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Leftists address hemispheric issues

The bloc rejects the coming Honduran vote and criticizes plan to expand U.S. military presence in Colombia.

October 18, 2009|Associated Press

COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA — Leaders of a bloc of leftist Latin American and Caribbean governments urged the international community Saturday to reject the presidential election planned by Honduras' interim government next month.

The leaders of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas group also denounced Colombia's plan to give the U.S. military expanded use of bases in that South American nation, calling it a threat to the region's security.

In a joint statement issued at the end of the two-day ALBA meeting, the leaders criticized the coup-installed government in Honduras and urged the world's nations to continue pressing for the reinstatement of ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

"No electoral process held under the coup-installed government, or the authorities that emerge from it, can be recognized by the international community," the statement said. It added that "it is fundamental to drive a diplomatic offensive and to promote forceful actions for the total reestablishment of the constitutional" order in Honduras.

On Friday, the nine-nation ALBA bloc -- formed by socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- approved more economic sanctions against Honduras to punish the interim government led by Roberto Micheletti.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said the bloc urged Zelaya's supporters to peacefully resist the coup-installed government.

But Chavez several times argued that people have a right to rebel.

The ALBA leaders also said they rejected the "installation of military bases of the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean," saying they "endanger the peace, threaten democracy and facilitate the hegemonic interference" of the U.S. in the region's affairs.

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