April 17th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- Latin America's most
progressive governments met in Cumaná, Venezuela on Thursday for the seventh
summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, ALBA. There they prepared their positions for this
weekend's Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, and signed the decree for a new
South American currency, the Sucre.
attendance were the presidents of the ALBA nations; Venezuela's Hugo Chávez,
Cuba's Raul Castro, Bolivia's Evo Morales; Honduras's Manuel Zelaya;
Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega; and the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt
President Fernando Lugo, the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, and the Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Fander Falconí
were also present.
shouldn't expect anything, except from ourselves, from our own hands and our
own will and our own courage," said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in his
opening remarks, setting the theme for the four hour-long meeting. "That's
where we'll find the solution to our problems. Magic solutions aren't going to
come from the North, and much less through the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank."
major issue of the day, the Latin American leaders signed into effect a new
South American currency, to be called the Sucre.
sincerely believe that this initiative is writing a new page in history," said
Chávez as the eleven leaders took turns signing the official order. "Here in ALBA, we came to take action to
confront the economic and social crisis."
progressive ALBA leaders say the Sucre is necessary to help defray the regional
effects of the world economic crisis by substituting their trade in dollars
with this new alternative currency. The ALBA countries and their allies plan to
begin using the virtual Sucre by early next year, with future plans to convert
it into a hard currency.
regional currency is named after one of South America's founding fathers,
Antonio José de Sucre, who was born in the Venezuelan town of Cumaná where the
summit was held. Sucre fought alongside South American Liberator, Simon
meeting Chávez said that the SUCRE, which stands for the Unified System of
Regional Compensation (Sistema Único de Compensación Regional), "will be much
more than a currency." According to Chavez, the Sucre system will have four
branches: The Regional Monetary Council, The Sucre currency itself, the Central
Clearing House, and a regional reserve and emergency fund.
help us to overthrow the dictatorship of the dollar, imposed on us from over
there, from Bretton Woods," said Chávez.
economic crisis, this weekend's Summit of the Americas, and the role of the
United States in Latin America were also discussed during the meeting.
President Raul Castro lashed out at recent comments by US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton who said the US would consider lifting the Cuban embargo if
Cuba released dissidents from prison and embraced democracy.
told the North American government in private and in public that when they
want, we are prepared to discuss everything, human rights, freedom of press...
everything, everything, everything they want to discuss, but they keep their
conditions without even attempting to respect Cuban sovereignty, while
violating the Cuban people's right of self-determination," said Castro.
attendance supported Cuba's stance.
new President Fernando Lugo asked if "someone at the UN or the Organization of
American States (OAS) gave the United States the power to elect itself as the
judge of the democratic people of Latin America."
"We are in
a new moment in Latin America. And we
are the true authors of our own destiny, and there is no nation in the world
that can judge us, over who is more democratic or not. We each have our own unique process of
democratization," Lugo said.
United States doesn't have any authority to speak about democracy, because from
over there they install coup d'etats, like these civil coups now in Bolivia,"
agreed Bolivian President Evo Morales who was unexpectedly in attendance,
having only just finished a multiple-day hunger strike.
proposed that the ALBA nations present a resolution at the Trinidad Summit to
ask the United States to end its embargo on Cuba and to cease intervening in
Latin American affairs.
the support of everyone in the world, except the United States and Israel. So if Obama wants the whole world's support,
he's going to have to lift the embargo on Cuba," said Morales.
Bolivian president said that Cuba should be re-admitted in to the OAS, because
the reason for Cuba's expulsion from the organization in 1962 is that it was
"Marxist, Leninist, and Communist."
numerous Latin American countries openly in support of Socialism, Morales joked
that either Cuba should be readmitted, or they should all be kicked out.
also condemned the Human Rights Councils of the UN and the Organization of
American States, which he said only criticize the region's progressive
governments. He called for the creation of an ALBA commission on human rights,
to carry out its own investigations in to human rights violations and
destabilization attempts against their countries.
signing the Sucre legislation, the heads of state rushed to a public event in
Cumaná's Ayacucho plaza where they were greeted by thousands of cheering
the Sucrenses, it is a huge honor to have welcomed them to our land, Cumaná!"
cried Milagro Marcano after the event.
"And we are very proud that the ALBA currency, the currency of South
America, will be called the Sucre... It is
important that the empire knows that our strength is in our union, and the
people are in the street, and we have awoken and we are going to continue to
fight for our free and sovereign country."
crowd a hundred feet away was a colorful and vocal group of two-dozen Bolivian
students studying in Venezuela as part of the ALBA agreements between the two
goal of ALBA is to overcome this crisis and support each other from one country
to the next so this crisis doesn't hit us so hard in Latin America," said
Lisbel Paniagua, who is studying study Computer Science. "This means to fulfill
the dream of Bolivar and Sucre, that we are one united America."
Paniagua was Victor Valdiviez who said that ALBA has been very beneficial. "For
example in my case, I am from a province there in Bolivia, in which the doors were
locked for me. I was really afraid of
the camera, but today I can express myself thanks to the ALBA agreement, I am
studying," said Valdiviez.
Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA was founded five years ago
between Cuba and Venezuela as an alternative to the US-backed Free Trade Area
of the Americas. Since its founding, the ALBA nations have implemented numerous
social program and cooperation agreements. Among those is the recently founded
ALBA bank that Chavez announced on Thursday will be taking over the funding of
a number of Nicaraguan projects that were dropped by Millennium funding from
the United States and Europe.
need the gringo money with these undignified conditions to continue exploiting
the people. You can take your
millions. We have the means to resolve
our problems. We have the how, and we know how," said Chavez at the
heads of state traveled to Trinidad and Tobago today, but left behind
government representatives in Cumaná to work on the details. Both Cuba and the
international crisis are expected to be hot topics at the Trinidad & Tobago
Summit. But with a heavy US agenda, the ALBA nations don't have high hopes, and
President Chavez has already threatened to abstain from signing the final
Summit of the Americas document.
To hear a
radio report by Michael Fox on the ALBA summit visit Free Speech Radio News at www.fsrn.org.