Friday, May 19, 2006
Three for a Real Integration Alternative
The Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA) led by the United States is on life support. The wolf showed its large ears and voracious appetite and peoples in the region were fooled no longer. There is the good example of Mexico, whose agriculture was overrun in the last 10 years by subsidized American products.
A country full of natural resources is being sucked out of its riches. That is the reason for so many marches and protests all over the region, millions of people against ALCA (FTAA in Spanish).
The word of order now is ALBA -Alternativa Bolivariana para America Latina y el Caribe as it is known in Spanish- proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Already formed by Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba, ALBA has showed it works and short-term too.
Venezuela boasts today practically no illiteracy, universal medical attention, low unemployment rate, more profits from the oil industry to develop social programs, among other benefits of a socialism-oriented government.
Cuba has grown at unprecedented rates over the last two years, while participating in multinational entities like PetroCaribe to alleviate the energy bill of the region and in medical programs like Operation Miracle that has given back their sight to over a hundred thousand patients in a little more than a year, besides the literacy campaigns in Venezuela, Bolivia and a dozen other countries.
Now Bolivia will begin to profit from cooperation under ALBA and from the nationalization of its oil and gas industries.
The road to development is not free from obstacles. Domestic right-wing sectors favoring Washington´s interference, corporations hit by nationalist policies and the wide assortment of obstacles put forward by US policy are more than enough. But the desire to build a better world for these peoples will lead the way forward.