ALBA countries pull out of hemispheric mutual defense agreement
Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela agreed to leave the hemispheric defense agreement
Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela agreed on Tuesday in the Bolivian town of Tiquipaya to withdraw from the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty), a hemispheric agreement on defense, said Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño.
The decision of the four member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) came amid their criticism of the Inter-American human rights system and the Organization of American States (OAS) itself. The ALBA member countries regard them as bodies under the tutelage of Washington.
The Ecuadorian foreign minister said that this decision is official, as the four countries signed a document denouncing the Rio Treaty.
In February, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa had already called for the ALBA bloc to withdrawn from the Rio Treaty, claiming that the body was "pulverized" by the US during the war in the Falklands archipelago.
"Cocoa is to Venezuelans what wine is to the French," says Alejandro Prosperi, head of the Venezuelan Chamber of Cocoa, using this simile to express the paramount importance or the cocoa industry for the country. Often times heralded as "the best cocoa in the world," a passion for quality dating back to the sixteenth century has made Venezuelan cocoa growers to enjoy high prestige at international level and their product to be among the most sought-after in the world.