Five years ago in Cuba’s capital, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez gave birth to what was then known as the Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our America (ALBA). Perhaps at that time many paid greater attention to the political effect of this event, than to its real and tangible importance on the economy, society and integration.
With time the Alternative would become the Alliance. When the Heads of State and Governments of the nine member nations will gather together in Havana from 14 to 15 December, they will not only recall the special features of the foundational act, but they will also examine a long chain of achievements and an equally swollen portfolio of projects that are a priority in these times that throughout the world are complex.
Indeed, thanks to the efforts of ALBA, one and a half million Latin Americans have regained their sight through Operación Milagro. Furthermore, three million and 500 thousand people have learned to read and write.
Organizations such as PETROCARIBE, cooked in the fire of new ideas of integration and solidarity, guarantee the provision of energy at reasonable prices to a significant group of nations in that region.
Meanwhile the Sucre is being established as an indigenous currency to drive trade and financial relations divorced from the tyranny of a fluctuating dollar whose credibility is gradually weakening. Progress is being made in the plan for an ALBA bank that specifically regulates, controls and drives economic activity of the conglomerate.
That is to say, that over and above intentions and declarations, the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America already has an important, specific achievement to point to. Furthermore, in a very short period of time, in exactly five years, it surpasses the progress made by other groups and entities that have been around for a longer period within and outside this geographic area, that have often lost their way, simply making declarations that lack any substance.
In contrast ALBA has been a decisive, transcendental stand. Similarly, ALBA never declared that it was detached from the Latin America people struggling for a better future, nor either did it declare that it was capable of glossing over the pressures, aggressions and interfering practises of those that do not desire radical changes in the hemisphere.