Visiting Bolivian President Evo Morales said late Tuesday that he is expecting Bolivia to become a full member of the regional trade bloc, the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), media reported Wednesday.
"I am here to get more information about Mercosur and to foster Latin American unity," Morales, Bolivia's first president of indigenous origin, told an audience in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Tuesday, when Venezuela officially became the fifth member of Mercosur.
"This is a historic moment," Morales said. "Never before have the indigenous peoples of South America thought in these terms, taken part in events as important as these which advance Latin American integration."
He said that the people of the region have to focus on economic and social solutions that help the sectors of society excluded by the neo-liberal economic model.
He cited fair trade for small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives as a good way to achieve an integration that will benefit Latin American people.
"We are convinced that we have to seek economic and social solutions that include structural changes. In Bolivia, we have begun a cultural, democratic and peaceful revolution," he said. "The looting of natural resources and the marginalization of indigenous people has to change," he added.
Mercosur now has Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela as full members, and Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador as associate members.
The signing ceremony that formalized Mercosur's expansion to include Venezuela was attended by the presidents of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.