ALBA or ALBA–TCP, formally the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Spanish: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América) or the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (Spanish: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América – Tratado de Comercio de los Pueblos), is an intergovernmental organization based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The name “Bolivarian” refers to the ideology of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century South American independence leader born in Caracas who wanted Hispanic America to unite as a single “Great Nation“.
Founded initially by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004, it is associated with socialist and social democratic governments wishing to consolidate regional economic integration based on a vision of social welfare, bartering and mutual economic aid. The ten member countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela. Suriname was admitted to ALBA as a guest country at a February 2012 summit. ALBA nations may conduct trade using a virtual regional currency known as the SUCRE. Venezuela and Ecuador made the first bilateral trade deal using the Sucre, instead of the US dollar, on July 6, 2010. Ecuador withdrew from the group in August 2018.
The name initially contained “Alternative” instead of “Alliance”, but was changed on June 24, 2009.
The agreement was proposed by the government of Venezuela, led by Hugo Chávezas an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA or ALCA in Spanish, an agreement proposed by the United States) that had been opposed by some countries in Latin America.
This Cuba–Venezuela Agreement, signed on December 14, 2004, by Presidents Chávez and Fidel Castro, was aimed at the exchange of medical and educational resources and petroleum between the two nations. Venezuela began to deliver about 96,000 barrels of oil per day from its state-owned oil company, PDVSA, to Cuba at very favorable prices. In exchange, Cuba sent 20,000 state-employed medical staff and thousands of teachers to Venezuela’s poorest states. The agreement also made it possible for Venezuelans to travel to Cuba for specialized medical care, free of charge.
When it was launched in 2004, ALBA had only two member states, Venezuela and Cuba. Subsequently, a number of other Latin American and Caribbean nations entered into this ‘Peoples’ Trade Agreement’ (Spanish: Tratado de Comercio de los Pueblos, or TCP), which aims to implement the principles of ALBA. Bolivia under Evo Morales joined in 2006, Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega in 2007, and Ecuador under Rafael Correa in 2009. Honduras, under Manuel Zelaya, joined in 2008, but withdrew in 2010 after the 2009 Honduran coup d’état. The Caribbean nations Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia also joined.
Jamaica, at the invitation of Chávez, and Mexico, at the invitation of Ortega, were invited to join the ALBA countries. Chávez also invited the countries of Central America to join ALBA, and invited Argentina to use SUCRE, the currency of this organization. Vietnam has been invited to join as an observer. In the eleventh Summit of ALBA in February 2012, Suriname, St. Lucia and Haiti requested admission to the organization. Haiti was granted the special status of permanent member and the other two countries were named special members, while awaiting their full incorporation.
Chávez was honored posthumously by the nine member countries of the group and special guests Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana and Haiti at the group’s 12th Presidential Summit in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Ecuador withdrew from ALBA in August 2018.
In October 2009, ALBA leaders agreed at a summit in Bolivia to create a common regional currency. “The document is approved,” said Bolivian President Evo Morales, the summit host. President Hugo Chávez (Venezuela) announced “The sucre [is] an autonomous and sovereign monetary system that will be agreed upon today so that it can be implemented in 2010.” As of 2015, the virtual currency is being used to compensate trade between Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and especially Ecuador and Venezuela.
Summits of heads of state and government
|I Ordinary||14 December 2004||Havana||Cuba||Founding summit of ALBA. Cuba-Venezuela Agreement signed by presidents Hugo Chávez and
|II Ordinary||27–28 April 2005||Havana||Cuba||Attended by presidents Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro.|
|III Ordinary||29 April 2006||Havana||Cuba||Attended by presidents Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro and Evo Morales from Bolivia,
who joins the group. The TCP is signed.
|IV Ordinary||10 January 2007||Managua||Nicaragua||Meeting coinciding with inauguration as president of Nicaragua of Daniel Ortega, who announces
the entry in the bloc as fourth country member.
|V Ordinary||28–29 April 2007||Barquisimeto||Venezuela|
|VI Ordinary||24–26 January 2008||Caracas||Venezuela||Dominica joins the bloc.|
|I Extraordinary||22 April 2008||Caracas||Venezuela|
|II Extraordinary||25 August 2008||Tegucigalpa||Honduras||Honduras joins the bloc.|
|III Extraordinary||26 November 2008||Caracas||Venezuela|
|IV Extraordinary||2 February 2009||Caracas||Venezuela||Celebration of the tenth anniversary of Bolivarian Revolution.|
|V Extraordinary||16–17 April 2009||Cumaná||Venezuela|
|VI Extraordinary||24 June 2009||Maracay||Venezuela||Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines join the bloc.|
|VII Extraordinary||29 June 2009||Managua||Nicaragua||Condemnation of the coup d’etat in Honduras and demand of restoration of deposed president
|VII Ordinary||16–17 October 2009||Cochabamba||Bolivia||The Unified System for Regional Compensation (SUCRE) is adopted.|
|VIII Ordinary||13–14 December 2009||Havana||Cuba|
|IX Ordinary||19 April 2010||Caracas||Venezuela||Honduras had left the group.|
|X Ordinary||25 June 2010||Otavalo||Ecuador|
|XI Ordinary||4–5 February 2012||Caracas||Venezuela|
|XII Ordinary||30 July 2013||Guayaquil||Ecuador||Saint Lucia joins the bloc.|
|VIII Extraordinary||20 October 2014||Havana||Cuba||Summit to deal with the Ebola crisis.|
|XIII Ordinary||14 December 2014||Havana||Cuba||Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis join the bloc.|
|IX Extraordinary||17 March 2015||Caracas||Venezuela|
|XIV Ordinary||5 March 2017||Caracas||Venezuela|
|XV Ordinary||5 March 2018||Caracas||Venezuela|
|XVI Ordinary||14 December 2018||Havana||Cuba|
|Common name||Official name||Join date||Population||Area (km²)||E.E.Z + Area (km²)||GDP PPP (US$ bn)||Capital|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Antigua and Barbuda||24 June 2009||85,632||442||110,531||1.575||St. John’s|
|Bolivia||Plurinational State of Bolivia||29 April 2006||9,119,152||1,098,581||50.904||La Paz|
|Cuba||Republic of Cuba||14 December 2004||11,451,652||110,861||460,637||114.100||Havana|
|Dominica||Commonwealth of Dominica||20 January 2008||72,660||754||29,736||0.977||Roseau|
|Grenada||Grenada||14 December 2014||109,590||348.5||27,770||1.467||St. George’s|
|Nicaragua||Republic of Nicaragua||23 February 2007||5,891,199||129,495||254,254||18.878||Managua|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis||14 December 2014||54,961||261||10,235||1.087||Basseterre|
|Saint Lucia||Saint Lucia||20 July 2013||180,870||617||16,156||2.101||Castries|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||24 June 2009||120,000||389||36,691||1.259||Kingstown|
|Venezuela||Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela||14 December 2004||28,199,825||916,445||1,387,952||374.111||Caracas|
|ALBA–TCP totals||10 countries||69,694,091||2,514,563.5||5,057,735||641.136|
|Common name||Official name||Population||Capital|
|Haiti||Republic of Haiti||10,847,334||Port-au-Prince|
|Iran||Islamic Republic of Iran||81,672,300||Tehran|
|Syria||Syrian Arab Republic||18,284,407||Damascus|
|Common name||Official name||Join year||Withdrawal year||Population||Capital|
|Honduras||Republic of Honduras||2008||2010||9,112,867||Tegucigalpa|
|Ecuador||Republic of Ecuador||2009||2018||16,385,068||Quito|
Other ALBA Initiatives
Established in 2005 and based on earlier agreements between ALBA founders Cuba and Venezuela, Petrocaribe looks to sell oil under a concessionary financial agreement to fourteen member nations situated in the Caribbean. This initiative provides the Caribbean nations with important hydrocarbon resources, which many do not possess on their territories. In the case of Cuba, Petrocaribe ensures a continual flow to a nation that has been deprived of oil since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Launched in 2005, TeleSUR is a media conglomerate that provides news and current affairs broadcasts throughout the ALBA bloc. The program is based on an internet based television channel and is a cooperative effort between the governments of Venezuela, Uruguay, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua.
PETROSUR is an inter-governmental energy alliance between Venezuelan PDVSA, Argentinean YPF, and Brazilian Petrobras nationalized oil companies. The goal of this initiative is to provide funding for social welfare programs within these nations.
In August 2013, BBC News stated that “Alba consists of one oil-rich nation and various minnows wishing to benefit from its largesse” and that “there is little chance of the rhetoric becoming reality any time soon”. As the crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela began, President Nicolás Maduro called on other ALBA members to begin contributing, though the smaller members distanced themselves from the proposal since they only sought the benefits from Venezuela.
During the 2017 Venezuelan protests, Williams Dávila, President of the MERCOSUR Committee of International Affairs, Interregional and Strategic Planning, criticized ALBA, stating that “populism always attacks the OAS because it is composed of sovereign states, but the states that are part of ALBA act as the vassal countries of Cuba”.
- The total area of ALBA reaches 5,057,735 km² if the maritime areas is included .
- “Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – international organization”. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- “Declaration of the ALBA-TCP XIII Summit and commemoration of its tenth anniversary, December 14, 2014 – ALBA TCP”. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- venezuelanalysis, 7 July 2010, Venezuela Pays for First ALBA Trade with Ecuador in New Regional Currency
- “ALBA pasa a ser Alianza Bolivariana de los Pueblos de América” (in Spanish). Venezolana de Televisión. June 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30.[permanent dead link]
- Arana, Marie. “Opinion – Bolívar, Latin America’s Go-To Hero”. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2005-11-04. Retrieved 2005-12-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) initial Cuba-Venezuela TCP
- Inc, IBP (20 March 2009). “Latin America Energy Policy and Regulations Handbook Volume 1 Strategic Information and Programs”. Lulu.com. Retrieved 24 August 2018 – via Google Books.
- Monthly Review, 2 July 2008, ALBA: Creating a Regional Alternative to Neo-liberalism?
- “Cuba Revolución: Chávez invita a Jamaica a sumarse al ALBA”. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- Diario, El Nuevo. “El Nuevo Diario”. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- (ABN), Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias. “Chávez invitó a toda Centroamérica a unirse al ALBA”. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- “Chávez invita a Argentina a sumarse a la moneda virtual sucre – Radio La Primerísima”. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- Venezuela invita a Vietnam a sumarse al ALBA como observador Archived July 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- “Twelfth ALBA Presidential Summit Takes Place in Ecuador”. www.americasquarterly.org. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Press, Associated (2018-08-24). “Ecuador leaves Venezuelan-run regional alliance”. AP NEWS. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
- “Bolivia summit adopts new currency”. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- Honduras se retira de Alba , In: Semana 1/13/2010.
- Inicia hoy XVI Cumbre del ALBA-TCP en La Habana. In: albatcp.cubaminrex.cu 12/14/2018.
- “Granada – ALBA TCP”. Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- “San Cristóbal y Nieves – ALBA TCP”. Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- El Universal, 6 February 2012, ALBA summit ends with entry of guest countries
- Plummer, Robert (1 August 2013). “Alba alliance ambitions lay bare Latin trade confusion”. BBC News. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
- “Dávila: Víctimas de uso armas prohibidas en manifestaciones están bajo protección del derecho internacional”. La Patilla (in Spanish). 14 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
- “Lenin Moreno ordenó a la UNASUR desalojar edificio en Ecuador”. La Prensa (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-07-07.
- (in Spanish) Official website
- (in Spanish) https://web.archive.org/web/20170413235938/http://alba-tcp.org/
- (in English) https://web.archive.org/web/20170322030940/http://alba-tcp.org/en