Food crisis: summit in Venezuela, protests in Peru

Venezuela‘s President Hugo Chávez convened an extraordinary meeting of member nations of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in Caracas April 23 to discuss the world food crisis. At the meeting, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage, and Chávez signed a series of accords to promote mutual agricultural development, create a joint food distribution network, and create a $100 million ALBA food security fund. “The food crisis is the greatest demonstration of the historical failure of the capitalist model,” President Chávez declared. Lage said the crisis is the fruit of an “unjust international economic order” in which “the logic is profit and not the satisfaction of peoples’ needs.” (VenezuelAnalysis, April 24)

The summit also addressed the crisis in Bolivia.

More than 1,000 women protested outside Peru‘s Congress April 30, banging empty pots and pans to demand that the government act to counter rising food prices. “The pot is empty, García!” the women chanted, directing their ire at President Alan García. The women, many toting small children on their hips, run food kitchens for the poor. The meals at the eating halls (comedores) are subsidized by the government, but the women say they are struggling to provide enough food and want the government to increase financial aid. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on the eating halls each day in Peru. (Reuters, April 30)

See our last posts on the food crisis and Latin America’s alternative integration.