[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 23:00 GMT
Bolivia 'to join Chavez's fight'
Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez
Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez share a common vision
Bolivia's president-elect Evo Morales has said his country is uniting with Venezuela in a fight against "neoliberalism and imperialism".

Mr Morales spoke as he met Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez on a brief second leg of a seven-nation tour.

The two men agreed to share information and resources in agriculture, healthcare, education and energy.

Mr Morales won the recent election on pledges to raise social spending and turn away from free-market policies.

Correspondents say his trip may cause concern among US officials worried about the rise of what they see as left-wing radicalism in Latin America.

Mr Morales last week held talks in Cuba with Fidel Castro. He will also visit Europe, South Africa, China and Brazil.

'Axis of good'

Mr Morales was received in Caracas with full military honours - as well as an embrace and smiles from Mr Chavez.

"We are here to resolve social problems, economic problems," Mr Morales said.

"This movement is not only in Bolivia; Fidel in Cuba and Hugo in Venezuela are logging triumphs in social movements and leftist policies."

Earlier, Mr Chavez said the two men were building an "axis of good".

"The axis of evil - do you know who the axis of evil is? Washington - that's the axis of evil. And their allies in the world, who threaten, who invade, who kill, who assassinate," he said.

"We are creating the axis of good, the new axis of the new century."

In a news conference shortly before Mr Morales left Venezuela, the men said they had agreed to work together in a number of fields.

Until Mr Morales is formally sworn in as president of Bolivia in just under two weeks' time, these documents remain declarations of intent, says the BBC's Greg Morsbach in Caracas.

But they agreed to carry out a literacy programme in Bolivia, with the intended aim of eradicating illiteracy within 30 months. Mr Chavez pledged his government would provide technical assistance in terms of gas and oil exploration.

The issue of energy is key in both nations. Venezuela is the world's fifth biggest oil exporter and Mr Chavez has taken steps to bring the state-owned oil company under more direct government control.

In Bolivia, a raging struggle over who should exploit the country's large natural gas reserves, discovered over the past decade, has claimed two presidencies.

No US visit

Mr Morales' next stop is Spain. His 10-day tour of seven countries does not include the US.

Mr Morales would have gone to Washington had he been invited, his spokesman Alex Contreras said.

On Monday he held his first meeting with the US ambassador to Bolivia.

A statement from Mr Morales' party said the meeting had been cordial and the two men had agreed on the importance of fighting the illegal drugs trade.

Mr Morales was elected president with nearly 54% of the vote, the biggest support for any candidate since democracy was restored in Bolivia in the 1980s.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific