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ALBA President: Challenge is to Become Stronger and Continue Supporting Integration

Este 14 de diciembre se cumplen 10 años de su fundación

December 14 Marks its 10 Year Anniversary

Latin America is experiencing a new era, and in this era, following 10 years of work with unassailable achievements, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) faces the challenge of becoming stronger and of continuing to support integration, of becoming the expression of this politically transforming vision in the heart of the region, said ALBA president Bernardo Alvarez in declarations to Prensa Latina.

Alvarez said that the organization should aspire to be the political conscience of the global progressive left during this new Latin American integration, “but doing everything necessary so that the agenda of transformation and the social [justice] agenda is part of the Latin American debate.”

He noted that ALBA has the distinctive feature of being able to bring together political forces that share a common project while being diverse, “yet there are other mechanisms of integration within the hemisphere that play an equally important role, such as the Union of South American Nations [UNASUR] and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).”

Along with ambassadors from five ALBA countries in Argentina, Alvarez inaugurated a set of activities on Thursday to celebrate the regional bloc’s tenth anniversary in Buenos Aires.

ALBA was founded in Havana, Cuba, on November 14, 2004, with a constitutive act signed by heads of state Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, and despite the pressures and attacks it faced, it grew and attained important achievements in human and social development, as well as in economic growth, for its ten member countries.

Its principle of creating fairer and more just societies transcended borders and is applied in several countries.

Alvarez noted that ALBA-TCP (ALBA-Peoples’ Trade Treaty) has become a unifying and energizing force in enacting the Bolivarian dream of creating regional unity, while working towards the preservation and reestablishment of peace and self-determination of peoples.

He explained that ALBA “is now a powerful political alliance that takes positions built on consensus in defense of the rights of Mother Earth, of human rights, against interventionism and war.”

Among the organization’s achievements, Alvarez mentioned that nearly 3.5 million people have recovered their vision thanks to Misión Milagro (Mission Miracle, a social program that provides free ophthalmological care), that almost 1.3 million people with disabilities have received care, and that over 850,000 have received technical support for prosthetics.

Moreover, the ALBA president commented that another of the bloc’s challenges is to jointly create a Complementary Economic Zone with PetroCaribe and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) in order to invigorate its political and economic nexuses and to strengthen the development of complementary, fair and balanced trade.

“These ten years have been positive and serve as motivation to continue forward on the path towards widening the horizons of this mechanism for integration,” Alvarez added.

AVN / Press – Venezuelan Embassy in the US / November 14, 2014

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