Chavez said the leaders were looking to "step up the pace" on economic integration efforts including the creation of the Bank of the South, a regional state development bank that Chavez says has been held up for "bureaucratic reasons".

"The best strategy is [going on] the offensive," Chavez said.

While US-style free-market "neo-liberalism collapses, we're moving forward" with South American integration, he added.

Rich nations blamed

On Monday, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's president, had accused wealthy nations of being responsible for the global financial crisis, saying their "irresponsibility" could destroy fiscal progress made in the developing world.

He said rich countries "need to take responsibility" because growing economies that "have done everything to have good fiscal policy ... can't be turned into victims of the casino erected by the American economy."

Brazil's Ibovespa stock index had plunged 9.4 per cent on Monday following news that the US congress had rejected a $700bn bail-out plan to aid financial firms hit by the crisis.

But the Ibovespa rallied on Tuesday, finishing up more than eight per cent.

Leaders of nations such as Brazil have expressed concern over the global financial crisis amid fears that foreign investment could fall.