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Latin American nations will use virtual currency for trade

December 14th, 2009

latin_americaMembers of a leftist bloc of nine Latin American nations said Saturday that they plan to use a new currency called the “sucre” for trade among themselves starting in January.

No sucres will be printed or coined, but the virtual currency will be used to manage debts between governments while reducing reliance on the U.S. dollar and on Washington in general.

Cuba signed an agreement Saturday to pay for a shipment of Venezuelan rice in sucres, said Rogelio Sierra, the island’s deputy foreign minister. He declined to say what the shipment was worth.

That agreement was made even as ever-cash-strapped Cuba has fallen behind on its debt to nations and multinational corporations during the global recession.

The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas trade group is holding a two-day summit starting today in Havana. The group was formed by Venezuela’s self-described socialist president, Hugo Chavez, as an alternative to U.S.-backed free-trade consortiums. Members are Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia, Antigua and Barbuda, San Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.

The Associated Press

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