The heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), gather in Caracas, four years after we bid farewell to Commander Hugo Chavez Frias, and four months after the passing of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, the founders of our organization, whose examples and ideals interpret and summarize the legacy of the liberators.
They taught us to understand our struggles and national aspirations as interdependent processes and as fraternal contributions to the common dreams of freedom, dignity, justice and peace for the Great Homeland; and prioritizing collective interests over national interests.
ALBA-TCP, a political, economic and social alliance, defends the independence, self-determination and identity of our peoples. We are united by solidarity, complementarity, justice and cooperation with the historical purpose of coordinating our countries’ capabilities and strengths in order to achieve comprehensive development and exist as sovereign nations.
Latin America and the Caribbean are going through a crucial stage in their history: popular democratic processes headed by left-wing governments, political forces and movements face a new offensive launched by imperialism, transnational capital and national oligarchies. The decline of imperial hegemonism, the impacts of the international systematic crisis and the fall in the prices of our export commodities, particularly hydrocarbons, impose new challenges. These are generated by the same forces that created poverty, exclusion and the dependence of our nations and imposed on us invasions and dictatorships to consolidate their power.
During all these years and against our resistance, neoliberalism has not ceased in its efforts to expand its financial logic: this is not about a theory of development; it is the doctrine of the all-out plunder of our peoples. Under neoliberalism, the world economy has not grown in real terms. Instead, instability, speculation, foreign debt, unequal exchange, ever more frequent financial crises, poverty, inequality and the abyss between the opulent North and the dispossessed South have increased.
Resurgence of neoliberalism has revived the worst conservatism, reactivated fundamentalism, xenophobia, racism and militarism. This policy is being financed by foreign companies and governments. The scientific and technological progress has led to a high level of political and communicational coordination between imperialists and oligarchs to manipulate the masses and attack our cultures. New faces, instruments and methods are causing confusion among voters and distort electoral results.
Right-wing parties are using the legislative, judicial and media power as platforms for conspiracies; they are unscrupulously doing away with the democratic order they used to support; they impose new adjustments through privatizations and mass lay-outs and promote the articulation of political subversion.
Corruption, which was fought by the left-wing and progressive organizations and movements of the region before taking power and against which they have had to struggle very hard once they are in office, is being politically manipulated with the purpose of criminalizing and demoralizing organizations and leaders. There are some who use it as a pretext to attack the effectiveness, justice and efficiency of public administrations, thus affecting the citizens’ confidence in their institutions and their participation. Others escape as they immorally hide their capitals in fiscal havens.
We should strongly denounce and combat all of them as we improve our efforts to strengthen a good management of public and collective assets. Social control over these assets should be taken on as a priority in all member countries of ALBA-TCP. Coping with that phenomenon is crucial and should be part of our integrity and our ethics as we work for the prosperity of our nations.
The main attack is being launched against the Bolivarian Revolution. The US arbitrary sanctions against Venezuela, particularly against its Executive Vice-President, comrade Tareck El Aissami, should be cancelled. The inexplicable executive order signed by the US President declaring Venezuela as an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security of that country, should be abrogated. Venezuela is the cradle of the freedom of Our America, a promoter of regional integration and a stronghold of anti-imperialism. The defense of Venezuela and its Revolution is not exclusive to Venezuelans. It is a cause that calls upon all of us who fight for true independence in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Ayacucho Battle of the Twenty First century is being waged in Venezuela today.
Regional unity and integration of Latin America and the Caribbean is a most pressing need in this complex environment. ALBA-TCP together with blocks like MERCOSUR, UNASUR, CARICOM and others who have been playing a key role during the last decade, should continue making a contribution to regional integration.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, is our most treasured work. It is the mechanism to forge unity amidst diversity through political coordination. The Community has had to cope with the resistance opposed by the followers of the failed Pan-Americanism. We should preserve it.
Our commitment with the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace guides our international actions. It legitimizes our strict adherence by the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and of International Law; it reaffirms our respect for free determination, national sovereignty and sovereign equality of States. It is an expression of our willingness to settle our differences in a peaceful way, through dialogue and negotiation; and recognizes the inalienable right of all States to choose its own political, economic, social and cultural system.
The small Caribbean economies, which were victims of the genocide against their indigenous populations and slavery, as well as colonial and neocolonial plunder, face today the challenges resulting from climate change, natural disasters and other global crises, which make them the most vulnerable members of our family. The Caribbean, with the decisive support of the generous Petrocaribe initiative, deserves the greatest possible solidarity and all of our attention.
We highlight that water and basic sanitation are human rights which cannot be privatized and States have to ensure the supply of those for the well-being of the peoples.
Contrary to ALBA-TCP and all genuine integration efforts is the Organization of American States, where some members’ concerns find no expression, much less respect or support, but rather hegemonic intents and projects. The unworthy behavior of its Secretary General is void of any mandate from
Our America faces a new agenda of imperial domination, marked by the announcement of selfish and extremist protectionism that will affect our still dependent economies. The implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is being threatened today. Our peoples, forced to migrate due to the living conditions that result from underdevelopment and an unjust and exclusive international economic order, are being pursued, criminalized, deported and their human rights are frequently violated. On behalf of security, military and law enforcements expenses are being increased, persons are pursued for religious or racial motives, and walls are built, such as the one in the northern border of Mexico, a people to which we express our full solidarity.
We, as ALBA-TCP, express our concern for the treatment to our Latin American and Caribbean brothers who currently are migrants. Therefore, we propose to reactivate the Fund for the legal support and advisory to migrants within the Banco del ALBA.
The governments and peoples of ALBA-TCP see in these phenomena a new opportunity to regroup, mobilize and struggle. We should support the emancipatory actions; clearly and realistically define our horizons; identify the values and principles that unite us and adopt a program of action aimed at integration and international solidarity, establishing the economic, social and political premises for a liberating change.
We need to strengthen social organizations and movements in order to face our adversaries. We have to better explain our peoples the high level of foreign dependence of our economies and the way it compromises independence and national sovereignty. We can and should open up new opportunities for inter-regional trade and cooperation to ensure economic independence, which is the guarantee of our political independence.
In light of the above, we ratify our commitment to deepen a social, economic and productive agenda to strengthen the Alliance and provide the right conditions for the comprehensive and complementary development of our peoples.
We support and endorse the Convocation by the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the “World Conference of the Peoples for a World without Walls toward universal citizenship” to be held on 20-21 June 2017 in Cochabamba, Tiquipaya, Bolivia.
We welcome the appointment of our comrade David Choquehuanca, former Foreign Relations Minister of the Plurinational State of Bolivia as a new ALBA-TCP Executive Secretary and we wish him success in his duties.
We are responsible not only for raising awareness on the need for a change, but also for persuading others and showing its feasibility.
Let us integrate and unite. Therein lies victory.
Caracas, 5 March 2017.