Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez' dream of a regional development bank like the International Monetary Fund was officially launched yesterday as finance ministers from seven South American nations agreed to establish Banco del Sur. The new Bank of the South will be dedicated to strengthening trade ties and expanding growth across the continent. Its home? Caracas, naturally.
South American leaders are under pressure from businesses to maintain good relations with Venezuela, the unpredictable regional powerhouse. Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay all back the plan. Finance ministers signed a declaration supporting the bank yesterday and the institution will be inaugurated in November.