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Chavez wants Chile, Cuba to help lead new Americas bloc

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday urged Chile and Cuba to join him in a “troika” of core nations at the forefront of a new Americas bloc that excludes the United States and Canada.

“The troika has to immediately assume responsibility,” said Chavez, the driving force behind the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on the second and closing day of its inaugural meeting.

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But the fledgling bloc was missing two of its biggest members — Argentina and Brazil, whose presidents Cristina Kirchner and Dilma Rousseff both left early on Saturday, with the latter appearing cool on the new grouping’s aims.

“I think we will have to let it (the CELAC) operate for some time” before the unknowns about its operations are ironed out, Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Simoes told a press conference Friday.

If Brazil’s support is a bit measured, part of the reason may be that Latin America’s most populous nation and its new economic and political heavyweight, already leads its own regional bloc, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

UNASUR, made up of Brazil and 11 of its allies, has a smaller scope than the CELAC or the Organization of American States (OAS), but there could be some doubling up in UNASUR and CELAC goals and operations.

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Led by Chavez, CELAC delegates gathered for two days from Friday at a military fort for the meeting of an alliance of 33 countries.

The CELAC grouping was proposed by Latin American leaders in February 2010 in Mexico, more than 60 years after the start of the OAS, which is based in Washington and which excludes communist Cuba.

The OAS has lost credibility in the region in post-Cold War years, particularly as the United States has been seen as inconsistent in its defense of elected leaders as required by the OAS charter. The most glaring case was in the aftermath of the 2009 coup against then Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.

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CELAC nations signed a series of documents, one of which included a clause on “the defense of democracy and constitutional order.”

They also voiced support for Argentina’s claim for the disputed Falkland islands, and called on the United States to end economic sanctions against Cuba, the only one-party Communist regime in the Americas.

The new bloc also gave its backing to social inclusion and food security.

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“We hope that this is going to be a community that does not just keep growing, but also keeps getting more and more united,” said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Chavez, hosting his first major international event since being diagnosed with cancer, on Friday dismissed the “old and worn-out” OAS, suggesting CELAC would eventually take its place.

According to its organizers, CELAC is designed to usher in a new era of Latin American “independence.”

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More than 10,000 security forces were on duty at the summit in Caracas, one of Latin America’s most dangerous cities.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump-loving game show host sets off a tsunami of mockery by claiming ‘racism has nothing to do with race’

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Chuck Woolery, who formerly hosted TV gameshows such as "Love Connection," "Scrabble," and "The Dating Game," has reinvented himself as one of the most vocal pro-Trump voices on Twitter. His observations generate their fair share of backlash and mockery, and a tweet he fired off this Monday was no exception.

According to Woolery, racism is a concept dreamed up by the "Progressive Left" for "attention."

https://twitter.com/chuckwoolery/status/1163455679849533440

"RACISM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE," Woolery tweeted. "Racism is the Progressive Left crying out for attention. If you disagree with the ProgressiveLeft. They consider you a Racist. They are desperate to hold on to the Black Vote."

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Trump-loving evangelicals don’t want Mike Pence as president because he has too much ‘decency’: WaPo columnist

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Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig this week talked with Ana Marie Cox on her "With Friends Like These" podcast about how evangelical Christians have an almost apocalyptic fervor for supporting President Donald Trump.

Bruenig, who is herself a practicing Catholic, earlier this year traveled to her home state of Texas to get a sense of how evangelicals were feeling about politics headed into 2020.

What she found, she told Cox, was a group of Christian conservatives who are even more devoted to the president than they were just three years ago when they helped power his electoral college victory.

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TN GOPer claims to ‘honor’ women on same day his caucus refuses to condemn rep. who ‘sexually abused three girls’

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David Byrd (WSMV/screen grab)

The Tennessee Democratic Party lashed out at state Republican lawmakers for refusing to bring up an effort to condemn a lawmaker who has reportedly admitted sexually harassing or abusing three girls.

The Tennessean reported on Monday that the Republican caucus controlling the state House had refused to add to the calendar an expulsion vote for Republican Rep. David Byrd.

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