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Chavez launches regional body that excludes US

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Chavez launches regional body that excludes US

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Back on the world stage after cancer treatment, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has launched a new regional body that pointedly excludes the US.

Displaying new vigour, he welcomed his counterparts in the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. And he showed he had lost none of his anti-Washington rhetoric.

Former American President Jefferson said the destiny of the US would be to swallow up all of the old Spanish colonies, one by one, Chavez told guests.

“This is how the United States was born. It is in its nature. Let’s hope it changes someday,” he said.

Seeking re-election next year, Chavez insists he is now cured. But insiders privately say the secrecy surrounding his health remains a source of concern.