Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro highlighted the importance of strengthening the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - People's Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) to face the "tide" of rising right-wing governments throughout Latin America.
"This correlation of forces is not friendly and it forces us to strengthen the revolutionary and independence processes of ALBA," Maduro said Wednesday during a graduation ceremony of over 10,000 members of the Culture Mission.
The mission is a Cuba-Venezuela cooperation program that seeks to guarantee intercultural exchanges and provide "the necessary means to protect and preserve popular and communitarian culture, cultural patrimony, and the nation's historic memory to strengthen grassroots organization."
Maduro also said he had spoken to Raul Castro of Cuba's Communist Party of the need for a more robust and united ALBA-TCP.
"I call on the ALBA's leadership to prepare and unite more than ever to show that justice is inherent in the ideas of XXI Century Socialism. The time has come to strengthen our alliance to advance in the realization of our dreams for a Latin America united in peace," Maduro also tweeted Wednesday.
ALBA is a regional integration mechanism created by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004 as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, an economic liberalization project proposed pushed for by the United States but rejected by social movements across the Americas.
ALBA and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) have suffered several setbacks this year. In August, Ecuador withdrew from ALBA and this April six of UNASUR's 12 members announced a temporary withdrawal from the body.
Maduro's comments were made just days after far-right Jair Bolsonaro was elected as Brazil's new president, adding to the list of governments hostile towards Venezuela and Latin American economic progressivism.
"U.S. imperialism is emboldened," Maduro warned.