The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (Alba), reduced by the departures of Ecuador in 2018 and Bolivia a month ago, closed ranks this Saturday in Havana with plans to relaunch integration with social and energy programs against the hostility from the United States.
The event, which celebrated the 15th anniversary of the block and marked its 17th summit, was attended by the presidents of host Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel; Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro; Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, and the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, as well as representatives from the rest of the member countries.
The leaders met behind closed doors, but in a brief speech at the closing ceremony Nicolas Maduro announced the relaunching next year of the Petrocaribe project, the “Miracle Mission” ophthalmological program and the Alba Cultural initiatives.
The Petrocaribe project dates back to 2005 and its revitalization takes place amid pressure from the United States on the Venezuelan oil industry through sanctions on the state oil company PDVSA and the ships and shipping companies that transport fuel from that country, especially to Cuba.
This program of supply of Venezuelan crude oil under advantageous conditions has been key for the Venezuelan government to count on the political support of the Caribbean countries benefited by the initiative, especially in multilateral forums such as the Organization of American States (OAS).
With these initiatives, the alliance seeks to give new strength to the integration of their countries and guarantee their energy security in the face of strong US pressure on the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, baptized by the Trump administration as “the troika of tyranny.”
In the declaration approved by the leaders of the Alba they denounced the “United States’ falsehood” of holding the Latin American left, and in particular Venezuela and Cuba, responsible for the popular protests that have ignited the region in recent months, especially in Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia.
The text deplores the “shameful misrepresentation of Latin American reality by the United States,” whose policy towards the region it called “aggressive and interventionist.”
“We denounce the US falsehood of attributing to members of this Alliance responsibility in the organization of the massive popular protests that have spread throughout the region, which seeks to hide the failure of the neoliberal government efforts conceived to please the requirements of Washington,” said the statement.
In recent months there have been manifestations of popular discontent in Chile and Ecuador in rejection of government measures that increase the cost of living and reduce social benefits, movements with which Alba is in solidarity.
The bloc maintains that Washington’s current policy “poses challenges that generate clear violations of the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law.”
“We repudiate the self-proclaimed champions of human rights and democracy, who increasingly resort to militarization and repression to sustain the neoliberal model in crisis,” notes the text.
The Alba reiterated its solidarity with Venezuela in the face of the “imperialist attacks”, its opposition to the US embargo on Cuba, the “destabilizing attempts” in Nicaragua and condemned “the coup d’etat” against Evo Morales in Bolivia, also promoted from the White House, they state.
“To recover the spaces conquered by progressive governments, the US Government in collusion with the oligarchies of the region, revives methods that seemed surpassed in the history of Latin America and applies new formulas of unconventional warfare,” says the document.
It also emphasizes that “regional unity and integration is the only way to confront the domination of the hegemonic structures of world power, which have left our peoples in a historical condition of political, economic and cultural subordination and vulnerability.”
ALBA’s 15th birthday
The conclave also highlighted the achievements of Alba in its 15 years of life, with social programs that have benefited “millions of Latin American and Caribbean peoples”, including the Literacy Program, the Operation Miracle Eye Surgery Mission, and the training of doctors at the Latin American School of Medicine-ELAM in Cuba and Venezuela.
Alba brings together with Venezuela and Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Ecuador withdrew last year because the government of current President Lenin Moreno does not support Alba’s position in the face of the crisis in Venezuela and the protests in Nicaragua.
Bolivia pulled out a month ago by decision of the interim Executive that assumed power after the resignation of Evo Morales, prompted by the military.