At the Havana meeting, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the alliance’s founding, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro read the final declaration, which criticized Washington’s attempts to destabilize progressive governments through sanctions, blockades and espionage among others.
The statement also demanded to end the U.S. economic blockade on Cuba.
ALBA countries expressed support to non-member Argentina in its fight against vulture fund creditors, and slammed the interference of U.S. courts in Argentina’s sovereign debt issues.
The bloc also backed the Venezuelan government in its struggle to against destabilization efforts, including the economic sabotage undertaken by right-wing sectors through underproduction, hoarding and speculation.
The leaders of the 12-member organization reaffirmed their commitment to solidarity integration and cooperation in the expansion of the trade bloc. At the meeting, the Caribbean nations of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Grenada were accepted into ALBA as members.
Cuban President Raul Castro gave the opening words for the event citing the origins of ALBA’s founding. ‘‘Exactly a decade ago ALBA was born in Havana out of the political and integrationist willingnes of leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez...Today we commemorate as well the 20th anniversary of the first meeting between Fidel and Chavez that started an endearing friendship.’’
Later, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro commended ALBA for its decade long achievements while also acknowledging the challenges of the work to come. He expressed, ‘‘We have advanced but we can advance more... In ten years what should our priority be? Economic.’’
Maduro stressed the importance of building a regional economic bloc and continue to build common economic structures. ‘’Colonialism and neo-colonialism have directed us to take our own economic paths. Everyone for themselves … This is destined to fail. We have to build a common path. Only with a common path can we advance.’’
Maduro also gave thanks to ALBA’s quick response and support in light of recent news of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, and Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit expressed his country’s unwavering support and solidarity to the people of Venezuela and Cuba. “I am here to tell you, dear presidents of Venezuela and Cuba, our commitment is unwavering. An attack against Cuba, against Venezuela is an attack against the Caribbean and Latin America.”
Bolivian President Evo Morales was among the first to speak at the gathering. Morales urged ALBA nations to take significant steps toward saving the planet. Citing the debates underway in Peru for the COP 20, Morales said, “We have a very important responsibility. We can deabte internally and propose a first draft to the world on how to save the earth...We are convinced that human beings cannot live without the planet.”
At this year’s summit, Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis were accorded full membership status.
Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Saint Vicente and the Grenadines, Surinam and Venezuela are ALBA member states. Haiti, Iran, Syria, Honduras and El Salvador are observer states for the organization.
The following is the full text of the communique that was issued at the end of the summit:
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