Mérida, 15th December 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – At its 13th summit, held in Cuba last weekend, the ALBA alliance celebrated its 10th anniversary. The leftist bloc charted plans for future integration and condemned U.S. “aggression” toward its member states.
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which now comprises 11 countries after the entrance of Grenada and the Federation of San Cristobal and Nieves, was founded in 2005 by Cuba and Venezuela as a leftist alternative to the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). Other members of the alliance include Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
At the XIII ALBA TCP (People’ Trade Agreement) summit in Havana, which closed yesterday, member states designed strategies to develop social programs and address climate change. A goal of treating 6 million patients under the “Mission Miracle” eye treatment and operation program was set for 2015.
Plans to strengthen the ALBA bank, the internal Sucre currency, and to make operational an economic zone between the ALBA, MERCOSUR and CARICOM blocs were also discussed.
In the final 43 point declaration, the countries of the bloc also announced their “energetic condemnation” of proposed U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, and reiterated their call to end the U.S. blockade of Cuba.
“At the same time [we] firmly reject any kind of aggression, be it legal, political or economic, against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as with any other member of the ALBA – TCP,” read the declaration.
The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, proposed that in response to U.S. sanctions of Venezuela, “We have to make our own lists of terrorist states and on our lists the Yankee Empire must be in first place”.
Ortega told press last week that U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ileana Ros – Lehtinen had been banned from Nicaraguan territory, in part as a response to their role in pioneering sanctions against Venezuela.
“Just like they [U.S. officials] have their lists, we can make our own lists in Latin America of those who shouldn’t enter our country,” he said to the Tico Times.
Clash with Spain
In other news, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro ruffled diplomatic feathers last Friday after he called former Spanish prime minister Jose Aznar a murderer for his role in taking Spain into the U.S. led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“It’s not enough that they destroyed Iraq, 1,200,000 were killed in Iraq because of Aznar, the murderer of Spain, the bloodthirsty murderer of Spain, the former Spanish president Aznar. I call him a murderer because he is responsible for the deaths of 1,200,000 Iraqis,” said Maduro in a public speech.
The Spanish government communicated their indignation at the comments to Venezuela’s charge de affairs in Madrid, calling the accusations “deplorable” and “slanderous”.