Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas
|Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América Spanish</br>
|(and largest city)||Caracas|
|-||Cuba-Venezuela Agreement||14 December 2004|
|-||People's Trade Agreement||29 April 2006|
970,405 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2008 estimate|
|-||Total||$636.481 billion (21)|
|-||Per capita||$9,156.25 (82)|
|Time zone||(UTC-4 to -6)|
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Spanish Wp→: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América, or ALBA) is an international cooperation organization based on the idea of social, political, and economic integration between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is associated with socialist and social democratic governments and is an attempt at regional economic integration based on a vision of social welfare, bartering and mutual economic aid, rather than trade liberalization as with free trade agreements. The member nations are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela. At the February 2012 summit, Suriname and Saint Lucia were admitted to ALBA as guest countries. ALBA nations are in the process of introducing a new regional currency, the SUCRE. It was intended to be the common virtual currency by 2010 and eventually a hard currency. On Tuesday, July 6, 2010, Venezuela and Ecuador conducted the first bilateral trade deal between two ALBA countries using the new trading currency, the Sucre, instead of the US dollar.
The name initially contained "Alternative" instead of "Alliance", but was changed on June 24, 2009.
The agreement was initially proposed by the government of Venezuela, led by Hugo Chávez, as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA or ALCA in Spanish) proposed by the United States. The adjective Bolivarian refers to Simón Bolívar, after whom Bolivia is named and who is revered as a hero in Venezuela and to a lesser extent in entire Spanish-speaking South America for his leadership of independence movements against Spanish colonial power.
The Cuba-Venezuela Agreement, which was signed on December 14, 2004, by Presidents Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, was aimed at the exchange of medical and educational resources and petroleum between both nations. Venezuela delivers about 96,000 barrels of oil per day from its state-owned petroleum operations to Cuba at very favorable prices and Cuba in exchange sent 20,000 state-employed medical staff and thousands of teachers to Venezuela's poorest states. Venezuelans can also travel to Cuba for specialized medical care free of charge.
When it was launched, ALBA had two member states, Venezuela and Cuba. Subsequently a number of other Latin American and Caribbean nations have entered into this Peoples' Trade Agreement (Spanish: Tratado de Comercio de los Pueblos, or TCP) which aims to implement the principles of ALBA.
President Evo Morales of poor but natural gas and lithium -rich Bolivia joined the TCP on April 29, 2006, only days before he announced his intention to nationalize Bolivia's hydrocarbon assets. Bolivia is a member of both UNASUR and ALBA, thus its attitude is crucial to relations between the two, says Marion Hörmann, since Bolivia is traditionally seen as a mediator between the Andean countries and the rest of South America. Regional Integration: Key Role for Bolivia. Venezuela and Ecuador are also members of UNASUR.
Newly elected President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua signed the agreement in January 2007; Venezuela agreed to forgive Nicaragua's US$31 million debt as a result. On February 23, 2007, Ortega visited Caracas to solidify Nicaragua's participation in ALBA. However, Nicaragua is also a member of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
In June 2009, the Prime Minister of Jamaica said he would seek to address the future of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) given the effects of ALBA and Trinidad and Tobago's proposed political union with the OECS on the Caribbean Community as the two main elements he says will have a "destabilising effect" on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc.
On August 25, 2008, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya signed an agreement to join the ALBA, with a rally in front of the Presidential House that was attended by many of the presidents of the countries that are part of ALBA, including Chávez and Morales. The Honduran congress - led by Roberto Micheletti, who later became Zelaya's main political enemy, and de facto president of the interim government after the 2009 Honduran coup d'état - approved ALBA on October 9, 2008. On December 16, 2009, the Honduran congress met to withdraw the country from the ALBA, claiming a "lack of respect" from Venezuela since the country's joining in 2008, citing in particular Hugo Chavez' remarks about a potential invasion of Honduras to restore Manuel Zelaya to office, after he was removed on 28 June 2009 in the 2009 Honduran coup d'état. Withdrawal from ALBA was ratified by the Honduran Congress on January 13, 2010. Economic relations with Venezuela continue, including via Petrocaribe.
In 2012, Haiti made an agreement that it would join ALBA.
In December 2008, ALBA member countries met again to approve the technical details of the introduction of the new currency that was named SUCRE.
In October 2009 leaders from ALBA agreed during a summit in Bolivia on the creation of the regional currency. "The document is approved," said Bolivian President Evo Morales, the summit host. President Hugo Chávez announced "The sucre - an autonomous and sovereign monetary system that will be agreed upon today so that it can be implemented in 2010." The three Caricom member states which are currently using the Eastern Caribbean Dollar have all agreed to use the new proposed SUCRE as a common currency for electronic transactions amongst ALBA members rather than the US dollar. These countries will not be issuing bills in SUCRE, it will instead be used for electronic payment, and each country can withdraw the equivalent in its own currency.
A 2010 article by al Attar and Miller argues that ALBA may present a potential for developing Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) in practice, describing ALBA as having "a cohesive counter-vision of international law rooted in notions of complementarity and human solidarity".
In a 2010 article published by the Council on Foreign Relations, Joel D. Hirst summarized ALBA as:
"a statist agreement meant to facilitate government-to-government interaction based upon the principles of solidarity, cooperation, fair trade, fight against poverty and social ills, and the joint development of member countries. The proposal seeks to open room for government intervention, allowing the state to move beyond regulation and arbitration into the direct delivery of “social justice” to the majority poor of their countries.
- venezuelanalysis, 7 July 2010, Venezuela Pays for First ALBA Trade with Ecuador in New Regional Currency
- "ALBA pasa a ser Alianza Bolivariana de los Pueblos de América", Venezolana de Televisión, June 3, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-06-30. (in es)
- http://www.mltoday.com/Pages/NLiberation/Cuba-VenezPact.html/ initial Cuba-Venezuela TCP
- Monthly Review, 2 July 2008, ALBA: Creating a Regional Alternative to Neo-liberalism?
- "Leftist trio seals Americas pact", BBC News, 2006-04-29. Retrieved on 2010-04-26.
- venezuelanalysis.com | Venezuela News, Views, and Analysis
- Prensa Latina
- Venezuelan and Ecuadorian Presidents Seal Friendship with Joint Declaration | venezuelanalysis.com
- "Ecuador to Officially Join the ALBA Agreement", Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, June 3, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-06-21.
- Fuller, Mike. "Dominica Joins ALBA Revolution". Retrieved on 2008-01-28.
- CARIBBEAN-ALBA-St.Vincent ready to join ALBA but Grenada is not, 21 April 2009
- "UNDESIRED CONSEQUENCES: Golding says CARICOM under threat", Caribbean News Agency, 2009-06-10. Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
- Bajo presiones, Congreso ratifica adhesión a la Alba
- El Tiempo, 13 January 2010, El Parlamento de Honduras ratifica su salida de la Alba
- Haiti Willing to become Full ALBA Member
- Al Attar, Mohsen and Miller, Rosalie (2010), "Towards an Emancipatory International Law: the Bolivarian reconstruction", Third World Quarterly, 31: 3, pp347 — 363
- The Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas, by Joel D. Hirst, Council on Foreign Relations, Number 2, December 2010, p.15-16.
- AlternativaBolivariana.org Spanish
- Venezuela's Answer to "Free Trade": The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas
- Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela celebrate alternative to US-led trade pacts
- Venezuela and the Caribbean (April 21, 2006)
- Editorial: Hugo Chávez and the Americans (May 12, 2005)
- Text of December 14, 2004 agreement between Venezuela and Cuba for the application of ALBA
- Venezuelan and Ecuadorian Presidents Seal Friendship with Joint Declaration (Dec 22, 2006)
- Venezuela, leftist allies create regional currency (April 16, 2009)
- Learning from ALBA and the Bank of the South by Martin Hart-Landsberg, Monthly Review
- ALBA: Dawn of Solidarity in Latin America (video)
- The ALBA and Copenhagen by Fidel Castro, Monthly Review, October 19, 2009
- Has Nicaragua found its Silver Bullet? by the Global Post, July 16, 2010
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