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jueves, enero 13, 2005

An alternative to the FTAA?

I'm beginning to read up on ALBA (aka the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean), Chavez's proposed alternative to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (known as the FTAA in English and the ALCA in Spanish).

ALBA is a proposal for closer economic integration of Latin America and the Caribbean. But unlike the FTAA and other US-driven "free trade" negotiations, ALBA is supposed to be based on the principles of justice, equality, and solidarity, focused on elimination of poverty, endogenous development, food self-sufficiency, and opposed to privatization, deregulation, and the current interpretation of intellectual property rights. Will it live up to this? Will it ever get a chance to try?

Maybe so... Last winter saw the emergence of ALBA's principle as a framework for negotiations, with the December 2003 trade agreement between two major Latin American trade communities: the Community of Andean Nations (which includes Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia) and Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay).

A few months later, Argentina & Venezuela signed agreements that marked the beginning of Petrosur, a joint South American oil company, as well as cooperation between television stations. The latest step has been in the recent Venezuela-Cuba accords, in which the two countries committed to follow the principles of ALBA in future negotiations.

All this is very exciting -- it seems like the next step in not just opposing corporate globalization while chanting "another world is possible," but moving forward with a new style of globalization that builds power to challenge the current model. I still don't know that much about ALBA though. If you've got any good articles, send 'em my way...

Additional info:
Venezuelanalysis' summary of the ALBA (Jan 2004); see also the full article

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