Heads of state and government, meeting in Havana Sunday, December 14, reaffirmed the principles of solidarity, genuine cooperation and complementarity shared by the countries which comprise the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP).
Precisely 10 years ago, also in the Cuban capital, this pro-integration mechanism was founded, on the initiative of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías, whose legacies of great importance to present and future generations were emphasized during the XIII Summit. Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz described the discussion as productive, and commented that very interesting ideas had been presented, reflecting the concrete results of the gathering.
He called for continuing to strengthen joint political work, unity, and cooperation in all spheres, among nations participating in Alba-TCP, CELAC, CARICOM, UNASUR and MERCOSUR.
The Cuban President emphasized the importance of establishing concrete, realistic goals for the future, while defining and agreeing upon attainable efforts, which strengthen the complementarity of Alba countries’ economies, based on principles of rational, efficient use of resources.
He said that work must be done to make more visible the undeniable accomplishments of Alba-TCP, and disseminate the advantages of the integration model which the alliance proposes and defends. A concrete example of what can be done together, he recalled, was the agreement adopted at the Special Summit on Ebola, and subsequent joint efforts.
Raúl reiterated the comments he made, during last week’s CARICOM-Cuba Summit, thanking the Panamanian government for its invitation to the upcoming Summit of the Americas, and expressed Cuba’s willingness to participate as an equal, without pre-conditions, reaffirming that this does not in any way imply a return to the Organization of American States (OAS).
The first decision made at the XIII Alba-TCP Summit was to formalize the incorporation of Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis as members of the alliance, whose contributions, Raúl affirmed, will support the development and consolidation of efforts to promote integration being made by the group, which additionally includes Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Lucia. Leaders of delegations attending the Summit emphasized, in all of their remarks, the accomplishments achieved by the alliance during the 10 years of its existence.
Cited were Operation Miracle, through which some three million Latin Americans and Caribbeans have recovered their sight; national genetic and psycho-social studies of the disabled; literacy campaigns which have allowed some five million citizens to learn to read and write; and the training of thousands of doctors.
Also recalled was significant progress in the financial arena including the creation of the Unified System of Regional Compensation (SUCRE) and the Alba Bank. Participants agreed that while much has been accomplished, many challenges remain, which require the further perfecting of current collaborative programs in all areas. During the discussion, strong support for Venezuela was reaffirmed, and sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic approved by the U.S. Congress were forcefully condemned.
Alba leaders once again demanded a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba; an immediate end to the blockade and subversive intervention; the removal of Cuba from the arbitrary, absurd list of state sponsors of international terrorism; as well as the release of the three Cuban anti-terrorists who remain unjustly held in U.S. prisons.