September 20, 2020

ALBA celebrates 10th anniversary


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celebrates 10th anniversary, plans to move toward economic integration

From FoxNews Latino

The Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, celebrated its 10th anniversary Sunday with an eye toward moving toward the economic integration of its members, welcoming two new members and paying tribute to founders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

“Exactly a decade ago, ALBA was born in Havana as the result of the political vision and unifying will of (former Cuban President) Fidel (Castro) and (late Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez, the authors of this epoch of changes that today all our peoples and their political elites are experiencing,” said Cuban President Raul Castro, the host of the 13th ALBA summit.

Although the conference lasted a mere five hours and its main participants were the presidents of the Bolivarian alliance – including Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega – also in attendance were the heads of the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, , St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was not on hand, but he sent his vice president, Jorge Glas, to represent him.

Emerging from the meeting was a 43-point declaration that included expressions of solidarity for Venezuela and Cuba in the face of “destabilizing attacks” by the United States, and condemnations both of the economic embargo on the communist island as well as the new sanctions imposed by the U.S. Congress on Caracas.

“The countries of ALBA will not allow the utilization of the old policies already implemented in the region directed toward fostering political regime change, as has occurred in other nations of the world,” the document said.

On the economic front, the Cuban president said that, in the spirit of building a “new financial architecture,” the bloc will push for a “complementary economic zone” that will integrate all the ALBA, PetroCaribe and Mercosur nations, a project promoted by Venezuela.

Regarding this initiative, Maduro said that the common space would be “a great economic zone of production chains, fair and balanced commerce, investment and technological advancements.”

The ALBA nations also make up part of the PetroCaribe alliance, along with other regional countries to whom Caracas supplies oil at cut-rate prices, although the recent plunge in the price of petroleum was not discussed.

Cuban Foreign Minister also read to the assembled leaders a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who praised the alliance as an “effective organization” and said “I want to confirm (Russia’s) interest in continuing to broaden our dialogue and practical interaction” with the ALBA nations.

The island nations of St. Kitts & Nevis and were welcomed as the alliance’s newest members, bringing the number of nations comprising it to 11.

No significant agreements emerged from the summit, although tributes were paid to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, with Sunday’s gathering commemorating the first meeting between those two leaders in 1994 and the pair signing the treaty constituting the alliance 10 years later on Dec. 14, 2004. EFE

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Related story:

Venezuela’s Maduro: ‘Only with a Common Path Can We Advance’

alba_summit_in_havana_2014.jpg_1718483346From telesur

Heads of state and government representatives from ALBA member states begin discussions to strengthen regional economic and political cooperation.

On the 10th anniversary of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), member nations have gathered in Havana, Cuba to commemorate the founding of the regional organization and to discuss the future of Latin American and Caribbean solidarity and cooperation.

Cuban President Raul Castro gave the opening words for the event citing the origins of ALBA’s founding. ‘‘Exactly a decade ago ALBA was born in Havana out of the political and integrationist willingnes of leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez…Today we commemorate as well the 20th anniversary of the first meeting between Fidel and Chavez that started an endearing friendship.’’

Later, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro commended ALBA for its decade long achievements while also acknowledging the challenges of the work to come. He expressed, ‘‘We have advanced but we can advance more… In ten years what should our priority be? Economic.’’

Maduro stressed the importance of building a regional economic bloc and continue to build common economic structures. ‘’Colonialism and neo-colonialism have directed us to take our own economic paths. Everyone for themselves … This is destined to fail. We have to build a common path. Only with a common path can we advance.’’

Maduro also gave thanks to ALBA’s quick response and support in light of recent news of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, and Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit expressed his country’s unwavering support and solidarity to the people of Venezuela and Cuba. “I am here to tell you, dear presidents of Venezuela and Cuba, our commitment is unwavering. An attack against Cuba, against Venezuela is an attack against the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Bolivian President Evo Morales was among the first to speak at the gathering. Morales urged ALBA nations to take significant steps toward saving the planet. Citing the debates underway in Peru for the COP 20, Morales said, “We have a very important responsibility. We can deabte internally and propose a first draft to the world on how to save the earth…We are convinced that human beings cannot live without the planet.”

At this year’s summit, Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis are also expected to be approved for full membership status.

Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Saint Vicente and the Grenadines, Surinam and Venezuela are ALBA member states. Haiti, Iran, Syria, Honduras and El Salvador are observer states for the organization.

IMAGE: Cuban President Raul Castro (L) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) in the XIII ALBA summit in Havana, 2014. | Photo: EFE

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