"The most recent Summit of the Americas, held in Argentina in November 2005, bringing together the leaders of the Western Hemisphere, provided the latest opportunity for President Hugo Chavez's efforts to put forward an alternative project for Latin America. Upsetting the agenda of the Summit, Chavez was successful in transforming the event into a referendum on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). As he has long argued, Chavez denounced the FTAA as an effort by the wealthier states in the hemisphere to exploit the poor, and he has instead proposed ALBA (Alternativa Bolivariana de las Americas) as a pact that would exclude the United States. By the end of the event, only Venezuela and the four members of Mercosur, an alternative regional integration effort, opposed the proposed summit communiqué and the FTAA. However, Chavez played skillfully to the numerous Latin American journalists in attendance and the masses of anti-Bush demonstrators that had gathered near the Summit venue. Sentiments among the leaders after the Summit ran high, with a public rebuke by Mexico's President Fox leading to a verbal counterpunch by Hugo Chavez and a mutual withdrawal of ambassadors between Mexico and Venezuela."
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (February 2006), v.5 no.2