$1 billion for Bank of ALBA - Anti Capitalist Banking
ALBA Bank formed as alternative to IMF and World Bank
VenezuelAnalysis.com - 2008-01-27 by Kiraz Janicke
The 6th Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA), a
joint Venezuelan-Cuban initiative based on fair trade as an alternative to
the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas, concluded in Caracas
on Saturday with the founding of a new Bank of ALBA and the signing of a
series of economic and social agreements between the member nations. The
Dominica also became the newest country to join the regional fair trade
Commenting on the launch of the new financial institution, Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez said that it breaks with capitalist concepts and is
a political instrument for social and economic development.
ALBA, "as its name indicates, is an alternative to the global capitalist
model, a concept of a geo-economic, geopolitical, social, cultural and
ideological space that is in construction," he added.
Chavez also emphasized the importance of the incorporation of the Dominica
into ALBA. saying, "despite the globalized media bombardment... it shows
that an alternative continues growing and consolidating itself."
In the face of this initiative, the Free Trade Area of the Americas
proposed by the United States, "is a cadaver," Venezuela's Ambasador to
Cuba, Ali Rodriguez Arraque commented.
With initial financing of more than $1 billion, the Bank of ALBA, aims to
promote projects of economic integration and infrastructural development
as well as progress in social, educational, cultural and health programs
in the member nations. It also aims to eliminate the economic weaknesses
of these countries and eradicate economic asymmetries as a result of the
process of financial globalization Venezuelan economist, Jesús Faría
Unlike other financial institutions such as the World Bank or the IMF, the
Bank of ALBA will not impose loan conditions and will function based on
consensus of all members. The summit agreed to a two tier mechanism for
democratic decision making in the Bank, a Ministerial Council and an
Executive Direction, with a rotating presidency of the member nations.
Also attending the summit were presidents Evo Morales (Bolivia); Daniel
Ortega (Nicaragua); vicepresident of Cuba, Carlos Lage; Prime Ministers,
Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica; Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda; and
Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as
representatives of Ecuador; San Cristóbal and Nieves; Honduras; Haití; and
Referring to the economic crisis in the United States, Lage stressed the
importance of the unity of the peoples and the formation of the Bank of
ALBA, saying that Latin America should prepare itself for a "post-dollar
and multi-polar world" with institutions and markets less dependent on the
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also spoke of the importance of
reducing greenhouse gas emissions and made a call to industrialized and
developed countries to "cease with the capitalist model" that every day
weakens the planet. "The capitalist model is exhausted, it is
ALBA delegate and Minister for the Social Investment Fund in Nicaragua,
Nelson Artola, said that through agreements signed in the framework of
ALBA, "the supply of oil by Venezuela has allowed us to attend to the
energy emergency that Nicaragua inherited from 16 years of neoliberal
governments that left blackouts and chaos in the national economy."
Nicaragua and Venezuela also signed an accord for cooperation in social
programs, including the construction of eight Centers for Child
Development in Nicaragua as the beginning of a program to reintegrate the
country's 47,000 street kids.
The three day summit involved a series of meetings, including the
Political Commission of ALBA, the Finance Ministers of ALBA, the Technical
Financial Commission of the Bank of ALBA, a meeting of ALBA Ministers, as
well as a summit of social movements from the member nations.
In addition to the formation of the Bank of ALBA, the leaders of Bolivia,
Cuba, Dominica, Nicaragua and Venezuela, signed a political declaration in
which they announced their support for Bolivia and its process of
They also ratified a plan to promote cultural exchange through the
creation of "ALBA Houses," which Jose González, president of the ALBA
House in Caracas said, "will serve as centers for creativity, artists,
cultural promoters, social movements - to generate a movement that allows
the knowledge of values that at times are not recognized because the
mechanisms of the market are not interested in them."
Other agreements for security and food sovereignty among the member
countries and the proposal to form an ALBA energy company were also made.
The closing act of the 6th ALBA Summit was held in the Latin American
School of Medicine, where for the past six months 395 students from Latin
America and the Carribean have been studying an introductory course on
Medical Science as part of the educational program of ALBA.