Bolivian, Venezuelan turbulence at EU-Latam summit

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Bolivian, Venezuelan turbulence at EU-Latam summit

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Dramatic moves by Bolivia are overshadowing a summit of the European Union and Latin American nations, in Vienna;

Regional economic differences have sown doubts over whether free-trade negotiations will be possible.

Bolivia’s new left-wing leader Evo Morales started his first visit to Europe as president with a vow to end what he said were centuries of foreign “pillaging” of his country.

Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnic went into the meeting calling it full of challenges.

Morales nationalised oil and gas operations in Bolivia on the first of this month.

He said “Neither the indigenous peoples nor I came this far in the name of vengance; I am here to bring hope to my people, especially to defend those who have historically been marginalised, humiliated, despised, under-rated, and even threatened with extinction.”

The Bolivian development and strife between Venezuela and other Andean Group partners have effectively derailed planned negotiations between the larger Mercosur bloc and the EU.

Free marketeers called for more trade talk and less ideology.