Venezuela – U.S. Research File The Interdependence Behind Bilateral Political Tensions: Economic Realities Affecting Venezuela – U.S. Relations By Felix Blossier

7 April, 2010 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

In January 2006, the sixth gathering of the World Social Forum, during which Hugo Chávez as well as other left-leaning and socialist leaders fiercely criticized imperialist practices, was held in the Caracas Hilton Hotel. As James Surowiecki noted in an article for The New Yorker six months before the conference opened, a meeting sponsored by the Venezuelan Ministry of Finance took place at the same hotel. The aim of the aforementioned meeting was meant to promote American investments in Venezuela. How can one explain such a paradox? Are Venezuela and the United States only rhetorical political foes? Or, is there an underlying economic relationship between these two countries that renders them important trading partners?

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The Economic Model That is in Crisis Needs Urgent Change

As representatives from a wide diversity of trade union, farmer, indigenous, women’s, youth, consumer advocacy, human rights, environmental and, in general, social and civil organizations that are part of hemispheric networks such as the Hemispheric Social Alliance and united here at the IV People’s Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, we wish to transmit this message from the people we represent:

1) The Summit of the Americas continues to be marked by exclusion and lack of democracy. First, we consider the continued exclusion of Cuba from hemispheric governmental forums to be inexplicable and unacceptable. No reason suffices to justify this exclusion, especially when nearly all countries of the hemisphere – the only exception being the U.S. – have diplomatic relations with this sovereign nation. We demand the full inclusion of Cuba in all hemispheric spaces in which it chooses to participate and, above all, an end to the illegitimate and unjust blockade that the United States has imposed on the island for decades. [This Summit represents an opportunity for President Obama to demonstrate whether or not he intends to truly change hemispheric relations that have been based on impositions]. Continue reading

Trade’s Trade Offs – Council on Hemispheric Affairs


Adam Smith and David Ricardo’s theories regarding the potential positive effects of free international trade are today widely leaned upon by economists and policymakers. But even Adam Smith came to qualify his claims, noting, among other things, the need for free trade to be introduced slowly so that domestic industry and labor could adjust to increased international competition.[1] Now, with the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations at an impasse and a proliferation of separate free trade agreements (FTAs) in the Americas and around the world, it is advantageous to reconsider, in light of new evidence, the ideal state-market relationship concerning trade liberalization and development in Latin America.

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