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Ortega leads anti-U.S. critique at Latin American food summit

Leaders at Wednesday's summit in Nicaragua blamed US trade policies for the region's food crisis.

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Leftist leader: At the summit's opening, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega blamed the crisis on the 'tyranny of global capitalism.'

Esteban Felix/AP

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In a region beset by runaway food costs, the socialist government of Hugo Chávez's Venezuela and its leftist allies appear to have found fertile ground to plant the seeds of revolutionary discourse.

At an emergency food-security summit held Wednesday in Managua, Nicaragua, 14 Latin American and Caribbean nations convened under the umbrella of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), the leftist trade bloc founded in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela as an alternative to United States free-trade agreements.

The summit was supposed to focus on how the countries can prevent food shortages and unrest as the global food crisis hits the region, but it morphed into a series of complaints about US policy led by the summit's host, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

Mr. Ortega called the food crisis an "epic problem" – one that he blames on the "tyranny of global capitalism." This echoes the words of his ideological comrade Mr. Chávez, who recently called the crisis "the greatest demonstration of the historic failure of the capitalist model."

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