Chavez, Gaddafi seek new world order

PORLAMAR, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuela’s  socialist President Hugo Chavez urged colleagues from Africa  and South America to help form a “multipolar” world yesterday  at a summit intended to counter Western economic dominance.

“This is the beginning of the salvation of our people,” Chavez said in an opening speech to the two-day meeting.

His summit guests included Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who is  celebrating four decades in office and had a white limousine  flown to Venezuela to meet him at the airport, and Robert  Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for nearly 30 years.

Chavez has governed for just over 10 years and makes no  bones about his aim to stay in office for decades more while he  works to turn oil-rich Venezuela into a socialist state.

He said the summit, attended by 28 African and South  American leaders, would help the mainly poor nations improve  ties and rely less on Europe and the United States.

“The 21st century won’t be a bipolar world, it won’t be  unipolar. It will be multipolar. Africa will be an important  geographic, economic and social pole. And South America will be  too,” Chavez said.

Also attending were the presidents of Brazil and South  Africa. Their model of business-friendly economics mixed with a  focus on helping the poor is more popular among many African  countries than Chavez’s radical message.

The leaders are expected to ink a document today  backing stronger links between the two continents and urging  global bodies like the United Nations and World Bank to give  poor countries more clout.

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