Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez is to pay an official visit to Dominica as early as this coming weekend. The exact day of the visit has yet to be announced, but it could coincide with Chávez’s visit to St. Kitts this Friday to attend the sixth Petro Caribe summit, a meeting that will be attended by the leaders of a number of Caribbean islands, including Dominica’s Roosevelt Skerrit and Cuba’s Raul Castro. Chávez is expected to pay a one-day visit to Dominica to tour a number of facilities being funded by the Venezuelan government. It will be his second visit to the island.
The Dominican opposition has charged that the upcoming visit is part of Skerrit’s re-election campaign, as he announced this past weekend that a general election could be held before the constitutional deadline of 2010.
Dominica is a member of Chávez’s ALBA initiative (Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas or Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), an alternative to the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas that advocates for a socially-oriented trade block rather than one strictly based on the logic of deregulated profit maximization.
Photo: AP/” Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, right, talks to Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, left, as Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, center, looks on before the Bolivarian Alternative trade pact, ALBA, meeting at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008.”