Understanding Latin American regionalism: ALBA

Bolivarian Alliance for the people of our America (ALBA) was born in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela as a way of opposing the FTAA or Free Trade Area of the Americas promoted by the United States.

Alba Presidents

ALBA has always supported left ideals within South America and the Caribbean countries as an opposition to the neoliberal model imposed by the USA during the 90’s in which capitalism was the model of development for the region.

The member countries are Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Commonwealth of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada. What Chavez and former Cuban president Fidel Castro wanted was to promote cooperation among these, and other countries, through strategic alliances to create a multipolar world where the United States wasn’t the ultimate authority.

According to its own website, ALBA is a political, social, and economic alliance that fosters “independence, self-determination, and the identity of the people [that conform it]”.

For ALBA, oil based integration is one of the most important aspects for this intergovernmental organization and that’s why Hugo Chávez proposed the creation of PetroAmerica. In layman terms, it is a pitch for energy integration which seeks to address the models promoted by the United States and promote the “socioeconomic improvement of the people of the continent”. It has diversified into mechanisms of sub regional scope named Petrosur, Petrocaribe, and Petroandina.

On the other hand, the communicational integration can be seen as a successful initiative because of TeleSUR, a news channel based out of Venezuela that reaches viewers beyond Latin America and the Caribbean.

Additionally, ALBA strives for alternative financial offers that aren’t related to Europe and the USA.

The Bank of ALBA and a regional virtual currency called sucre have been very important for the alliance’s reputation because of their impact in the area. This bank supports development projects and it doesn’t impose loan conditions like other international banks. Another important integration initiative has been the support among the members within international affairs and the summon of social and political movements to their enterprises.

LatinAmerican Post | Pía Wohlgemuth Neira
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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