Cuba and Venezuela announce alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas

Campaign News | Wednesday, 15 December 2004

Chavez in Havana signs joint declaration

Havana, Dec 14: Presidents Fidel Castro Ruz, of Cuba, and Hugo Chavez Frías, of Venezuela, signed a joint declaration and an accord on Tuesday in Havana to implement the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas.

The joint declaration strongly rejects the content and intentions of the Free Trade Zone of the Americas (FTAA), considered the clearest expression of the imperialist desires to dominate the Latin American region.

With the recent accord both governments expand and modify their Comprehensive Bilateral Cooperation Agreement, signed on October 30, 2000. They also take concrete steps towards integration of the Bolivarian Initiative for The Americas, known as ALBA by its Spanish acronyms and which is an alternative project to the FTAA.

The document stipulates that both nations will draw up a strategic plan that guarantees the most beneficial productive complementation on the basis of rationality, the optimum use of advantages existing in both countries, the saving of resources, and others. Both nations will also exchange locally-developed integral technology packages for mutual benefit.

Presidents Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez also agreed to subscribing a Reciprocal Credit Accord, the development of a two-way balanced trade and joint cultural initiatives.

According to the document, Venezuela and Cuba are committed to undertake a series of actions including the immediate lifting of any kind of non-tariff barrier on all imports in both ways.

In the context of Tuesday’s agreement, Havana offers 2,000 scholarships annually to Venezuelan youths to take higher education courses in the fields of interest of Caracas, which will transfer technology in the energy sector.

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