Final Declaration from the 8th Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America

December 20, 2009

On December 14, the 8th summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) issued a joint declaration.  The document makes evident the outstanding political, economic, and social achievements of the alliance.  It also takes a firm anti-imperialist stance including by: condemning the coup in Honduras and denouncing the U.S. role and subsequent support of the coup regime, condemning U.S. militarization of Colombia and the region, opposing U.S. aggression against Cuba, and standing up for the sovereign equality of all states.  The declaration states that, "We strongly condemn the political and military offensive of the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean."   

ALBA is a regional trade and economic association in Latin America based on the principles of solidarity, cooperation, complementarity and mutual aid. ALBA developed as an alternative to U.S. imperialism's proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the U.S. program of neo-liberalism which aims at U.S. penetration and domination of the economies of Latin America.  The nine member countries of the ALBA are: Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Below we reprint the full text of the final declaration of the summit (source: Granma International)

THE heads of state and government of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Trade Treaty of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP), meeting in Havana on December 13-14, 2009, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration of December 14, 2004:

We acknowledge with satisfaction the unquestionable advance of the ALBA-TCP in its first five years of existence, and its effective confirmation as a political, economic and social alliance in defense of the sovereignty, self-determination, identity and unity of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

We ratify the founding principles of the ALBA-TCP and the public statements issued in summit meetings and other encounters organized during its five years of successful labor.

We highlight the results achieved with projects already underway or in process of execution in favor of social development, the training of human resources, literacy and post-literacy, the provision of health services, the creation of productive infrastructure, greater inter-connectivity, productive complementation, the promotion of food production, capital training for investment projects, as well as the sustained impact of these results in favor of justice and an improved distribution of wealth in order to achieve greater development and the participation of the peoples, and to eliminate marginality by integrating Latin American and Caribbean populations, including original populations and those traditionally discriminated against or disfavored.

We underline the important contribution to the political and cultural heritage of the whole region signified by the practical implementation of the principles of cooperation, solidarity, social justice and economic complementariness in those countries that sustain integration within the ALBA-TCP.

We highlight that the cultures of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples constitute one of the most prized strengths for preserving and consolidating their identities in the face of globalizing processes of a hegemonic nature.

We reiterate our decision to consolidate the capacity for political coordination achieved by ALBA-TCP in order to attend to issues of regional or global reach, as demonstrated by successful action in distinct multilateral agencies directed at the construction of a more just and solidarity focussed world, and as a historic process of struggle for the dignity and sovereignty of our peoples.

We express our satisfaction with the results of the 7th Extraordinary Summit that took place in Cochabamba, Plurinational State of Bolivia, on October 16 -17, 2009, which constituted a significant step forward in the consolidation of the ALBA-TCP, in its potential for economic and social integration, and its capacities for political coordination.

We highlight the growing role currently represented by social movements in our region, both in support of popular and national processes that are being undertaken in the member countries of the ALBA-TCP, and in resistance to the offensive of right-wing forces headed by the United States on the continent.

We salute the overwhelming electoral victory of President Evo Morales in Bolivia, an expression of the support of our peoples for progressive processes and social transformations based on equality, social justice, sovereignty and self-determination, principles that guide the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. We equally salute the Uruguayan people on the recent electoral process in that country, which gave the victory to José Pepe Mujica, a known popular social fighter, a fact that reaffirms the advance of progressive processes of change in the region.

We ratify our strongest condemnation of the coup d’état perpetuated in Honduras on June 28, 2009 and, in full accordance with that position, likewise condemn the proposition of legitimizing, via the spurious elections of November 29, the military coup, the kidnapping of the president, the violation of the constitution, the repression of the people, the deaths, arbitrary detentions and disappearance of persons, and the de facto regime that usurped power; and in that context, ratify that we will not recognize the illegitimate electoral process or its results, and that we will take the actions that we consider pertinent.

We express our firmest conviction that the military coup in Honduras, perpetrated with the support of the United States, was planned to halt the advance of the forces of progress and of social justice in that country and in the Latin American and Caribbean region, and that it constitutes a manifest example that notions of democracy, human rights and respect for the law on the part of certain governments and political sectors in the region have a plainly utilitarian value.

We call the attention of the governments and peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean to the danger posed by the proposition to return the region to the epoch of coups d’états, with the objective of once again suffocating the rights of the peoples and shoring up the interests of the forces of reaction and imperialism.

We salute the attitude of countries that are maintaining a position of rejection toward the pro-coup illegitimate regime in Honduras, in particular those which have acted in accordance with the positions adopted and reiterated by the Rio Group, and coherent with the commitment to democracy, human rights and respect for the law; against coups d’état, the trampling of the people, murder, arbitrary detentions and disappearances. In this context, we call on the peoples and governments of Latin America and the Caribbean to prevent the perpetrators of the military coup of June 28, 2009 from enjoying immunity in their countries.

We express our solidarity with and support for the peaceful resistance of the Honduran people and the National Resistance Front. Back the popular clamor in favor of a constituent political process that will contribute to stability, security, progress and democracy in the country. Acknowledge the firm and valiant attitude of President Manuel Zelaya. Stress the difficult humanitarian situation faced by the Honduran people, exacerbated by the coup d’état and call for the adoption of all measures possible aimed at alleviating the said situation, in full implementation of the principle of solidarity which unites the member countries of the ALBA-TCP.

We condemn in the most energetic terms the political and military offensive of the United States in the Latin American and Caribbean region, fundamentally manifested in agreements promoted with countries in the region for the establishment of military bases.

We ratify that Latin America and the Caribbean must be a region free of foreign military bases and reaffirm that it is unacceptable to utilize the battle against drug trafficking and international terrorism as a pretext for increasing the U.S. military presence in the region, and that the real objective of this presence is control of its economic resources, domination of markets and the battle against social changes underway on the part of progressive governments and forces.

We emphasize that these ends are made evident in the U.S. Air Force Department document justifying the funding of the Palanquero Military Base project and in the U.S. Air Force Department document of May 2009 containing its Military Construction Program.

We reiterate the statement in the declaration of the 7th ALBA-TCP Summit in Cochabamba on October 2009 urging the government of Colombia to reconsider the installation of military bases established in the Agreement for Technical Cooperation and Aid in Defense and Security with the U.S.

We warn that the establishment of such military bases, in addition to those already existing, constitutes a real danger for the countries in the region and the gravest threat to the peace, security and stability of the Latin America and the Caribbean, while it equally represents a serious obstacle to the integrationist propositions of Latin America and the Caribbean.

We support the just right of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to place its country’s defense on alert in the face of the evident risk to its national security and its people as a consequence of the military deployment of the United States in the vicinity of its borders, while we call for the solidarity of the people and governments of the region to confront such a grave threat.

We energetically advocate the use of pacific means, based on dialogue and negotiation, for the solution of conflicts in our region, whatever their nature, without the presence of extra-regional entities, and express our disposition to exercise our good offices in all cases in order to attain the said mission.

We energetically reject the statements of the secretary of state of the United States on December 11, 2009, and reaffirm the right of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, in the exercise of their self-determination, to grant themselves the political, economic and social system freely decided by their peoples. At the same time, we reject the pretensions of the U.S. government to involve itself in sovereign foreign policy decisions of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, such as the region’s links with the Islamic Republic of Iran. We reiterate with maximum forcefulness that the exercise of foreign policy is a sovereign right of all states, on the basis of the principle of sovereign equality contained in the United Nations Charter and the government of the United States is transgressing that principle with statements such as the one quoted.

We once again reiterate our total rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba during 50 years by the government of the United States, demand its immediate end and reaffirm our full solidarity with the Cuban people and government.

We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and, in that context, demand the immediate and unconditional liberation of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters incarcerated in U.S. prisons for fighting against that scourge, and as a result of politically motivated trials plagued with procedural errors and lacking any legitimacy.

We urgently call on the president of the United States to make use of his constitutional faculties, unconditionally release the five heroes and put an end to this act of injustice which has been condemned by wide sectors of the international community.

We affirm our decision to promote actions within the framework of the Rio Group and the CALC (Latin American and Caribbean Summit) to form an exclusively Latin American and Caribbean organization that will contribute in an outstanding manner to pro-integration and unity efforts in the region.

We salute the inclusion of the point "Harmony with Nature" on the UN General Assembly agenda, while reiterating our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Mother Earth Rights and setting the principal guidelines for establishing harmony with nature in the 21st century.

We ratify our solidarity with the proposal to reinstate the ancestral practice of masticating coca leaves, eliminating its prohibition in international law and to withdraw coca leaves from the List No. 1 of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

We urge the urgent designation of two delegates per member country to make up the ALBA Bicentenary Commission before the end of 2010, in order to fulfill our commitment to a collective commemoration of the bicentenary of the beginning of the independence process of our America.

We reiterate the need for the Ministerial Defense of Nature Committee to draw up an ALBA-TCP environmental agenda and advance on the development and implementation of the rights of Mother Earth.

As a result of our deliberations, we have reached the following agreements:

1. To promote the realization in all the Alliance countries of a Genetic Psycho-Social Clinical Study of People with Disabilities, taking into account experiences accumulated in Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. To promote, on the basis of its results, and as it becomes possible, the incorporation of people with disabilities into activities and work within the productive, economic, and social and cultural sectors, without discrimination.

2. To continue consolidating and extending in all the ALBA countries the training and development of human resources in the area of public health with an ideal of social commitment, scientific and technical quality, and a sense of belonging to their peoples. In that context, to consolidate the comprehensive health programs and current training of comprehensive community doctors.

3. To approve the Grannacional Literacy and Post-Literacy Action Plan project in order to consolidate its successes and extend it to the rest of the countries and peoples of ALBA-TCP.

4. To complete the process of declaring illiteracy-free territories throughout the countries of the Alliance and to continue promoting the post-literacy process as a way of raising the educational level of our peoples.

5. To approve educative and strategic policy action plans for the Grannacional ALBA-Education Project, which contemplate the characteristics, principles, proposals and content defined in the Managua and Caracas Agreements (June 2009 and November 2009, respectively).

6. To systematically extend educational services in member countries until total coverage is attained, with the aim of guaranteeing access to universal primary education and advancing access to secondary education.

7. To prioritize training in Medicine and Education in integration and cooperation programs.

8. To accelerate the forming and urgent activation of prioritized grannacional enterprises and projects in line with the standards established for their organization and functioning, with the aim of them initiating their work with all urgency.

9. To ratify the continuity of the Grannacional ALBA Cultural Project and the strengthening of the Grannacional ALBA Cultural Fund Enterprise in order to continue defending the cultural identity and diversity of our peoples and in favor of cultural development as a basic tool for the process of constructing Latin American and Caribbean unity.

10. To continue promoting a historical-cultural platform sustaining integration among member countries and to urge the Political Council to work on the circulation and consolidation of the Martí Alternative for Our America (ALMA) initiative.

11. To constitute a Science, Technology and Innovation Network that will facilitate fomenting capacities for the generation and transfer of knowledge and technology in key sectors of sustainable socioeconomic development.

12. To promote projects directed at knowledge being transformed into new goods and services that can be jointly utilized by the ALBA-TCP countries and to promote interaction between I+D centers, universities and centers of production.

13. To strengthen the coordination and harmonizing of policies in the sphere of technological sovereignty, as well as to take concrete action that will gradually facilitate populational access to telecommunications services in the ALBA-TCP member countries. The Grannacional ALBATEL communications project, the construction of an underwater fiber-optic cable between Cuba and Venezuela, the Guardián del ALBA joint venture for the development of computer applications and the use of the Simón Bolívar Satellite should contribute to these objectives.

14. To give maximum support to promoting technical work in the action plan and regulations allowing for the implementation in the short term of the Single Regional Payment Compensation System, the SUCRE.

15. To approve the Economic Council proposal to initiate negotiations for the Trade Treaty of the Peoples at the beginning of 2010, with a mandate to analyze, among other issues, the Alliance’s process of integration, the status of bilateral and other kinds of relations among member countries. Equally, to determine the objective of the TCP, its guidelines and negotiating philosophy.

16. To organize the 1st ALBA-TCP Tourism Fair in the framework of the 5th International Tourism Fair of Venezuela, from September 28 to October 3, 2010, as well to instruct the Economic Council to study the proposal to create an ALBA Tourism Promotion and Development Study Center and the Training Institute for Basic Specialties in Tourism.

17. To mandate the Economic Council to install the ALBA-TCP Industrial and Productive Complementation Working Group to create the working platform, its objectives and immediate projection.

18. To approve the Single Regional Payment Compensation System (SUCRE) and instruct its transition working group to accelerate the final details for the system’s implementation at the end of January 2010.

19. To ratify the impetus to constitute the grannacional projects and enterprises analyzed by the Social and Economic Councils, and instruct their respective coordinators and representatives to design them. To convene their respective technical committees to meet in the first quarter of 2010.

20. To approve the Structure and Functioning of the ALBA-TCP document and the definitions and attributions of their principal agencies in line with the decisions adopted by the Alliance starting from the Maracay Summit and proposals for the organization and functioning of the grannacional enterprises and projects.

21. To instruct the Political Council to draft a proposal on the functioning and organization of the work of the ALBA-TCP Presidential Council, to be submitted to heads of state and government for operative consultation in order to reach a decision by the next Alliance Summit at the latest.

22. To intensify exchanges within the framework of international agencies, in particular within the United Nations, among the ALBA-TCP member countries, with the objective of contributing to ensure that the principles guiding the activities of the Alliance and their political objectives are duly taken into account in negotiating and discussion processes that take place within those agencies.

23. To instruct the Political Council to continue advancing in the institutionality of the Alliance and in the drafting of standards, procedures and regulations that will allow for the coherence of all its agencies.

24. To hold the 9th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Trade Treaty of the Peoples on April 17 to 18, 2010 in the city of Caracas, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in the framework of the 200th anniversary commemoration of the beginning of the independence struggle in Venezuela.

25. To complete the organization of the respective national chapters of the social movements with the objective of convening the next ALBA-TCP Social Movements Council prior to the 9th Summit of Heads of State and Government on April 19, 2010 in Venezuela.