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ALBA or ALBA–TCP, formally the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Spanish: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América) or the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples' Trade Treaty (Spanish: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América – Tratado de Comercio de los Pueblos), 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".[2]

Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América  (Spanish)

Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
Coat of arms of ALBA-TCP
Coat of arms
Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (orthographic projection) Without Honduras.svg
Headquarters Caracas
Official languages
Member states
Leaders
Bolivia David Choquehuanca
Establishment
• Cuba–Venezuela Agreement
14 December 2004
• People's Trade Agreement
29 April 2006
Area
• Total
2,513,337[1] km2 (970,405 sq mi)
Population
• 2008 estimate
69,513,221
• Density
27.65/km2 (71.6/sq mi)
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
• Total
$636.481 billion
• Per capita
$9,156.25
Currency
Time zone UTC-4 to -6
Internet TLD

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 ten member countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela.[3] 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.[4] Ecuador withdrew from the group in August 2018.[5]

The name initially contained "Alternative" instead of "Alliance", but was changed on June 24, 2009.[6]

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, founder of ALBA

The agreement was proposed by the government of Venezuela, led by President Hugo Chávez[7]as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA or ALCA in Spanish, an agreement proposed by the United States) that had been opposed by some countries in Latin America.[citation needed]

This Cuba–Venezuela Agreement,[8] 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 the two 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. In exchange, Cuba 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.[9][10]

When it was launched in 2004, ALBA had only two member states, Venezuela and Cuba.[10][11] Subsequently, a number of other Latin American and Caribbean nations 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.[citation needed]

Jamaica, at the invitation of Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela, [12] and Mexico, at the invitation of Daniel Ortega, the President of Nicaragua,[13] were invited to join the ALBA countries. Hugo Chávez also invited the countries of Central America to join ALBA,[14] and invited Argentina to use SUCRE, the currency of this organization.[15] Vietnam has been invited to join as an observer.[16] In the eleventh Summit of ALBA in February 2012, Suriname, St. Lucia and Haiti requested admission to the organization. Haiti was granted the special status of permanent member and the other two countries were named special members, while awaiting their full incorporation.[10]

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.[17]

Common currencyEdit

In October 2009, ALBA leaders agreed at 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 (Venezuela) announced "The sucre [is] an autonomous and sovereign monetary system that will be agreed upon today so that it can be implemented in 2010."[18] As of 2015, the virtual currency is being used to compensate trade between Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and especially Ecuador and Venezuela.[10]

Summits of heads of state and governmentEdit

Summit
Date
Location
Country
Decisions
I Ordinary 14 December 2004 Havana   Cuba Founding summit of ALBA. Cuba-Venezuela Agreement signed by presidents Hugo Chávez and
Fidel Castro.
II Ordinary 27–28 April 2005 Havana   Cuba Attended by presidents Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro.
III Ordinary 29 April 2006 Havana   Cuba Attended by presidents Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro and Evo Morales from Bolivia,
who joins the group. The TCP is signed.
IV Ordinary 10 January 2007 Managua   Nicaragua Meeting coinciding with inauguration as president of Nicaragua of Daniel Ortega, who announces
the entry in the bloc as fourth country member.
V Ordinary 28–29 April 2007 Barquisimeto   Venezuela
VI Ordinary 24–26 January 2008 Caracas   Venezuela Dominica joins the bloc.
I Extraordinary 22 April 2008 Caracas   Venezuela
II Extraordinary 25 August 2008 Tegucigalpa   Honduras Honduras joins the bloc.
III Extraordinary 26 November 2008 Caracas   Venezuela
IV Extraordinary 2 February 2009 Caracas   Venezuela Celebration of the tenth anniversary of Bolivarian Revolution.
V Extraordinary 16–17 April 2009 Cumaná   Venezuela
VI Extraordinary 24 June 2009 Maracay   Venezuela Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines join the bloc.
VII Extraordinary 29 June 2009 Managua   Nicaragua Condemnation of the coup d'etat in Honduras and demand of restoration of deposed president
Manuel Zelaya.
VII Ordinary 16–17 October 2009 Cochabamba   Bolivia The Unified System for Regional Compensation (SUCRE) is adopted.
VIII Ordinary 13–14 December 2009 Havana   Cuba
IX Ordinary 19 April 2010 Caracas   Venezuela
X Ordinary 25 June 2010 Otavalo   Ecuador
XI Ordinary 4–5 February 2012 Caracas   Venezuela
XII Ordinary 30 July 2013 Guayaquil   Ecuador Saint Lucia joins the bloc.
VIII Extraordinary 20 October 2014 Havana   Cuba Summit to deal with the Ebola crisis.
XIII Ordinary 14 December 2014 Havana   Cuba Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis join the bloc.
IX Extraordinary 17 March 2015 Caracas   Venezuela
XIV Ordinary 5 March 2017 Caracas   Venezuela
XV Ordinary 5 March 2018 Caracas   Venezuela

MembershipEdit

Common name
Official name
Date joined
Population
Area (km²)
E.E.Z + Area (km²)
GDP PPP (US$ bn)
Capital
  Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda 24 June 2009 85,632 442 110,531 1.575 St. John's
  Bolivia Plurinational State of Bolivia 29 April 2006 9,119,152 1,098,581 50.904 La Paz
  Cuba Republic of Cuba 14 December 2004 11,451,652 110,861 460,637 114.100 Havana
  Dominica Commonwealth of Dominica 20 January 2008 72,660 754 29,736 0.977 Roseau
  Grenada[3][19] Grenada 14 December 2014 109,590 348.5 27,770 1.467 St. George's
  Nicaragua Republic of Nicaragua 23 February 2007 5,891,199 129,495 254,254 18.878 Managua
  Saint Kitts and Nevis[3][20] Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis 14 December 2014 54,961 261 10,235 1.087 Basseterre
  Saint Lucia Saint Lucia 20 July 2013 180,870 617 16,156 2.101 Castries
  St. Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 24 June 2009 120,000 389 36,691 1.259 Kingstown
  Venezuela Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela 14 December 2004 28,199,825 916,445 1,387,952 374.111 Caracas
ALBA–TCP totals 10 countries 69,694,091 2,514,563.5 5,057,735 641.136

In addition, Suriname is a "special guest member" that intends to become a full member.[21] Haiti, an observer member, also intends to join ALBA.[22] Syria and Iran are also observer members.[23][24]

Other ALBA InitiativesEdit

 
XIV ALBA-TCP summit, 2017

PetroCaribeEdit

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 1991.

TeleSUREdit

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 Venezuela, Uruguay, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

PETROSUREdit

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.[citation needed]

CriticismEdit

In August 2013, BBC News stated that "Alba consists of one oil-rich nation and various minnows wishing to benefit from its largesse" and that "there is little chance of the rhetoric becoming reality any time soon".[25] As the crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela began, President Nicolás Maduro called on other ALBA members to begin contributing, though the smaller members distanced themselves from the proposal since they only sought the benefits from Venezuela.[25]

During the 2017 Venezuelan protests, Williams Dávila, President of the MERCOSUR Committee of International Affairs, Interregional and Strategic Planning, criticized ALBA, stating that "populism always attacks the OAS because it is composed of sovereign states, but the states that are part of ALBA act as the vassal countries of Cuba".[26]

In July 2018, President Lenín Moreno of Ecuador distanced himself from ALBA, stating that the organization "has not worked for awhile".[27]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The total area of ALBA reaches 5,057,735 km² if the maritime areas is included .
  2. ^ "Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - international organization". Retrieved 24 August 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c "Declaration of the ALBA-TCP XIII Summit and commemoration of its tenth anniversary, December 14, 2014 - ALBA TCP". Retrieved 28 June 2016. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ venezuelanalysis, 7 July 2010, Venezuela Pays for First ALBA Trade with Ecuador in New Regional Currency
  5. ^ ALBA Boss Chastizes Ecuador For Abandoning Regional Bloc, Telesur, August 24, 2018
  6. ^ "ALBA pasa a ser Alianza Bolivariana de los Pueblos de América" (in Spanish). Venezolana de Televisión. June 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Arana, Marie. "Opinion - Bolívar, Latin America's Go-To Hero". Retrieved 24 August 2018. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-11-04. Retrieved 2005-12-02.  initial Cuba-Venezuela TCP
  9. ^ https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/CubaVenezuela-Alliance-Piccone-Trinkunas.pdf
  10. ^ a b c d Inc, IBP (20 March 2009). "Latin America Energy Policy and Regulations Handbook Volume 1 Strategic Information and Programs". Lulu.com. Retrieved 24 August 2018 – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ Monthly Review, 2 July 2008, ALBA: Creating a Regional Alternative to Neo-liberalism?
  12. ^ "Cuba Revolución: Chávez invita a Jamaica a sumarse al ALBA". Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Diario, El Nuevo. "El Nuevo Diario". Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  14. ^ (ABN), Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias. "Chávez invitó a toda Centroamérica a unirse al ALBA". Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  15. ^ "Chávez invita a Argentina a sumarse a la moneda virtual sucre - Radio La Primerísima". Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  16. ^ Venezuela invita a Vietnam a sumarse al ALBA como observador Archived July 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Twelfth ALBA Presidential Summit Takes Place in Ecuador". www.americasquarterly.org. Retrieved 24 August 2018. 
  18. ^ "Bolivia summit adopts new currency". Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  19. ^ "Granada - ALBA TCP". Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  20. ^ "San Cristóbal y Nieves - ALBA TCP". Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  21. ^ El Universal, 6 February 2012, ALBA summit ends with entry of guest countries
  22. ^ "Haiti Willing to become Full ALBA Member : Escambray". Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "Farsnews". en.farsnews.com. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  24. ^ "A Guide to ALBA | Americas Quarterly". www.americasquarterly.org. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  25. ^ a b Plummer, Robert (1 August 2013). "Alba alliance ambitions lay bare Latin trade confusion". BBC News. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  26. ^ "Dávila: Víctimas de uso armas prohibidas en manifestaciones están bajo protección del derecho internacional". La Patilla (in Spanish). 14 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  27. ^ "Lenin Moreno ordenó a la UNASUR desalojar edificio en Ecuador". La Prensa (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-07-07. 

External linksEdit