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Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (Spanish)
(and largest city) Venezuela Caracas
Official languages English
Spanish
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 (21)
 -  Per capita $9,156.25 (82)
Currency
Time zone (UTC-4 to -6)
Internet TLD
Website
AlternativaBolivariana.org

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Spanish: 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. ALBA nations are in the process of introducing a new regional currency, the SUCRE. It is intended to be the common virtual currency by 2010 and eventually a hard currency.

The name initially contained "Alternative" instead of "Alliance", but was changed on June 24, 2009.[1] ALBA also means "dawn" in Spanish.

Contents

Background

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, 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 [2], 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.

Membership

When it was launched, ALBA had two member states, Venezuela and Cuba.[3] 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-rich Bolivia joined the TCP on April 29, 2006, only days before he announced his intention to nationalize Bolivia's hydrocarbon assets.[4]

Newly elected President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua signed the agreement in January 2007;[5] 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.[6]. However, Nicaragua is also a member of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, signed a joint agreement with Hugo Chávez, for Ecuador to become a member of ALBA once he became president.[7] Ecuador officially joined in June 2009.[8]

In January 2008, the Caribbean island nation of Dominica joined ALBA.[9]

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.[10] Congress approved ALBA on October 9, 2008.[11].

In April 2009 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was accepted as the seventh member of ALBA, while Grenada stated publicly that it was not yet ready to join the bloc.[12]

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.[13]

Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines formally joined ALBA on 24 June 2009.[14]

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.[15]

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Member states

Common name
Official name
Date joined
Population
Area (km²)
GDP PPP (US$ bn)
Capital
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda 02009-06-24 24 June 2009 &0000000000085632.00000085,632 &0000000000000442.000000442 1.546 St. John's
Bolivia Plurinational State of Bolivia 02006-04-29 29 April 2006 &0000000009119152.0000009,119,152 &0000000001098581.0000001,098,581 43.424 Sucre
Cuba Republic of Cuba 02004-12-14 14 December 2004 &0000000011451652.00000011,451,652 &0000000000110861.000000110,861 108.2 Havana
Dominica Commonwealth of Dominica 02008-01-20 20 January 2008 &0000000000072660.00000072,660 &0000000000000754.000000754 .72 Roseau
Ecuador Republic of Ecuador 02009-06-24 24 June 2009 &0000000014573101.00000014,573,101 &0000000000256370.000000256,370 106.993 Quito
Nicaragua Republic of Nicaragua 02007-02-23 23 February 2007 &0000000005891199.0000005,891,199 &0000000000129495.000000129,495 15.89 Managua
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 02009-06-24 24 June 2009 &0000000000120000.000000120,000 &0000000000000389.000000389 1.085 Kingstown
Venezuela Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela 02004-12-14 14 December 2004 &0000000028199825.00000028,199,825 &0000000000916445.000000916,445 358.623 Caracas
ALBA Totals 8 Countries &0000000069513221.00000069,513,221 &0000000002513337.0000002,513,337 636.481

Observer states

Observer states of the organisation include Haiti, Iran and Uruguay.[16]

Monetary union

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 Chavez announced "The sucre - an autonomous and sovereign monetary system that will be agreed upon today so that it can be implemented in 2010."[17] 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 the SUCRE currency,it will instead be used for electronic payment, and each country can withdraw the equivalent in its own currency.

See also

References

  1. ^ "ALBA pasa a ser Alianza Bolivariana de los Pueblos de América" (in es). Venezolana de Televisión. June 3, 2009. http://www.vtv.gob.ve/noticias-nacionales/19957. Retrieved 2009-06-30.  
  2. ^ http://www.mltoday.com/Pages/NLiberation/Cuba-VenezPact.html/ initial Cuba-Venezuela TCP
  3. ^ Monthly Review, 2 July 2008, ALBA: Creating a Regional Alternative to Neo-liberalism?
  4. ^ BBC NEWS | Americas | Leftist trio seals Americas pact
  5. ^ venezuelanalysis.com | Venezuela News, Views, and Analysis
  6. ^ Prensa Latina
  7. ^ Venezuelan and Ecuadorian Presidents Seal Friendship with Joint Declaration | venezuelanalysis.com
  8. ^ "Ecuador to Officially Join the ALBA Agreement". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba. June 3, 2009. http://www.cubaminrex.cu/English/ALBA/Articulos/Press/2009/Ecuador.html. Retrieved 2009-06-21.  
  9. ^ Fuller, Mike. "Dominica Joins ALBA Revolution". http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID=%7B9D9EFB74-D8F5-493D-AC42-4A31C4B86D4D%7D)&language=EN. Retrieved 2008-01-28.  
  10. ^ http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID={572E71EE-08F1-4328-A8C2-83D8840AC033}&language=EN
  11. ^ Bajo presiones, Congreso ratifica adhesión a la Alba
  12. ^ CARIBBEAN-ALBA-St.Vincent ready to join ALBA but Grenada is not, 21 April 2009
  13. ^ "UNDESIRED CONSEQUENCES: Golding says CARICOM under threat" (in English). Caribbean News Agency. 2009-06-10. http://www.cananews.net/news/131/ARTICLE/38630/2009-06-10.html. Retrieved 2009-06-23.  
  14. ^ http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90852/6683436.html
  15. ^ El Tiempo, 13 January 2010, El Parlamento de Honduras ratifica su salida de la Alba
  16. ^ "Dmitry Medvedev took part in a meeting of the leaders of the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America.". Caracas: Presidential Press and Information Office. 27 November 2008. http://eng.kremlin.ru/text/news/2008/11/209830.shtml. Retrieved 2009-09-30.  
  17. ^ http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/10/2009101712255748516.html

External links


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