Bolivia’s new president has joined forces with his Cuban and Venezuelan counterparts, signing up to a trade and aid agreement in Havana aimed at countering Washington’s influence in South America.
Evo Morales swept to power in Bolivia in December pledging to become the “nightmare of the US government”.
Aligning himself with fellow left-wingers Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez is likely to help him fulfil his promise.
“We’re here to sign a treaty that will allow us to solve social problems, structural problems, and above all to build unity and integration in Latin America,” he declared.
The Bolivirian Alternative for the Americas, or Alba accord, will be strengthened by the arrival of gas-rich Bolivia while Castro and Chavez are offering greater social support and trade ties.
It is thought more countries may join up, but it is not all happy families. Lima has just withdrawn its ambassador to Venezuela, accusing Chavez of interfering in Peru’s current presidential election.