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conceptual mapping >  globalization and international relations  > ALBA Venezuela’s answer to free trade : the Bolivarian alternative for the Americas

AZZI Diego, HARRIS David Evan

ALBA Venezuela’s answer to free trade : the Bolivarian alternative for the Americas

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> Occasional Paper n°3, Focus on the Global South and Hemispherical Social Alliance, October 2006

The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) represents the first attempt at regional integration that is not based primarily on trade liberalization but on a new vision of social welfare and equity. Alternatives are often either theoretical to the point of impracticality, or so micro that scaling up presents huge challenges. ALBA is both large-scale and, to an increasing degree, taking concrete shape. While many aspects of the project are still unrealized or only in the process of realization, and despite some apparent contradictions between theory and practice, ALBA is an important case study.

The fact that ALBA is spearheaded by Presidents Chávez, Castro and, more recently, Morales, of Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia respectively, the hemisphere’s three biggest bogeymen for neoliberal imperialism, only makes the tale that much more interesting. When US President George Bush turns up in Latin America to promote the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), he is routinely coldshouldered while Chávez on ALBA is greeted like a rock star. This report provides a detailed account and a critical assessment of the ALBA project to date.

date of on-line publication : 12 January 2007

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