Caracas, Venezuela, May 10, 2005—Yesterday Cuba and Venezuela created a transnational construction company designed to reduce the housing deficit in both countries, as well as throughout Latin America. According to Edgar Camejo, the President of the National Fund for Urban Development (Fondur), the initiative forms part of the integration agreements made under the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA).
Proposed by Venezuela two years ago, the ALBA is a trade block intended to counter the US-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americans (FTAA). While the latter is guided by principles of neo-liberal economics and is set up to maximize profits, ALBA was created to reduce equalize economic disparities between countries. Through endogenous development and agricultural policies that place a country’s self-sufficiency over its export sector, the ALBA aims to reduce employment and satisfy basic needs.
While neoliberalism postulates that the market will correct disparities within and between countries, the ALBA pushes for concrete plans based on solidarity that make the best use of what a country has to offer in order to create a more egalitarian region that can compete with other regions on fairer terms.
This emphasis on solidarity is evident in this transnational construction business. While Cuba will supply the machinery and equipment, Venezuela will is putting up the capital. According to Camejo, the first 100 million dollars of capital will come from the International Fund for the ALBA, which collects dues from each member-state.
Additionally, Cuba and Venezuela signed a 25 million dollar agreement to build 1,400 housing in the Venezuelan state of Nueva Esparta. The construction of the first 300 residences is expected to be completed by August 1st.