Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that the multiple Latin American and Caribbean summit taking place in Brazil was a message for US president-elect Barack Obama, that the region wants to talk "with its own voice."
"Now that a new president is coming in the United States, it is very opportune that we should meet, without protectorates, without hegemonies. That is enough of empire," Chavez said in the northeastern Brazilian resort of Costa do Sauipe, dpa reported.
"The United States used to do in Latin America as they pleased," he added.
Cuban President Raul Castro was also attending the summits in Brazil, in the communist country's first top-level presence at an international gathering since his predecessor and brother Fidel Castro attended a Mercosur summit in Argentina in mid-July 2006, just before he stepped down from the Cuban leadership.
"Cuba returns where it should always have been. We are forming a team, a good team," Chavez said.
The Venezuelan leader missed the formal Mercosur summit Tuesday.