Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hugo Chavez: 'Capitalism needs to go down'

AP Photo/ISNA, Mona Hoobehfekr)
Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday ridiculed the G-20 summit's attempts to deal with the global financial meltdown, saying that capitalism is in crisis and must end.

Chavez criticized the G-20 nations' pledges of more than a trillion dollars for lending to struggling countries at Thursday's summit in London, calling it "the same medicine that's killing the patient—a trillion dollars ... more money for a bottomless pit."

Speaking during a visit to Iran, the Venezuelan leader said the plans by the Group of 20 industrial and developing countries would strengthen "one of the great guilty ones behind the crisis: the International Monetary Fund."

The IMF and the World Bank are "tools of imperialism" and must be eliminated, Chavez said.
In earlier remarks, he also blamed the United States and Britain, calling them "the most guilty" for the financial crisis sweeping the globe because of the financial model "they've been imposing for years."

"It's impossible that capitalism can regulate the monster that is the world financial system, it's impossible," Chavez told Venezuela's state TV late Thursday. "Capitalism needs to go down. It has to end. And we must take a transitional road to a new model that we call socialism."

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, shared that critique, saying "some decisions by the world leaders cannot restore dead imperialism."

The two leaders, appearing Friday at the inauguration of joint commercial bank, referred to their nations as the "G-2." In recent years, Chavez and Ahmadinejad—both well-known for their anti-U.S. rhetoric—have boosted economic and political ties.

The G-20 leaders on Thursday promised $1.1 trillion for lending to struggling countries. They also vowed major efforts to clean up banks' tattered balance sheets, get credit flowing again, shut down global tax havens and tighten regulation over hedge funds and other financial high-flyers in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Chavez said the summit's efforts were not what the world needs "in the face of the great crisis of global capitalism."

Chavez's own economic program to institute socialism in Venezuela could slow as his country's oil-dependent economy suffers from falling crude prices. Inflation there has soared above 30 percent, eroding Venezuelans' salaries.

In his decade in power, Chavez has boosted state control over the economy and spent heavily on social programs meant to increase his popularity. [sounds like what Obama is doing!]
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