HAVANA (Associated Press) – Days after the summit called by the United States, dozens of heads of state and senior officials in some of the governments that Washington has sanctioned or criticized met in Cuba on Tuesday to bolster their alliance by creating multinational corporations and even a bank.
He was received in the Palace of the Revolution by the host Miguel Díaz-Canel with applause and hugs, the Presidents of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro; Luis Lars from Bolivia. Daniel Ortega, of Nicaragua, and Prime Minister Ralph Gonçalves, of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, among others, examined how to coordinate policies within the framework of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA-TCP).
“Alba is our home, and here we are, brothers. We are brothers,” Maduro said, referring to the United States after the inauguration in the morning, while asking fellow economist Arce that, as President of Bolivia, he is designing the plan.” It has its own bank, a common virtual currency – sucre – and a fuel distribution authority called Petrocaribe.
Founded in 2004 by the late leaders Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, ALBA then faced US intentions to form a Continental Free Trade Agreement under its tutelage. For years, it has supported above all else Cuba, which is suffering from US sanctions it has passed to stifle its economy by pressing a change in the political paradigm.
Arce said in the afternoon to a group of journalists who waited for him upon leaving the Fidel Castro Center, which is dedicated to studying the leader’s legacy. “We have already identified two paths … one is health and that is why we proposed as Bolivia a great national pharmaceutical company (a multi-country company) … and at the same time we start a plan to revitalize all countries” of the alliance.
“You can, you have to turn the mindset into a productive mindset,” Arce added. “The forces of necessity, it is a dire need to transform the economy,” said the president who would be the right vehicle to inject money is Alba Bank.
In the context of the shift to the left in many countries of the region at the beginning of the century, some countries joined the projects developed by the Regional Forum such as selling oil or its derivatives from Venezuela through soft loans, sending or performing millions of eye surgeries by Cuban teachers through the so-called Operation Miracle.
However, the coming to power of more conservative governments made countries such as Honduras or Ecuador break from the alliance. Currently, twelve countries are part of the group, although some are not very active or have spent many years without participating.
The group’s executive secretary, Sacha Llorente, had indicated the day before during a press conference that an observatory would be set up at the summit to monitor the funds provided by the United States to promote democracy in some countries in the region.
Last week, US President Joe Biden invited 110 countries to the democracy summit – Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Bolivia, among others were not invited – where he indicated there would be $424 million for journalism projects or promoting free elections, which was read on It is an attempt to fund opposition to governments they dislike.
Cuban President Diaz-Canel said: “It is a completely hypocritical act for the current US administration to invite the so-called summit of democracy … from which many of the countries represented here have been excluded.” “An incredible democracy excludes and denies other models of social and economic development.”
Washington has accused these governments – notably Caracas, Havana and Managua – of crushing dissidents by arresting them, forcing them into exile, or preventing their residents from obtaining information, expressing themselves or freely association.
This is the first face-to-face meeting of ALBA-TCP members since the pandemic began. The coalition supported its members during these months with funding to purchase vaccines and an airlift to carry medical infrastructure, while Cuba developed its own Soberana 02, Soberana Plus and Abdala antigens.
The closing ceremony was attended on Tuesday evening by former Cuban President and leader Raul Castro.
Andrea Rodriguez on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP