Poles Apart

June 29, 2009

Probably coincidentally, the coup in Honduras has followed a deepening of the Bolivarian “revolution” in Venezuela, as well as the expansion of the ALBA trade bloc.

Last week, Hugo Chavez announced that Venezuela would be lifting patents on certain drugs, saying that “A song is intellectual property, but an invention or a scientific discovery should be knowledge for the world, especially medicine” while his trade minister, Eduardo Saman, said that “Patents have become a barrier to production, and we cannot allow them to be barriers to medicine, to life, to agriculture.”

This is an extremely radical stance, and reflects the increasing confidence that nations like Venezuela have that the unipolar world order is changing. They are now taking a route similar to India, which has never allowed the blanket patenting of medicines, and challenging market ideology.

The coup also follows the signing of a $4 billion deal between Russia and Venezuela that will see the creation of a joint bank. This, along with the continuing penetration of China into the Latin American economy, is surely weighing on the minds of agencies in Washington.

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