Merida, 18th December 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The II Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for Our America (ALBA) and Petrocaribe took place in Caracas yesterday. It focused on creating a “special complementary economic zone” between the member countries of both alliances in order to eradicate poverty in the region.
The creation of the economic zone was raised in the meeting of Petrocaribe in May of this year, and proposed by Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro to the ALBA heads of state summit in July of this year. Yesterday’s summit approved an action plan to implement the proposal, which will involve cooperation with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
When the summit’s final declaration (included at the end of this article) was passed unanimously, Maduro said the economic zone “is a special plan... in order to continue advancing the food security and sovereignty of our peoples, and to share investments, experiences, and actions that promote [agricultural] development”.
The document for the integrated economic zone includes proposals to increase trade between the member countries, promote productive investments to strengthen key aspects of industrial, agricultural, and scientific development, as well as new monetary exchange methods using local currencies and other systems such as the regional SUCRE currency.
At the May Petrocaribe meeting, Venezuelan oil and mining minister Rafael Ramirez pointed out that the zone would mean that Petrocaribe’s role would evolve from merely receiving oil at favourable prices from Venezuela to playing an active role in regional development.
Maduro also proposed a collegiate authority be created, run by Ecuador, to coordinate the regional economic zone, and said that he would take the document for the creation of a complementary economic zone to Mercosur in order to “advance in the great zone Mercosur-PetroCaribe-ALBA”. The next Mercosur heads of state meeting will be held on 17 January in Caracas.
Yesterday’s summit also agreed on Maduro’s proposal for a Latin American Health Science University.
On Monday, Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua attended a preliminary to the summit, where ministers discussed the yearly activities report, as well as the Constitutive Treaty of ALBA, the Health Sciences University, the coordination mechanisms between ALBA and Petrocaribe, and the economic space called EcoALBA.
2015 marks 200 years since Simon Bolivar signed the Letter from Jamaica, so the next joint summit between the two alliances will be held in Jamaica.
“We have to be aware that our people can’t be governed by companies and banks, that is the big difference between some countries in South America... We should never stop strengthening our integration, the integration of anti-imperialist countries,” Bolivian president Evo Morales said yesterday at the summit.
Member countries of the ALBA are Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda. Petrocaribe, created in 2005, includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Venezuela.
Declaration of the Heads of State and Government of ALBA and PETROCARIBE Member States
We, the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) and PETROCARIBE, have met in Caracas, this 17th day of December, 2013, when one more year is commemorated for the passing away of Liberator Simón Bolívar, to gather, for the second time in a Summit, both forums of union and integration, inspired by compliance with and enforcement of the legacy of the Supreme Commander Hugo Chávez.
With this historical meeting, we have reasserted our willingness to head for consolidation and confluence of the ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE as binding forums, established to satisfy peoples’ needs, under projects relying on the principles of solidarity, cooperation, complementation and respect for sovereignty, as proposed nine years ago by Commanders Fidel Castro Ruz and Hugo Chávez Frías in executing the ALBA Joint Declaration, and eight years ago upon the execution of the PETROCARIBE Energy Cooperation Agreement.
Without shadow of a doubt, ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE have a great political, economic, social and ethical strength; a privileged geographical location in the regions of Central America, bordering with the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, the Andes and the Amazon. Furthermore, we have huge mining and water resources, a wide bio-diversity, and extensive plough lands, the wealth of which relies on their peoples, culture, dignity and heroic history of liberators.
In the configuration of a new political, economic, social and cultural forum composed of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE, mechanisms such as the Unitary System for Regional Compensation (SUCRE), the Bank of Alba, and Gran-National Projects and Companies, would play a significant role.
The Member States of ALBA-TCP hail the progress made in adopting the Treaty establishing the Alliance, upon reaching preliminary consensus on a text to be soon signed and that will consolidate the institutional framework of ALBA-TCP.
This process shall boost the efforts deployed in the integration process of Our America as a special homage to the legacy of the Supreme Commander Hugo Chávez, creator of better and further cooperation among our peoples.
We express our commitment to the confluence of the ALBA-TCP Economic Forum (ECOALBA) and the PETROCARIBE Economic Zone of shared, intertwined, sovereign and supportive development, set to consolidate and expand a new model of economic relationship to strengthen and diversify the productive apparatus and trade, as well as to lay the foundations for multilateral instruments to be executed by Member States in this regard, with a view to meeting our peoples’ material and spiritual needs.
We purport to link this Complementary Zone with other regional mechanisms, such as MERCOSUR and CARICOM. For this purpose, we, the Heads of State and Government, have agreed to:
1. Instruct the ALBA-TCP Political Council and the PETROCARIBE Ministerial Council to contact, as soon as possible and jointly to MERCOSUR, in order to apprise them of our interest in holding talks to establish the Economic Supplementary Zone of ALBA-TCP / PETROCARIBE and MERCOSUR.
2. Appoint a High-Level Guiding Authority, composed of Ministers and High Representatives of the Heads of State and Government, to booster the creation process of an Economic Complementary Zone of ALBA-TCP / PETROCARIBE and MERCOSUR. This Authority shall be jointly led by Jamaica, Dominica, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Venezuela, and shall also have the participation of experts in economics, appointed by the other ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE countries.
3. Instruct the ALBA-TCP Political Council and the PETROCARIBE Ministerial Council for the Technical Committees to ascertain the ways to deepen greater interaction between both mechanisms, involving the Executive Secretariats of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE, representatives of SUCRE Regional Monetary Council and the Board of the Bank of ALBA. Said Committee shall submit a set of proposals to the ALBA-TCP Political Council and the PETROCARIBE Ministerial Council in the first quarter of 2014, which shall be subsequently submitted for the consideration and approval of the Heads of State and Government.
4. Entrust the Executive Secretariats of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE with data collection in the Member States of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE to identify the potentials of productive linkage and subsequently hosting the first Economic Productive Meeting of Member States of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE.
5. Entrust the Executive Secretariats of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE, together with the ALBA-TCP Economic Council, with a feasibility study on air inter-connection among the Member States of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE.
6. Instruct the ALBA-TCP Economic Council to forward to the ALBA-TCP Executive Secretariat, Bank of ALBA and SUCRE, updated trade and economic statistics of any and all Member States.
7. Speed up the ratification of ECOALBA and the Economic Complementation Agreement (ECA) 70 within ALADI, as well as the Drugs Regulating Center and the Gran-National Registry of Drugs for Human Use (ALBAMED) of ALBA-TCP.
8. Request the SUCRE Regional Monetary Council a survey of the business pattern in Member States of ALBA–TCP and PETROCARIBE.
9. Instruct ministers and officials responsible for communication of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE to prepare and submit a communications plan for both mechanisms by 2014, for the consideration of the ALBA-TCP Political Council and PETROCARIBE Ministerial Council in the first quarter of 2014.
10. Instruct Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers responsible for the environmental and social areas of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE Member States, to join efforts and take a common stance vis-à-vis Social PreCOP meetings to be held in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as a meeting forum among governments and Social Movements from all over the world, in view of the Multilateral Agenda on Climate Change.
11. Hold a meeting between the SUCRE Regional Monetary Council and the Board of the Bank of ALBA with PETROCARIBE Ministerial Council to elaborate on the progress made at SUCRE and the Bank of ALBA, in order to ponder on the potential incorporation of PETROCARIBE Member States in such mechanisms of the new regional financial architecture.
12. Implement the Action Plan for Eradication of Hunger and Poverty in the parties to the PETROCARIBE Energy Cooperation Agreement, and instruct PETROCARIBE Ministerial Council and the ALBA Social Council to take action to expand such plan to the Member States of ALBA-TCP which are not members of PETROCARIBE.
13. Entrust the PETROCARIBE Executive Secretariat, under the aegis of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with support and technical assistance to the Member States of PETROCARIBE Economic Zone (PEZ) in order to fit the outline, implementation and monitoring of the Action Plan for Eradication of Hunger and Extreme Poverty in the reality and needs of individual countries.
14. Instruct the ALBA-TCP Social Council to promptly advance, together with the ALBA-TCP Executive Secretariat, the implementation of the agreements reached in the Fifth Meeting held on December 14 in Caracas, particularly regarding the establishment of the University of Health Sciences, from the experiences and conditions of Member States, in response to the needs of health care professionals for the peoples of our America.
Based on the political assessment within ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE, we hereby agree to:
15. Congratulate the heroic Venezuelan people on the fourteenth anniversary of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the foundations of participatory and protagonic democracy exercised by the Venezuelan people in building a social State, under the rule of law, of justice and peace. This has been ratified with the landslide victory of the Bolivarian Revolution in the exemplifying election of December 8, 2013.
16. Rebut the media campaign launched by US Chevron-Texaco against the sister Republic of Ecuador, as well as any other actions which, as the result of the interests of transnational companies, harm the peoples, the environment, the economy and the sovereign policy of our nations.
17. Join efforts in the United Nations to count on an international, binding instrument on human rights and transnational companies, able to set a clear and appropriate framework of advocacy and protection of human rights, with regard to the status of transnational companies, and undertaking to work for that matter within the Human Rights Council.
18. Reassert, at a historical time of changes and strides with union and integration of Latin American and Caribbean peoples, our solidarity with the fair and historical claim of Bolivia of her right over sovereign access to the sea, and make an appeal to the presidents and peoples of Chile and Bolivia, for them, peacefully and by means of dialogue and negotiation, to arrive at a satisfactory settlement.
19. Uphold the support and solidarity given to Cuba by Member States of ALBA-TCP and PETROCARIBE, at the 68th United Nations General Assembly, where, one more time, the unfair and ilegal policy of the US blockade on Cuba was condemned.
20. Express acknowledgment to the Plurinational State of Bolivia and the Bolivian people for the accomplishments in the fight against drug trafficking, based on a sovereign policy, without the meddling of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with full observance of human rights and the Mother Earth, and rationalization of excess crops of coca leaves, through self-regulation and social control of growers, being the country with the largest traditional consumption and, concomitantly, the smallest cultivated land in the region. Furthermore, to emphasize the sovereign capacity of Bolivia in this regard, deserving imitation, and embolden the global community to play its role in joint responsibility.
21. Express to the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, and to the relatives of former President Nelson, Madiba, Mandela, our deepest sympathy for the passing away of such a South African giant, the spearhead of freedom, equality and dignity of the peoples of the world.
Likewise, we commemorate the ninth anniversary of the ALBA-TCP under the ALBA Joint Declaration initialed by Commanders Fidel Castro Ruz and Hugo Chávez Frías on December 14, 2004. In turning 19 years of the historical meeting of two giants of our America, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, we affirm our unavoidable commitment to advance and deepen the ALBA-TCP and attain the common goal of building upon the Latin American and Caribbean Great Homeland and full independence, equality and peace –the dream of our liberators.
Caracas, December 17, 2013