South American inflation kings launch regional bank

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 9, 2007 (AFP) - Six South American presidents on Sunday launched the Bank of the South, the region's answer to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as a source for development funds. Presidents Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Nicanor Duarte of Paraguay, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela -- all political on the left or left of center -- signed the bank into being.

"Motherland yes, colony no!" chanted a group of activists, most belonging to Kirchner's leftist Peronist party, who stood behind the presidents at the signing ceremony at the president's office.

It was Kirchner's last official act as president before his wife, Cristina Kirchner takes over on Monday. Uruguay President Tabare Vazquez was not present at the signing, but will attend Kirchner's inauguration ceremony, an Argentine official told AFP.
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Chavez and Kirchner pushed the initiative to create the regional bank in 2006, hoping it will help wean the region off what are widely seen as the negative influences of the IMF and World Bank.

Chavez said the bank was part of a broader "war" with the more advanced nations of the north. <

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