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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ecuador, Bolivia Call for South American Currency

By Bill Faries

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The presidents of Ecuador and Bolivia called for the creation of a single South American currency as a step toward lessening dependence on international financial institutions and the U.S.

Ecuador's Rafael Correa and Bolivia's Evo Morales said a regional currency would help the nations of South America assert their financial independence. Correa and Morales spoke in Buenos Aires after helping inaugurate the Bank of the South, a development bank pushed for by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

``There's no technical reason why we couldn't have our own regional currency tomorrow,'' Correa said at the presidential palace, where heads of state from Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Paraguay were also gathered.

Correa, Morales and Chavez criticize what they call U.S.- backed economic policies they say failed to eradicate poverty and expand their economies in the 1980s and 1990s. Correa and Chavez said South American countries should invest their central bank reserves in the continent and stop ``financing'' the U.S.

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