Alternative of ALBA to Capitalism

The following statement was issued on April 17 by six of the seven governments of the ALBA economic and social alliance in Latin America. (The seventh member, Ecuador, was unable to attend the meeting.) Speaking in Australia, Luis Bilbao, editor of the monthly magazine América XXI (published in Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay), described the statement as "profound" and "historic."

"We have seven governments of the world speaking in language that used to be the reserve of left parties only," Bilbao said. "Gone is diplomatic language to discuss the political and economic situation facing Latin America and the Caribbean and their relation with the United States. Instead, we read that the draft statement of the Summit of the Americas is considered 'inadequate and unacceptable.' The ALBA countries declare that an entirely different approach to the world's problems is required.

"In opposition to the Summit statement is a radical and far-reaching declaration of anti-capitalism and socialism. This is something which the world's left wing parties must make known to the peoples of the world."
Document of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) countries for the 5th Summit of the Americas
Cumaná, April 17, 2009

The heads of state and governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, member countries of ALBA, consider that the proposed Declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas is insufficient and unacceptable for the following reasons:
* It offers no answers to the issue of the Global Economic Crisis, despite the fact that this constitutes the largest challenge faced by humanity in decades and the most serious threat in the current epoch to the wellbeing of our peoples.

* It unjustifiably excludes Cuba in a criminal manner, without reference to the general consensus that exists in the region in favour of condemning the blockade and the isolation attempts, which its people and government have incessantly objected to.

For these reasons, the member countries of ALBA consider that consensus does not exist in favour of adopting this proposed declaration and in light of the above; we propose to have a thoroughgoing debate over the following issues:

Proposal to Debate
1) Capitalism is destroying humanity and the planet. What we are living through is a global economic crisis of a systemic and structural character and not just one more cyclical crisis. Those who think that this crisis will be resolved with an injection of fiscal money and with some regulatory measures are very mistaken.

The financial system is in crisis because it is quoting the value of financial paper at six times the real value of goods and services being produced in the world. This is not a "failure of the regulation of the system" but rather a fundamental part of the capitalist system that speculates with all goods and values in the pursuit of obtaining the maximum amount of profit possible. Until now, the economic crisis has created 100 million more starving people and more than 50 million new unemployed people, and these figures are tending to increasing.

2) Capitalism has provoked an ecological crisis by subordinating the necessary conditions for life on this planet to the domination of the market and profit. Each year, the world consumes a third more than what the planet is capable of regenerating. At this rate of wastage by the capitalist system, we are going to need two planets by the year 2030.

3) The global economic, climate change, food and energy crises are products of the decadence of capitalism that threatens to put an end to the existence of life and the planet. To avoid this outcome it is necessary to develop an alternative model to that of the capitalist system. A system based on:

Proposed Alternative to Capitalism
* Solidarity and complementarity and not competition;

* A system in harmony with our Mother Earth rather than the looting of our natural resources;* A system based on cultural diversity and not the crushing of cultures and impositions of cultural values and lifestyles alien to the realities of our countries:

* A system of peace based on social justice and not on imperialist wars and policies;

* In synthesis, a system that restores the human condition of our societies and peoples rather than reducing them to simple consumers or commodities.

Forging Mechanisms for Solidarity
4) As a concrete expression of the new reality on the continent, Latin American and Caribbean countries have begun to construct their own institutions, whose roots lie in the common history that goes back to our independence revolution, and which constitutes a concrete instrument for deepening the processes of social, economic and cultural transformation that will consolidate our sovereignty. The ALBA-TCP [TCP - Peoples Trade Agreement], Petrocaribe and UNASUR [Union of South American Nations], to only cite the most recently created one, are mechanisms for solidarity-based union forged in the heat of these transformations, with the manifest intention of strengthening the efforts of our peoples to reach their own liberation.

Establish a Common Accounting Unit (SUCRE)
In order to confront the grave effects of the global economic crisis, the ALBA-TCP countries have taken innovative and transformational measures that seek real alternatives to the deficient international economic order, rather than strengthening these failed institutions. That is why we have set in motion a Single System of Regional Compensation, the SUCRE, that includes a Common Accounting Unit, a Payments Clearing House and a Single System of Reserves.

At the same time, we have promoted the establishment of grand national companies in order to satisfy the fundamental necessities of our peoples, implementing mechanisms of just and complementary trade, that leave to one side the absurd logic of unrestrained competition.

5) We question the G20's decision to triple the amount of resources going to the International Monetary Fund, when what is really necessary is the establishment of a new world economic order that includes the total transformation of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO [World Trade Organisation], who with their neoliberal condition have contributed to this global economic crisis.

6) The solutions to the global economic crisis and the definition of a new international financial architecture should be adopted with the participation of the 192 countries that between June 1 and 3 will meet at a United Nations conference about the international financial crisis, in order to propose the creation of a new international economic order.

Developed Countries Owe Ecological Debt to the World

7) In regards to the climate change crisis, the developed countries have an ecological debt to the world, because they are responsible for 70% of historic emissions of carbon accumulated in the atmosphere since 1750.

The developed countries, in debt to humanity and the planet, should contribute significant resources towards a fund so that the countries on the path towards development can undertake a model of growth that does not repeat the grave impacts of capitalist industrialisation.

8) The solutions to the energy, food and climate change crises have to be integral and interdependent. We cannot resolve a problem creating others in the areas fundamental to life. For example, generalising the use of agrofuels can only impact negatively on the price of food and in the utilisation of essential resources such as water, land and forests.

Condemnation of Discrimination Against Migrants
9) We condemn discrimination against migrants in all its forms. Migration is a human right, not a crime. Therefore, we demand an urgent reform to the migration policies of the United States government, with the objective of halting deportations and mass raids, allowing the reunification of families, and we demand the elimination of the wall that divides and separates us, rather than uniting us.

In this sense, we demand the repeal of the Cuban Adjustment Act and the elimination of the policies of Wetbacks-Drybacks, which has a discriminatory and selective character, and is the cause of loss of human lives.

Those that are truly to blame for the financial crisis are the bankers that steal money and the resources of our countries, not migrant workers. Human rights come first, particularly the human rights of the most unprotected and marginalised sectors of our society, as undocumented workers are.

For there to be integration there must be free circulation of people, and equal human rights for all regardless of migratory status. Brain drain constitutes a form of looting of qualified human resources by the rich countries.

Education, Health, Water, Energy and Telecommunications Are human Rights
10) Basic services such as education, health, water, energy and telecommunications have to be declared human rights and cannot be the objects of private business nor be commodified by the World Trade Organisation. These services are and should be essential, universally accessible public services.

All Countries have the same rights and Mutual Respect
11) We want a world where all countries, big and small, have the same rights and empires do not exist. We oppose intervention. Strengthen, as the only legitimate channel for discussion and analysis of bilateral and multilateral agendas of the continent, the base of mutual respect between states and governments, under the principal of non-interference of one state over another and the inviolability of the sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples. We demand that the new government of the United States, whose inauguration has generated some expectations in the region and the world, put an end to the long and nefarious tradition of interventionism and aggression that has characterised the actions of the governments of this country throughout its history, especially brutal during the government of George W. Bush.

End Covert Operations, Parallel Diplomacy, Media wars
In the same way, we demand that it eliminate interventionist practices such as covert operations, parallel diplomacy, media wars aimed at destabilising states and governments, and the financing of destabilising groups. It is fundamental that we construct a world in which a diversity of economic, political, social and cultural approaches are recognised and respected.

End Economic Blockade Against Cuba
12) Regarding the United States blockade against Cuba and the exclusion of this country from the Summit of the Americas, the countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) reiterates the position that all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean adopted last December 16, 2008, regarding the necessity of putting an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba, including the application of the denominated Helms-Burton law and that among its paragraphs notes:

"CONSIDERING the resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly on the need to put an end to the economic, commercial, and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba and the decisions on the latter approved at several international meetings,

"DECLARE that in defence of free trade and the transparent practice of international trade, it is unacceptable to apply unilateral coercive measures that will affect the well-being of nations and obstruct the processes of integration.

"WE REJECT the implementation of laws and measures that contradict International Law such as the Helms-Burton law and urge the U.S. Government to put an end to its implementation.

"WE ASK the U.S. Government to comply with the 17 successive resolutions approved at the United Nations General Assembly and put an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo it has imposed on Cuba."

Moreover, we believe that the attempt to impose isolation on Cuba, which today is an integral part of the Latin American and Caribbean region, is a member of the Rio Group and other organisations and regional mechanisms, that carries out a policy of cooperation and solidarity with the people of the region, that promotes the full integration of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples, has failed, and that, therefore, no reason exists to justify its exclusion from the Summit of the Americas.

"The Unity of Our Peoples Is An Inexorable Fate"
13) The developed countries have allocated no less than $8 trillion towards rescuing the financial structure that has collapsed. They are the same ones that do not comply with spending a small sum to reach the Millennium Goals or 0.7% of GDP for Official Development Aid. Never before have we seen so nakedly the hypocrisy of the discourse of the rich countries. Cooperation has to be established without conditions and adjusted to the agendas of the receiving countries, simplifying the procedures, making resources accessible and privileging issues of social inclusion.

14) The legitimate struggle against narco-trafficking and organised crime, and any other manifestation of the denominated "new threats," should not be utilised as excuses for carrying out acts of interference or intervention against our countries.
15) We are firmly convinced that change, which all the world is hoping for, can only come about through the organisation, mobilisation and unity of our peoples.

As the Liberator well stated: "The unity of our peoples is not simply the chimera of men, but an inexorable fate"- Simón Bolívar.

Translation by Socialist Voice, based on an earlier text by Federico Fuentes, Bolivia Rising

New Canadian Video on Bolivia Now Available.

New Canadian Video: ' Bolivia in Transition'

A gripping new video, shot by a team of Toronto activists during Bolivia ’s January constitutional referendum, is now available for showing. The video, " Bolivia in Transition," chronicles Bolivia 's liberation struggle and centers on the democratic process leading up to the vote, dealing with the violence, fear and racism that underpins the conflict. The film is based on interviews conducted in Bolivia with both supporters and opponents of the new constitution proposed by President Evo Morales. The team were official observers during the vote, in which the new magna carta was adopted by a 61% majority.

The 20-minute video is now available for public showing. Its co-producer, Raul Burbano, is available to introduce the video and answer questions.

To schedule a showing, contact Toronto Bolivia Solidarity at, or phone 416-522-8615 or 416-686-7607.

Production of the video was sponsored by:
Toronto Bolivia Solidarity
Canadian Auto Workers
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Canadian Union of Public Employees
CUPE Ontario - International Solidarity Committee
CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University
National Union of Public and General Employees
Ontario Secondary Students Teachers Federation

Venezuela Overcoming Obstacles to the Revolution

Dear Friends,

The following instructive article explains how Venezuela's United Socialist Party is countering media slanders by involving the people in decision-making and reshaping social values.
President Chávez and Venezuela’s Socialist Elected Officials Meet to Discuss Political Strategy
March 28th 2009 by James Suggett

On Wednesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez convened state governors, city mayors, and legislators from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to discuss the next stage in the construction of “21st Century Socialism,” following two important electoral victories for Chávez and his supporters over the past four months.Chávez urged governors and mayors to promote debate and “the battle of ideas” in their workplaces so that “a new vision and new values are born,” and to counter the “media war” waged by the opposition-aligned private media against the government’s policies.

“Each governorship and mayoralty should truly become a school of socialist theory and practice,” said Chávez, rallying the officials not to be set back by the tightening of local budgets amidst the world economic downturn. “What a marvelous time to be a mayor! The most important problem of a mayor is not a shortage of resources for this or that project. If you let yourselves get trapped in this, you are already lost,” he said.

Throughout the day, PSUV elected officials divided into working groups organized by region to fix legislative and policy priorities for the coming months and years.

Among the topics discussed was the election of constituent assemblies to re-write state and municipal constitutions to reflect the principles enshrined in the national Constitution, which was written by an elected assembly and approved by popular vote during the first year of Chávez’s presidency in 1999.

This process has already been carried out in the Torres Municipality, where local residents and associations organized a constituent assembly to re-write the municipal constitution in 2004, with the leadership and support of former Mayor Julio Chávez, who is one of the founders of the communal councils in Venezuela. The new constitution empowers a legislative body made up of community councils to control the local budget and direct local development.

“The issue is a new constitutional doctrine and we are in the vanguard in the region,” said Chávez. He pointed out that since Venezuela re-wrote its constitution ten years ago, Ecuador and Bolivia have also ratified new constitutions based on similar principles, and last week Honduran President Manuel Zelaya proposed a referendum to consult Hondurans about whether to convoke a constitutional assembly.

Chávez also announced that he has created a Socialist Corporation of Public Services that will be managed by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. He called on governors and mayors to create mixed state enterprises together with the national government to provide public services to their jurisdictions.

“Let’s create mixed enterprises in all the states, and even alliances among multiple states,” said the president.

During the summit, Cojedes state officials signed a document of intent with Public Works and Housing Minister Diosdado Cabello to create a joint enterprise to administer the mining of granite and graphite in Cojedes state.

Since PSUV governors and mayors prevailed in more than two thirds of Venezuela’s states and municipalities in elections last November, and voters approved the elimination of term limits on elected offices including the presidency in February, Chávez has called for a radicalization of the “Bolivarian Revolution,” which has laid the foundations of participatory democracy in Venezuela since Chávez was elected in 1998.On Wednesday, Chávez said his government has committed errors that must be overcome. He recommended that every official read the book Beyond Capital by István Mészáros. Book in hand, he read a passage that said, “The path to socialism is filled with misunderstandings, errors, setbacks, and sacrifices, but it is the path, the only path.”

“In this moment there are contradictions, because we still have a state with bourgeois components, with a bourgeois culture, but we are amidst a process of transformation, becoming a revolutionary state at the service of the people,” said Chávez.

The president then compared Venezuela to its ally, Cuba, saying the revolution led by former President Fidel Castro on the island has advanced beyond the point no return. In contrast, “we are far from the point of no return… someday our revolution should reach the level of maturity [of the Cubans],” said Chávez