Venezuela’s President has announced his country will withdraw from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In a speech to mark 1 May, Hugo Chavez said he wanted the move to take effect as soon as possible. “We don’t need to go to Washington, not to the IMF nor the World Bank, nor to anything, he said.
As Venezuela has settled its IMF debt, the withdrawal is largely a symbolic and timely gesture coming amid a leadership crisis at the World Bank. Leaving both organisations would sever ties between the fifth largest oil supplier to the United States and the world’s leading lenders to emerging nations.
Meanwhile, Venezuela retakes control over massive Orinoco Belt crude projects, a vital step in Chavez’s nationalization drive. But negotiations over continued shareholding and compensation for various US, British and French firms could still prove contentious. President Chavez also spoke of his goal to set up a regional bank, backed by Venezuelan oil revenues, which would finance projects in South America.