Bolivarian alternative for the americas

Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América  (Spanish)

Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
Coat of arms
Headquarters Caracas
Official languages
Member states
Establishment
 -  Cuba–Venezuela Agreement 14 December 2004 
 -  People's Trade Agreement 29 April 2006 
Area
 -  Total 2,513,337 km2
970,405 sq mi
Population
 -  2008 estimate 69,513,221
 -  Density 27.65/km2
71.63/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $636.481 billion
 -  Per capita $9,156.25
Currency
Time zone (UTC-4 to -6)
Internet TLD
Website
/.php/index.org.portalalbawww

ALBA, formally the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Spanish: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América), is an intergovernmental organization based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The name "Bolivarian" refers to the ideology of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century South American independence leader born in Caracas who wanted Hispanic America to unite as a single "Great Nation." Founded initially by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004, it is associated with socialist and social democratic governments wishing to consolidate regional economic integration based on a vision of social welfare, bartering and mutual economic aid. The nine member countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela and Saint Lucia.[1] Suriname was admitted to ALBA as a guest country at a February 2012 summit. ALBA nations may conduct trade using a virtual regional currency known as the SUCRE. Venezuela and Ecuador made the first bilateral trade deal using the Sucre, instead of the US dollar, on July 6, 2010.[2]

The name initially contained "Alternative" instead of "Alliance", but was changed on June 24, 2009.[3]

History

Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, founder of ALBA.

The agreement was proposed by the government of Venezuela, led by President Hugo Chávez, as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA or ALCA in Spanish), a proposal by the United States that was opposed by several countries and the region and inspired massive popular protests.

The Cuba-Venezuela Agreement,[4] 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 began to deliver about 96,000 barrels of oil per day from its state-owned oil company, PDVSA, 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. The agreement also made it possible for Venezuelans to travel to Cuba for specialized medical care free of charge.

When it was launched in 2004, ALBA had two member states, Venezuela and Cuba.[5] 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. Bolivia under Evo Morales joined in 2006, Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega in 2007, and Ecuador under Rafael Correa in 2009. Honduras, under Manuel Zelaya, joined in 2008, but withdrew in 2009 after the 2009 Honduran coup d'état. The Caribbean nations Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia also joined.

Countries that been invited to join the ALBA countries have included at times: Jamaica at the invitation of the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez,[6] Mexico at the invitation of the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega,[7] Hugo Chávez also invited the countries of Central America to join,[8] and also invited was Argentina to use the currency (SUCRE) of this organization.[9] Vietnam has been invited to join as an observer.[10] In the XI Summit of ALBA in February 2012, it was requested the addition of Suriname, St. Lucia and Haiti to the organization. Haiti was granted the special status of permanent member; while the other two countries were named special members, while awaiting their full incorporation.

President Chávez was honored posthumously by the nine member countries of the group and special guests Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana and Haiti at the group's 12th Presidential Summit in Guayaquil, Ecuador.[11]

Common Currency

In October 2009, ALBA leaders agreed during a summit in Bolivia to create a common 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."[12] As of 2014, the currency is not in use in any of the member countries.

Membership

Common name
Official name
Date joined
Population
Area (km²)
GDP PPP (US$ bn)
Capital
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda 2009-06-24 85,632 442 1.575 St. John's
Bolivia Plurinational State of Bolivia 2006-04-29 9,119,152 1,098,581 50.904 La Paz
Cuba Republic of Cuba 2004-12-14 11,451,652 110,861 114.1 Havana
Dominica Commonwealth of Dominica 2008-01-20 72,660 754 .977 Roseau
Ecuador Republic of Ecuador 2009-06-24 14,573,101 256,370 134.805 Quito
Nicaragua Republic of Nicaragua 2007-02-23 5,891,199 129,495 18.878 Managua
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia 2013-07-20 180,870 617 2.101 Castries
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2009-06-24 120,000 389 1.259 Kingstown
Venezuela Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela 2004-12-14 28,199,825 916,445 374.111 Caracas
ALBA-TCP Totals 9 Countries 69,513,221 2,513,337 636.481

In addition, Suriname is a "special guest member" that intends to become a full member.[13] Haiti, an observer member, also intends to join ALBA.[14]

Other ALBA Initiatives

PetroCaribe

Established in 2005 and based on earlier agreements between ALBA founders Cuba and Venezuela, Petrocaribe looks to sell oil under a concessionary financial agreement to fourteen member nations situated in the Caribbean. This initiative provides the Caribbean nations with important hydrocarbon resources, which many do not possess on their territories. In the case of Cuba, Petrocaribe ensures a continual flow to a nation that has been deprived of oil since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989.

TELESUR

Launched in 2005, TELESUR is a media conglomerate that provides news and current affairs broadcasts throughout the ALBA bloc. The program is based on an internet based television channel and is a cooperative effort between the governments of Argentina, Uruguay, and Cuba.

PETROSUR

PETROSUR is an inter-governmental energy alliance between Venezuelan PDVSA, Argentinean YPF, and Brazilian Petrobras nationalized oil companies. The goal of this initiative is to provide funding for social welfare programs within these nations. It is another example of how ALBA nations are using oil revenues to bring aid to poorest inhabitants of these nations.

UNASUR

Established in 2008, UNASUR is an intergovernmental union charged with integrating the Andean communities of South America a system that currently favors nations with coastal access. The UNASUR agreement could be the beginning for sustainable agriculture in the ALBA bloc as communities living in these nations, particularly Bolivia and Peru possess a wealth of knowledge about cultivation and a favorable climate for such activities.

See also

References

  1. ^ Carib Journal St Lucia Officially Joins ALBA August 9, 2013
  2. ^ venezuelanalysis, 7 July 2010, Venezuela Pays for First ALBA Trade with Ecuador in New Regional Currency
  3. ^ "ALBA pasa a ser Alianza Bolivariana de los Pueblos de América" (in Spanish). Venezolana de Televisión. June 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  4. ^ http://www.mltoday.com/Pages/NLiberation/Cuba-VenezPact.html/ initial Cuba-Venezuela TCP
  5. ^ Monthly Review, 2 July 2008, ALBA: Creating a Regional Alternative to Neo-liberalism?
  6. ^ Chávez invita a Jamaica a sumarse al ALBA
  7. ^ Ortega promueve el ALBA en México
  8. ^ Chávez invitó a toda Centroamérica a unirse al ALBA
  9. ^ Chávez invita a Argentina a sumarse a la moneda virtual sucre
  10. ^ Venezuela invita a Vietnam a sumarse al ALBA como observador
  11. ^ Americas Quarterly, "Twelfth ALBA Presidential Summit Takes Place in Ecuador," July 30, 2013. http://www.americasquarterly.org/content/twelfth-alba-presidential-summit-takes-place-ecuador
  12. ^ Bolivia summit adopts new currency - Americas - Al Jazeera English
  13. ^ El Universal, 6 February 2012, ALBA summit ends with entry of guest countries
  14. ^ Haiti Willing to become Full ALBA Member

External links

  • (Spanish) Official website
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