The preamble to the Declaration affirms that the member countries are:
Inspired by the independence ideals of Simón Bolívar and José Martí, by the legacy of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, whose thought and work confirm the full validity of the struggle for the emancipation of the peoples, the necessity of the preservation of peace, of civilized coexistence, and of unity within diversity in the region.
We express our concern for the aggressive escalation against Our America [the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean], the actions against regional peace and security, especially the threats of the use of force against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which put in danger regional peace, in opposition to the precepts contained in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the heads of state at the Second Summit of CELAC [Community of Latin American and Caribbean States], held in Havana on January 28-29, 2014. We give recognition to the resistance of the Venezuelan people and government in the face of the foreign interference and unilateral coercive measures against their country. We renew our support for the Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, the Bolivarian and Chavist Revolution, and the civil-military union of its people.
The Declaration also rejects the longstanding U.S. economic war against Cuba.
We reiterate the demand of the international community that the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba be lifted, without restrictions. The blockade constitutes a massive, flagrant, and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people, and its extraterritorial character effects all states. We reject the recent decision of the government of the United States to activate Title III of the Helms-Burton Law, which reinforces the extraterritorial character of the blockade against Cuban and damages the international economic and commercial relations of Cuba and of the international community with Cuba.
Since the 1960s, Third World governments have denounced the imperialist and interventionist policies of the United States and the Western European powers, doing so in the name of the principles that the global powers have themselves proclaimed. Such denunciation of imperialism on the basis of international principles and international law is evident in the declarations of the Non-Aligned Movement, which has arrived to include 120 member governments (see posts in the category Third World). In accordance with this global political tendency, the ALBA-TCP Declaration demands adherence to international principles and international law. “We demand strict observance of the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the prohibition of the use of force or the threat of the use of force, and respect for self-determination, for sovereignty, for the integrity of territories, and for non-interference in the domestic affairs of states.”
The socialist and progressive governments of Latin America and the Caribbean have a tendency to condemn U.S. policy as “unilateral” and “coercive.” With this designation, they are opposing not only the unjust and unscientific character of the measures, but also the fact that they are imposed by a single power, in defense of its particular interests, ignoring the consequences for other nations. From their perspective, policies with international consequences should be formulated and implemented on a basis of multilateralism. The participation of various nations in the joint formulation of policies helps to ensure that they are not arbitrary or ill-informed, and that they emerge from agreement rather than being imposed by a more powerful nation that is single-mindedly pursuing its interests. Accordingly, the Declaration states, “We insist that the application of unilateral coercive measures, rejected by numerous resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, is contrary to the purposes and principles consecrated in the UN Charter and International Law.” Universal coercive measures “restrict the enjoyment of human rights of the populations of the states against which they are applied.”
The Declaration calls for the strengthening of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which has been weakened in the last couple of years as a result of the fall of progressive governments in Brazil and Argentina and the socialist government of Rafael Correa in Ecuador, although it likely will be aided by the recent election of a progressive government in Mexico. “We reaffirm the necessity of strengthening the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism for regional political coordination based on the strict observance and defense of the principles of International Law.”
At the opening of the Political Council, Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez called upon social movement organizations to influence their governments in opposition to another imperialist military adventure in the region; and in opposition to the unilateral coercive measures imposed by Washington on Venezuela, which have had serious consequences and have done humanitarian damage to the people of Venezuela. Rodríguez further asserted that the power of articulation of our peoples and the role of the truth should not be underestimated. He declared that “ALBA-TCP is and will be a nucleus of resistance that always will back the peoples of the region,” finding inspiration in the teachings and thought of Fidel and Chávez.
During his intervention in the Political Council, Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza observed that when the U.S. government invokes the anachronistic Monroe Doctrine, proclaimed in the second decade of the nineteenth century, it gives cause for alarm to the peoples and governments. He asserted that, for the dominant elite, a process of liberation in the continent is unacceptable. Diego Pary, foreign minister of the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia, affirmed that the people of Venezuela have consciousness and commitment to principles, and they therefore recognize and defend the constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro; all of the peoples of the region, he declared, will know how to respond to the complex situation that the region confronts, characterized by threats to multilateralism and international law.
Carlos Castaneda, foreign minister of El Salvador, stated that the unity of the progressive forces of the region will be an important element in confronting threats and aggressions against the development of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. Paul Osquit, representing Nicaragua, observed that Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, in spite of having different political processes, are united in historic defense of the sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples, and in defense of their right to construct their political projects in accordance with their own decisions.
At the conclusion of the meeting, David Choquehanca, Executive Secretary of ALBA-TCP, observed that ALBA-TCP has to lift up its own identity on the basis of a decolonizing thought that permits a culture of life and of peace to prevail. He asserted that one must assert and defend the noble road of integration, a road that seeks justice and truth and that values the “we” more than the “I.” A road that struggles against neoliberalism, war, and the sacking of natural resources; and that defends the sovereignty of the nations against domination.
ALBA was founded on December 14, 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela as the Bolivarian Alternative for the peoples of Our America. Bolivia was incorporated into ALBA in 2009, at which time the name of the organization was changed to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Commercial Treaty for the Peoples (ALBA-TCP). ALBA-TCP now has eleven members. In addition to Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, they are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Granada, Haiti, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Surinam. El Salvador also attended the Political Council as an invited country.
ALBA seeks real integration, based in complementarity and solidarity above merely commercial interests. In addition to coordinating political responses in defense of the principles of international law, ALBA has developed cooperative programs in health and education. Millions of persons have received free medical services, with priority given to persons of limited resources, some of whom had never before received medical attention. A cooperative literacy program has resulted in three members nations being declared free of illiteracy, namely, Venezuela (2005), Bolivia (2008), and Nicaragua (2009). The Latin American School of Medicine, with branches in Cuba and Venezuela, has educated youth from many countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, producing community doctors who not only have scientific and technical preparation but also humanitarian and ethical formation. ALBA-TCP is working on a proposed Space of Interdependence, Sovereignty, and Economic Solidarity, through the resources of the Trade Agreement of the People, the Sucre (a regional currency for commercial exchanges between members of ALBA), and the Bank of ALBA.
ALBA-TCP is an important dimension of the efforts of the last two decades to put into practice the historic Latin American vision of La Patria Grande and the classic Third World vision of South-South Cooperation. See posts on these themes in the category Latin American Unity and the category Third World. For the full text of the May 21 Declaration, go to Declaration of the XVIII Political Council of ALBA-TCP, May 21, 2019.
Concepción Pérez, Elson. 2019. “El ALBA, tan esperanzadora como necesaria,” Granma (May 22), P. 5.
Menéndez Quintero, Marina. 2019. “ALBA-TCP reitera necesidad de defender la paz,” Juventud Rebelde (May 22), Pp. 4-5.
Mojena Milian, Bertha. 2019. “América Latina y el Caribe en la hora del recuento y de la marcha unida contra las amenazas imperiales,” Granma (May 22), P. 4.
__________. 2019. “El ALBA-TCP renueve el compromiso con la cooperación, la integración, y la defense de la unidad frente a la injerencia,” Granma (May 22), P. 1.