ALBA: Latin America's G8 for the 99%

Stan Smith

Revised schedule
Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23
5:00pm - 8:00pm (both days)
Schmitt Academic Center (SAC) Room 154
2320 N. Kenmore, DePaul University

Thursday, March 22: Conference with Diplomats of the ALBA Nations
Chair: Stan Willis, National Conference of Black Lawyers, Chicago Chapter
Jorge Bolaños Suárez, Chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington
Angelo Rivero, Presiding Officer of the Embassy of Venezuela in Washington
Freddy Bersatti Tudela, Presiding Officer of the Embassy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in Washington

Friday, March 23: Conference on the ALBA Social Movements
Chair: Robert Sigel, Midwest Workers Association
Luther Castillo, Spokesperson for Honduran People’s Front for National Resistance; co-coordinator of Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine's international team of physicians working in Haiti after the earthquake
Rummie Quintero, LGBT activist, founder of Civil Association of Divas of Venezuela
José Aguilar, Free Software Movement, Venezuela
Jose Pertierra, lawyer for Venezuela in the case to extradite Luis Posada Carriles; lawyer for Elian Gonzalez’ father; for Jennifer Harbury against Guatemala military

Organized by: History Department, DePaul University, Consulate General of Venezuela in Chicago,
Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban 5

For more information:; Stan Smith,, 773-376-7521

The achievements of ALBA (

ALBA Means Fair Trade, Cooperation, Solidarity

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - Trade Treaty of the People (ALBA-TCP) includes Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and Nicaragua. Saint Lucia, Suriname, Haiti, Iran and Syria are Guest Members. “ALBA’s fight is for a second true independence for Latin America and Caribbean; to free ourselves from poverty and illiteracy and achieve development for our people,” - Amenothep Zambrano, ALBA Executive Secretary.

ALBA builds Latin American unity and solidarity through mutual economic development, fair trade and South-South coordination. The returns on social investment are measured not in monetary terms but rather in improving peoples’ wellbeing. This is a radical break neo-colonial history based upon imperial exploitation, the fiction of a free market, and domination by the United States.

ALBA: Latin American Response to G8 Neo-Liberalism

ALBA was created as a direct response to the attempt by the United States to impose the Free Trade Area of the Americas treaty on the entire region of Latin America and the Caribbean. Implementation of the FTAA would have imposed intensified neo-liberal economic policies, increasing crushing levels of poverty, unemployment and foreign-imposed debt.
Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro formally created ALBA on Dec. 14, 2004, at the celebration of the 180th anniversary of the victory of Ayacucho, the day Simón Bolívar’s army won independence from Spain. The need for alliances such as ALBA is demonstrated by the more than 50-year-long war waged by the United States against Cuba, the 2002 failed U.S.-coup attempt against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the 2009 U.S. coup against the democratically-elected pro-ALBA president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, the 7 new U.S. military bases in Colombia, and the failed U.S. coups in Bolivia and Ecuador. ALBA countries have recently condemned foreign intervention in Libya, Syria and Palestine, and have recently strengthened their ties with Iran.

ALBA: Latin America's G8 for the 99%

Western countries are escalating cuts to our standard of living; ALBA is investing in social and job security. ALBA initiatives include: the ALBA Bank, funding development projects independent of the IMF and World Bank; creation of 12 public agencies to strengthen national economies in agriculture, infrastructure, telecommunications, and industrialization; PetroCaribe, greatly increasing access to energy resources; and many health and education programs.
ALBA’s social achievements include eliminating poverty for 11 million people in only five years, through food production programs, and free health and education programs. Unemployment has dropped to 8.7%, lower than in the U.S. Literacy rates have risen from 84% to 96%. Bolivia and Nicaragua join Cuba and Venezuela in being free of illiteracy. Infant mortality rates have been reduced by 32%; life expectancy increased to 73 years. Two million people have had their vision restored or improved through Mision Milagro, and 2.3 million handicapped persons have received health care service for their problems. Hundreds of their countries students are enrolled in ALBA’s Latin American School of Medicine to train critically-needed medical workers.
Angelo Rivero of the Venezuela Embassy noted that U.S. media routinely demonizes ALBA and its programs as threats to its own system. He said ALBA programs are “not threats but opportunities taken by Latin American and Caribbean countries to develop their own people with their own resources….We have changed and we aren’t going back. If U.S. representatives understand this, we will be able to go forward, if not, we will defend what we have created!”

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