Rodrigo Cabezas, the Venezuelan finance minister, will travel to Washington on Sunday to make presentations promoting the Bank of the South, a lender Chavez is creating as a counterweight to the Washington-based multilaterals.

 

"These activities will be carried out by ... Rodrigo Cabezas and the team that accompanies him, in parallel to the 2007 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which Venezuela will not attend," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

   

Chavez frequently slams both multilateral agencies as working to advance US business interests by pressing free-trade agreements and structural adjustment packages on developing countries.

   

The leader of a self-styled socialist revolution, Chavez has tapped into discontent with the IMF in Latin America that grew markedly after the 2001 collapse of Argentina's economy that many in the region blamed on the global lender.

   

Critics say Chavez is squandering billions of dollars in windfall oil revenue through massive government spending they say has not reduced the country's reliance on crude.