Seventh ALBA Summit Prioritises the Planet and Developing Nations

The 7th Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America Summit concluded with a call to respect the rights of "mother earth", steps to apply the common currency "Sucre", a meeting with social movement representatives, a proposal for a climate justice tribunal, and support for the legitimate president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez at the ALBA conference (Francisco Batista/Minci)

Mérida, October 18th, 2009 ( –  The 7th Bolivarian Alliance
for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) Summit, from 16-17 October, concluded
with a call to respect the rights of "mother earth", steps to apply the common
currency "Sucre", a meeting with social movement representatives, a proposal
for a climate justice tribunal, and support for the legitimate president of
Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.

Participating in the conference were presidents Evo Morales of
Bolivia, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Hugo Chavez of Venezulea, Rafael Correa of
Ecuador, prime ministers Roosevelt Skerit of Dominica, Baldwin Spencer of
Antigua and Barbuda, Ralph Gonsalvez of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and
the vice president of Cuba's ministers' council, Jose Ramon.

Sucre currency and

ALBA countries signed an agreement to implement the common
currency  "Sucre" (Unified System
of Compensation of Reciprocal Payments). The point of the new currency is to
use it instead of the U.S dollar for commercial exchange between member

The idea of this common currency has been on the table for around
a year now, when it was considered in the extraordinary ALBA summit in November
2008 in Caracas. In April this year, Venezuelan economics minister, Ali Rodriguez,
said it was hoped to begin an experimental phase with the currency at the end
of this year, to then fully implement it from 2010.

Chavez, in his weekly column, emphasised that the currency constitutes
a system of "fair trade" and distances Latin American countries from "hegemonic
capitalism" and applauded that now, through ALBA, it is becoming a "tangible
and concrete reality'.

The summit also agreed to create an export-import company,
ALBAEXIM, in order to establish a mechanism for trade complementarity between
ALBA countries. The final document convokes a range of ministers to meet and
form "super-national" (gran-nacional) companies in sectors such as steel,
geological mapping "of our resources", energy, and forestry, and approves a
plan of actions for commercial developing in the economic zone of the Trade
Treaty of the Peoples (TCP).

Political and climate

Morales proposed the creation of a climate justice tribunal that
judges and sanctions those who don't keep their environmental commitments. The
final document said such a tribunal would also aim to make "developed countries
pay their climate debt and effectively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions."
The tribunal will be made up of representatives of developing countries, "who
will take on the task of judging those responsible for the climate crisis that
our planet is living."

Regarding Honduras, ALBA resolved that no member country will
allow any representatives of the de facto government to enter their country,
and again demanded the restitution of President Manuel Zelaya, who was forcibly
removed from his position during a coup in June

Chavez said, "I don't know what's going to happen in Honduras, but
the people have a right to resist, be it armed."

Then, speaking of Barack Obama, Chavez said the winner "of the
Nobel Peace Prize needs to remember the seven bases in Colombia," bases run by
the United States as part of a policy that he said was "an attempt to convert
Colombia into the Israel of Latin America".

Uranium rumours

During a press conference at the ALBA Summit, Chavez responded to
accusations that Venezuela will send uranium to Iran and that it wants to
construct an atomic bomb, "Venezuela will never make an atomic bomb. That's a
defamation campaign against countries who want to develop themselves. France
has atomic bombs… so [the press] are going to accuse us of exploiting uranium…
we've barely discovered it [in Venezuela] and the war against our country has

Chavez suggested that those countries that have atomic bombs get
rid of them, and said uranium is a "strategic" mineral that has other uses
other than weapons, such as the generation of nuclear power.

Jesse Chacon, minister for Science and Technology said at the
start of this month that Russia will lend technological support to Venezuela in
the treatment of the uranium.

The final declaration

The 66-point final declaration approved by all member countries
begins with an analysis and criticism of capitalism, its "maximum expression,
imperialism", climate change, the food crisis, the energy crisis and the
financial crisis. Then it looks at how such crises can and should be solved or
dealt with. Then it talks about migration, saying that it's not a crime and
examining its causes. Next, it supports the strengthening of Latin American
exchange and cooperation, and condemns the US run bases in Colombia and the US
economic blockade on Cuba.

The second part of the document notes concrete agreements,
ratifies the continuity of various cross-country programs such as the literacy
program and the ALBA bank, gives instructions to different councils within ALBA
(such as the social council, social programs, politics council, economy
council) to follow up various agreements and resolves to form a ministerial
council of women and equal opportunities, as well as a sovereignty and defence
council, to define "popular defence strategy" and form a School of Dignity and
Sovereignty of the Armed Forces of ALBA countries.

Social movements participation

Two days before the heads of states started meeting, social
movements began meeting in Cochabamba, as part of the ALBA conference and as
one of the councils of the alliance.

There were over 700 delegates from 40 countries, who presented
their final declaration to heads of state on Saturday in a large celebration in
Stadium Felix Capriles in Cochabamba.

Telesur reported that the II Round of Commerce also took place in
Cochabamba and to coincide with ALBA. It aims to promote more commercial exchange
within Latin American countries. Bolivian and Venezuelan state owned companies
made an agreement involving around $100 million worth in intentions to buy.

In his weekly column, Chavez said the ALBA summit, rather than
being just another summit, gives "continuity to, and matures the unity process"

ALBA was created in 2004, initially just between Cuba and
Venezuela, to counter U.S free trade agreements and to normalise trade between
Latin American countries.

The next ALBA
summit will be held in Cuba, where it will commemorate its 5th