Chavez threatens to veto final declaration of OAS summit
President Hugo Chavez warned Thursday that Venezuela and "other countries" will veto the final declaration of the Summit of the Americas that is set to take place from Friday in Trinidad and Tobago.
"Venezuela vetoes the declaration of the Americas," he said in the eastern Venezuelan town of Cumana, dpa reported.
Chavez met with presidents Raul Castro of Cuba and Evo Morales of Bolivia at a summit of the left-wing alliance, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), which he says allows the group to "fine tune the artillery" ahead of the larger gathering in Trinidad and Tobago.
Commenting on the final declaration of the Summit of the Americas, he said that it was "misplaced in time and in space."
Dressed in military fatigues, Chavez recalled that he also vetoed the final declaration in Quebec City, Canada, in 2001. He noted that he did not have many expectations from the upcoming gathering, which will be US President Barack Obama's first major meeting with his Latin American counterparts.
"Let us hope that the president of the United States goes there to listen," Chavez said. "We are going to speak our truth."
"When the show starts (in Trinidad and Tobago) we will have to wonder why Cuba is not there," he said.
Cuba is the only one of 35 countries in the Americas that is not represented in the Organization of American States (OAS), from which it was suspended in 1962, under US pressure.
Despite its absence, it is likely to play a prominent part in the summit, according to experts, with various Latin American countries letting Obama know that they would like to see an end to the US embargo on the communist island.
In Port of Spain, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza disagreed with Chavez and stressed that the final declaration is both "important" and "necessary."
"There are many issues that are hemispheric, inter-American in nature. Trade, for example, is one. Migration is another. Unfortunately crime is one too, global warming, energy," Insulza said in the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.