Latin American bloc to stop using dollars in trade
COCHABAMBA, Bolivia -- The leftist Latin American ALBA trade bloc is
scheduled Friday to approve measures that would replace U.S. dollars
with a new virtual currency for regional commerce, an official said
Bolivian Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade Pablo Guzman told reporters
that members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA)
"will replace the dollar in commercial exchanges" between members with
the Unified Regional Compensation System, or sucre.
The new monetary system was adopted in principle at an ALBA summit in
April by organization members, which include Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba,
Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent, Antigua and
Initially the sucre system -- the acronym comes from the Spanish name
Sistema Unificado de Compensacion de Pagos Reciprocos -- will be a
virtual currency used in commercial exchanges between ALBA countries.
An agreement on the value of the sucre relative to regional currencies
is 90 percent complete, according to La Paz.
The sucre was also Ecuador's currency until it was replaced by the U.S.
dollar in 2000.It was named after Jose Antonio de Sucre, who fought for independence
from Spain alongside Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar in the early 19th
ALBA's long-term goal is to establish a unified regional currency,
which Bolivia has already suggested could be named "Pacha" for the
Quecha Indian word for Earth, Guzman said.
Bolivian authorities said Thursday that four of Latin America's most
prominent leftist heads of state had confirmed they would attend the
Cochabamba summit -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Ecuador's
President Rafael Correa, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega and
Bolivian President Evo Morales.
The Cochabamba summit is also expected to lay the groundwork for a
regional arbitrage mechanism to replace the International Center for
Settlement of Regional Disputes, a World Bank organization.
Most ALBA members have already withdrawn from the organization, with
Ecuador announcing last July that it would pull out of the group.