaders of Ecuador and Bolivia.

Read the article…

Venezuela’s complicated relations with South American partners