James Suggett
December 2, 2008

Caracas — In a speech at the III Extraordinary Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in Caracas on Wednesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez proposed the creation of a regional monetary bloc with its own currency to break the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and U.S.-dominated international financial institutions.

“We are going to create a proposal for a monetary zone of solidarity-based commercial exchange,” said Chávez. “The hegemony of the dollar must end.”

The currency would start out as a virtual compensation system, and later become a hard currency, Chávez explained. It would make Latin American countries less susceptible to the effects of the world financial crisis, he said.

Chávez suggested that the name of the currency be the Sucre, in honor of Antonio José de Sucre, a South American independence hero. SUCRE also stands for Unified Regional Compensation System, translated from Spanish.

The ALBA is an alternative trade bloc to the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and its members include Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Dominica, and Ecuador as an associate.

Chávez also said the ALBA member countries must construct their own solutions to the world financial, food, and ecological crises. “We are not going to wait here with our arms crossed for the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to come and solve the problems for us,” said Chávez. “We have things to say, the South also exists.”

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