Ambassadors from the nine member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA-TCP) are meeting in Caracas, Venezuela to evaluate the progress achieved since the bloc was created 10 years ago.
The meeting is part of an ongoing campaign, which began earlier this month in order to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the organization.
During the event General Secretary of ALBA-TCP Bernardo Alvarez highlighted the findings from a report, which monitors the progress and policies of the integration bloc carried out over the last decade.
“There is no doubt that since the creation of ALBA, Latin America has become increasingly more unified with respect to sovereignty, autonomy and independence,” Alvarez stated.
During the meeting, Alvarez emphasized the importance of the regional integration bloc in the acceleration of regional cooperation, particularly in the field of health, education, culture and financial integration.
In efforts to strengthen economic integration, in 2009, ALBA member countries established the SUCRE (Unified System for Regional Compensation), which is a regional currency that is used for commercial purposes.
From 2010 to 2013, the use of the SUCRE expanded from XSU10 million to XSU 852 million (about US$12 million to approximately US$1 billion.)
Most recently, in 2013, members of the economic council of ALBA signed an agreement to create ECOALBA, which functions as economic zone in order to stimulate trade and promote alternative economic trade relations among member countries.
When first created in 2004, ALBA consisted of only two member states: Venezuela and Cuba. It currently is comprised of nine member countries, including Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Saint Vicente and the Grenadines.