Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, and Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi have called for an alliance of countries from Africa and South America to challenge the dominance of the West.
Over 20 leaders from the two continents, who are attending the second South America-Africa (ASA) summit being held on the Venezuelan island of Margarita, heard talk of the proposed alliance being able to " transform the world" in both political and economic terms.
According to Time magazine one of the suggestions made by Colonel Gaddafi, on his first ever visit to Latin America, was the formation of a defense alliance along similar lines to NATO, an idea previously touted by President Chavez.
The BBC confirms that agreement was reached at the summit to establish a new development bank for South America, the initial investment for which would be $20 billion. Furthermore the Venezuelan President spoke of his willingness to bankroll a future development bank that would encompass both South America and Africa.
Describing Socialism as "the path to the world's salvation", President Chavez went on to lament the poverty he said had been created "by the empires of the North, by the empires of Europe, by the U.S. empire".
Amongst the leaders attending the weekend summit are Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Chile's Michelle Bachelet and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. And they heard Colonel Gaddafi, who came to power in Libya in 1969 following a military coup, say that the U.N. Security Council was in need of reform, an opinion shared by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil.
The 67-year-old Libyan leader also referred to the fact that "colonialism has stolen our riches" and accused Western countries of wishing to retain their power, saying:When they had the chance to help us, they treated us like animals, destroyed our land. Now we have to fight to build our own power
Other issues being discussed at the summit include energy and the global economic crisis. With regard to the former issue President Chavez has indicated that his country is planning to become involved in energy projects in Africa, the possible construction of an oil refinery in Mauritania being one such project.
The first South America-Africa (ASA) summit was held in 2006 in the Nigerian capital Abuja.