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The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA in Spanish) is a project to counteract the US-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas. Born out of initial agreements forged between the governments of Venezuela and Cuba in December 2004, ALBA aims to promote regional integration of Latin America based on values and objectives opposed to imperialism. However, it continues to rely on some basic neoliberal tenets, such as a strong emphasis on exports. Concretely, it involves Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela through cooperation pacts covering a wide range of areas such as energy, health and culture. Nicaragua officially joined in January 2007, followed by Dominica, Saint Vincent and Antigua in February 2007. In June 2009, Ecuador became a full member.

The People’s Trade Agreement (TCP in Spanish) is considered the trade arm of ALBA. It is a direct effort to defeat the bilateral free trade agreements that the US government has been pushing in Latin America. The TCP aims to promote trade in the region along principles of solidarity, cooperation and complementarity. It was launched in May 2006.

Together, ALBA and TCP form a popular axis of today’s push for "alternative" regional integration in Latin America with the direct backing of Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Evo Morales.

On 4-5 February 2012, the 11th ALBA-TCP summit was held in Caracas, Venezuela. It was decided at this meeting to create an ALBA-TCP Economic Space (ECOALBA) "as a shared-development, inter-dependent, sovereign and supportive economic zone aimed at consolidating and enlarging a new alternative model of economic relations that will strengthen and diversify the production apparatus and trade exchanges, as well as establishing the bases for the bilateral and multilateral instruments that the Parties may enter into on this matter, with a view to satisfying the physical and spiritual needs of our peoples."

last update: May 2012

Photo: Xavier Granja Cedeño - Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana. CC-BY-SA-2.0

Fóto: Xavier Granja Cedeño - Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana. CC-BY-SA-2.0

The military dollar v. Alba’s humanism
The seventh Alba Summit reflects the profound contrast between imperialism that is wasting away and the healthy development of countries with more progressive governments in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Seventh ALBA Summit prioritises the planet and developing nations
ALBA countries signed an agreement to implement the common currency "Sucre" (Unified System of Compensation of Reciprocal Payments). The point of the new currency is to use it instead of the US dollar for commercial exchange between member countries.
ALBA Alimentos to dodge food crisis
ALBA Alimentos will emerge as a grand national project aimed at fighting the regional food crisis, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the 7th Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).
ALBA strengthens trade alliance, ratifies struggle against the “empire”
The 7th Summit of the ALBA approved new steps for strengthening its model of “just and complementary trade” and ratified its struggle against “threats from the empire”
Chavez-led bloc plans to create agriculture, mining businesses
The Alba trade bloc, led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, agreed to create regional mining and agriculture businesses as the group concluded a second day of talks in Bolivia.
Learning from ALBA and the Bank of the South: Challenges and Possibilities
Although the crisis is indeed delegitimizing capitalism as an engine of “progress,” the weakening global economy is greatly complicating, if not weakening, efforts to advance ALBA as well as the Bank of the South.
Ecuador shakes up international fora
Exiting ICSID and joining ALBA and UNASUR,along with the customs restrictions it applied on its CAN neighbours, are the recent measures that have been taken by the government of Ecuador to demonstrate that there is an alternative trade policy.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Democracy Now!
"I reiterate, we’re not negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union."
Venezuela and ALBA promote “new climate” in Summit of the Americas
Venezuela and the countries of the Bolivarian Alternative to the Americas (ALBA) decided not to sign the final document of the Summit of the Americas held on April 17-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, saying it excluded Cuba and offered no viable solution to the current economic crisis.
Social movements meet with presidents
At the World Social Forum taking place in Belem, Brasil, Latin American social movements held a dialogue on regional integration from a peoples’ perspective, with the leaders of four South American progressive governments. Presidents Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Evo Morales (Bolivia) and Rafael Correa (Ecuador), met with 1500 representatives of social movements to exchange about past and future collaboration around integration initiatives such as the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) as solutions to the global economic crisis.