Posted by: r.m. | August 1, 2008

Cooperation, Integration, Unity – There is an alternative, Thatcher!

The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas…

Yes, there is an alternative to Capitalism. (Thatcher kept telling us back when that TINA – There Is No Alternative to capitalism! Ah, but there is.) Yes, we do have a choice other than the further creation of the “working poor” class and the further domination of transnational corporations.

Here is one such alternative — the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA)

*”In order to help overcome trade disadvantages, ALBA pushes for solidarity with the economically weakest countries, with the aim of achieving a free trade area in which all of its members benefit (a win-win alliance). … The corner stone in the design of the ALBA is the proposal for a “Compensatory Fund for Structural Convergence,” which would manage and distribute financial aid to the most economically vulnerable countries…. agriculture instead would prioritize the food self-sufficiency of every country before focusing on profit-making processes. … For the Venezuelan government the management of public services must be oriented toward fulfilling the people’s needs and not the interests of businesses and private profit. As such, public services are indispensable for correcting social inequality. As a result, Venezuela deems unacceptable any trade accord that implies the renunciation of the use of public policy instruments, such as the regulation of public utilities and the provision of subsidies to regulate domestic prices and to guarantee access to essential public services for the overwhelming majority of the population who cannot afford market-priced services.”

(Are you smiling? Of course!)

Here’s more

Here is the abridged version of the joint declaration towards ALBA signed between Cuba and Venezuela on Dec. 14, 2004.  Bolivia additionally agreed to the declaration in Havana on April 29, 2006, which lays out the following principles and cardinal bases for ALBA:

  • -“Trade and investment should not be ends in themselves, but instruments to achieve just and sustainable development.”
  • -“Special and differential treatment, that takes in to account the level of development of the diverse countries and the dimension of their economies.”
  • -“Economic complementarily and cooperation between the participant countries and not the competition between countries and productions.”
  • -“Cooperation and solidarity that is expressed in special plans for the least developed countries in the region.” Including a Continental Literacy Plan; a latinamerican plan for free health treatment for those in need and a scholarship plan in areas of largest interest for the “economic and social development.”
  • -“The creation of a Social Emergency Fund”
  • -“Integrated development in communications and transportation between the Latinamerican and Caribbean countries” including plans for highways, trains, shipping and airlines, telecommunications and others
  • -“Actions to sponsor sustainable development through norms that protect the environment.”
  • -“Energy integration between the countries of the region, in order to insure the supply of stable energy products to the benefit of the Latinamerican and Caribbean societies.” Including Venezuela’s proposal of the creation of Petroamerica.
  • -“Promotion of investment of Latinamerican capital in Latinamerica and the Caribbean itself, with the objective of reducing the dependency of the countries of the region on foreign investment.” In order to do so, the creation, among others of the Latinamerican Investment Fund, the Development Bank of the South, and the Society of Latinamerican Reciprocal Guarantees.
  • -“Defense of latinamerican and Caribbean culture and the identity of the people of the region, with particular respect and promotion of the autonomous and indigenous cultures.” Including the creation of TELESUR.
  • -“Measure for the norms of intellectual property, while protecting the heritage of the latinamerican and Caribbean countries from the voracity of the transnational corporations.”
  • -“Coordination of positions of the multilateral sphere and in the processes of all negotiations with countries and blocks from other regions, including the struggle for democratization and transparency in international organisms, particularly in the United Nations”

For more, check out this paper – “kellogg (The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas:
Dawn of an Alternative to Neoliberalism?)” By Paul Kellogg (May 2006) – and download the paper by the Focus on the Global South: ALBA – Venezuela’s Answer to Free Trade

Here’s the latest news on ALBA:

– “Caracas, Jul 31 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hailed Honduras’ entrance to the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas), which he called piece of the gears to set up an anti-hunger shield.” So ALBA now is composed of Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica and Nicaragua – and Honduras!

How can we not smile?



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