Grandiloquent pronouncements against imperialism nothwithstanding, it is very easy to think of Chavez as a deluded leader who only goes to confirm that socialism is going the way of the dodo. Seriously speaking, let's face it, Chavez might attract "right-wing" criticism, but he certainly has an idea about how to bring in the role of the state. Perhaps refusing to renew the operating license for RCTV, a private Venezuelan television station may have attracted cacophony among the right-wingers who feel it spells a categorical loss of free speech. However, no-one said he had to be perfect.
Today, sounds like he's a marked man. He's particularly irked by the right-wingers of the Brazilian and Uruguay camp who feel he has little to offer beyond pronouncements of imperialism left, right, and centre. Chavez himself believes:
Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) must be reformulated, Chavez insists, since both are marked by Capitalism and fierce competition.
He's currently in Iran, where he is said to have made the arguments above. Now, interestingly, if Venezuela choses to rescind his decision to join MERCOSUR, he is ready to join ALBA:
"If the Brazilian Right is stronger than the idea of integration, then we will withdraw from Mercosur ... our model is one of integration and we believe in it deeply and it is called the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA)."
With Rwanda and Burundi having joined the East African Community on 1 July from the quasi-defunct Economic Community of Central African States(ECCAS), it just goes, in my view, to underscore how the plethora of regional economic communities offer necessary comparative advantages--both economic and otherwise--to countries. Without a harmonisation, it is evident that countries might start withdrawing and crossing the carpet, as it were, whenever a dispute arises.
In the specific context of the African Union government, which radio reports indicate, at the time of writing, that the "gradualists" are taking the day, it brings into sharp relief the utmost importance of fine-tuning and harmonising the RECS so as to avoid situations like this one befalling Chavez and Venezuela.