The leaders of the member countries—Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia , Cuba, Dominica , Ecuador , Nicaragua , Saint Lucia , Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , and Venezuela—hold annual summits to discuss initiatives and strategies for the region. To that end, the ALBA Bank, a regional bank with its headquarters in Caracas —the Venezuelan national capital—was created in to channel money to development projects throughout the region. Moreover, in the leaders of ALBA agreed to create a regional electronic currency, the sucre, to reduce the use of the U. Other longer-term plans have included the implementation of regional literacy and health care programs, the creation of an arbitration court, and the establishment of a united military force of ALBA members. Essentially, supporters of ALBA found its programs to be worthy alternatives to the economic policies of many international lending organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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Note to readers: The summary below was authored in What are the roots of the ALBA? What have been the practical implications of the ALBA? External Opposition Internal Contradictions Conclusion and Comments on the Literature Hopefully these will answer the most common questions about the alliance and provide a starting point from which to explore the topic further.

What is the ALBA and who supports it? Social movements such as Via Campesina have rallied behind the ALBA, vocally declaring their support and moving to participate in its operation Harris and Azzi p. Such social movements are officially involved in the ALBA through its council of social movements which is theoretically on par with government ministers in terms of authority. In its own publications the ALBA positions itself as anti-imperialist, anti-neoliberal, and sometimes even anti-capitalist; in contrast to that which it opposes the ALBA professes to be building an alternative based on the principles of solidarity, co-operation and complementarity.

As can be seen by the plethora of integration agreements across the continent and through a brief study of Latin American history, the idea of Latin American integration is far from novel Baumann Whilst emphasising its own peculiarities, the ALBA recognises this and explicitly sees itself as a revival of the project of Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar.

In many cases these unpopular policies were thrust upon populations by military dictatorships or via the economic coercion of external institutions such as the IMF.

The implementation of neoliberal policies led to a wave of protests and riots which were brutally suppressed by the state. Hundreds, if not thousands, were killed by the police and military.

In many countries governments were thrown out through social uprisings and new anti-neoliberal governments became established. The FTAA was a proposed free trade agreement, spearheaded by the US government, which sought to create a hemispheric wide free trade area. Critics saw this as a move which, as was the case with NAFTA, would only serve to benefit the rich and powerful. Initially the FTAA proposal advanced virtually unopposed. Whilst fighting Spanish colonialism was his immediate concern, Simon Bolivar was well aware of the dangers posed by imperial tendencies of the USA.

His warnings were certainly not hollow, and pre-empted the domination of Latin America by the USA through war, annexation, and economic coercion.

Such is the case with the removal of US troops from the Manta military base in Ecuador, and the expulsion of anti-drug enforcement personnel in Bolivia. The ALBA has fostered an expansion in trade between its members, which allows from greater self-sufficiency and lessens the long-standing dependency of these countries on the US market.

Within international affairs the ALBA countries have supported one and other, denouncing acts which they see as detrimental to one of their members — such as the recent forced grounding of Evo Morales presidential flight in Europe, which was seen as an attack upon Bolivian sovereignty.

In the realm of education Mision Robinson, a program to reduce illiteracy based heavily upon the positive experiences of Cuba, has been extremely successful. Estimated to have reached over 3. External Opposition The ALBA faces opposition from forces which are both domestic to Latin America, and forces which are foreign, although this division is not necessarily clear cut.

Domestically ALBA governments face opposition from liberal and conservative parties whose social bases mostly comprise of the middle and upper classes; those who resent redistribution in power and wealth from the rich to the poor. These parties have been overwhelmingly unsuccessful in electoral terms, with the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela often winning unprecedented majorities at the polls, in elections which have been declared as free and fair by international monitoring bodies.

Instead, these opposition groups have relied upon economic coercion, extra-parliamentary violence, and a return to military coups in order to damage the progress of the ALBA. In lieu of the FTAA the USA has had to resort to bilateral trade agreements, the expansion of Military presence where it still is able to such as within Colombia under the pretext of anti-narcotics , and the funding of local opposition groups.

Internal Contradictions External opposition to the ALBA so far appears to have failed in significantly harming the project, but what about the alliances internal coherence? As is bound to be the case with an organization which incorporates a diverse multiplicity of actors and is pushing up against structural boundaries, the ALBA has various internal contradictions.

Social movements are able to organize within the ALBA via the official council of social movements, which is hierarchically equal to the councils of ministers and therefore, in theory at least, takes on an authoritative position of equal footing to governments Fuentes and Pereira This grassroots support for the ALBA from independent social movements many of whom were fundamental in the overthrow of neoliberal regimes , is key to the claims by the ALBA that it is an integration agreement created from the grassroots.

These dual fronts through the council and the assembly which social movements are acting on highlight the complex relationship between the social and political.

Many social movements which mobilized against neoliberalism are broadly supportive of the ALBA, but simultaneously they remain committed to maintaining autonomy, including the ability to mobilize and pressure the ALBA and its member governments if necessary Martinez p.

Dependency upon the extraction and export of raw materials has many negative economic and ecological effects. Although development is no longer seen in crude binary terms where industrialization equals development, economic dependency on the export of raw materials where one commodity such as oil or copper often dominates is not seen as a reliable basis for development due to volatile international prices, long-term deteriorating terms of trade, and the power of buyers in the market.

Furthermore, large-scale resource extraction is ecologically destructive, both in the immediate effect it has upon local ecologies and in the global effect it has through climate change. This contradiction can be seen vividly in the divide between indigenous organizations and the Correa government in Ecuador, and especially in the deadly clashes there have been in Bolivia over the construction of a mega-highway through the Amazon.

The ALBA has been produced out of conditions not of its own making and is having to work within a framework for action imposed by its historical context. To expect an immediate transition from a thoroughly entrenched economic model based on the export of raw materials to one which is ecologically sustainable would be to ignore the context in the ALBA exists.

The alliance is now buoyed by the participatory support of eleven national governments, a variety of social movements and faces little hostility from Latin American neighbours who have failed to side with condemnation from the US state. The contents of this page aim to serve as a brief introduction to the Bolivarian Alliance. It is by no means a comprehensive analysis, and it certainly remains a particular interpretation of the author.

In order to reach your own conclusions I would encourage you to explore the variety of literature and videos on the ALBA, links to which can be found on this website. Venezuela Analysis. New Political Science. International Journal of Cuban Studies. Abingdon: Routledge pp.



Thank you for your feedback. Whether it is seen as neo-structuralist or 21 st century socialist, the economic model which the ALBA is institutionalising differs from orthodox neoliberalism in important ways:. Aliandes years ago, for example, thousands of New Yorkers openly defied the despised Nazi flag flying on the aliqnces of the Bremenas Dan Czitrom recounts. For years, that has allowed the private sector to voice its political dissatisfaction through economic blackmail. Post was not sent — check your email addresses! CS1 Spanish-language sources es All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from June Articles with permanently dead external links CS1 maint: You are commenting using your Twitter account.


Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America


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