The Decline of Alba

Last Wednesday, in Caracas, the XXIII Summit of Heads of State and the Government of Alba-TCP / Prense Latina

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yunior García Aguilera, Madrid, 27 April 2024 — Alba-TCP, the alliance created by Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, has reached 20 years with the vitality of an “almendrón,” a 1950s American car, without spare parts. The high price of oil during those founding years was the viagra that unleashed the social-imperialist fantasies of both leaders. But with the subsequent fall in crude oil prices, as well as the death of its ideologues, the organization experienced a stage of flaccidity that they are now trying to shake up with motivating speeches and new agendas.

Josefina Vidal leaked a few words to show the early detumescence of the Bolivarian Alliance. In an interview with Prensa Latina, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba talked about affectations, lack of economic resources, programs on a smaller scale, coercive measures and blockades. Of course, she did not refer to the political and economic crisis that Venezuela is experiencing, nor to the crisis of attractiveness suffered by the Cuban regime. Thus, without a pipe gushing petrodollars and charismatic leadership, Alba offers less light than a night without a moon.

The idea of this “alternative” emerged as a counterpart to Alca. Since the time of Bush senior in 1988, the United States had tried to create a free trade area that ran from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, with 34 nations and a market of 800 million people. The asymmetry between the countries of the hemisphere aroused suspicions around the project, but many saw more benefit than danger in its concretization. In 1993, Bill Clinton signed the agreement, to take effect in 1994. However, when the IV Summit of the Americas arrived in 2005, Bush junior received a “No” in response, and Hugo Chávez mounted a parallel organization with a slogan that went viral: Alca, Alca, go to Hell!”

In 1994 Bill Clinton rounded out the idea a little more and planned to implement it in 2005

Fidel Castro, from his bunker in Havana, rubbed his hands and smiled sarcastically. His purpose was never for Latin America to win anything, but for the United States to lose. In addition, he was dying of nostalgia for those years of the Comecon where it was enough to stay in the nest with an open beak, chirping like an eagle in heat. That’s why the bearded man needed something like Alba. It would not be necessary to produce competitively, something in which he did not have the slightest experience or any enthusiasm. Its purpose was to establish a ritual of charitable exchanges, with a whole propagandistic and demagogic apparatus behind it. He was an expert at that. It was always an ideological alliance with subsidies, never a regional cooperation and development project. About the small Caribbean States and their role in this soap opera, we will have to write later.

Alba failed to reduce poverty or inequalities, despite its “mission” and its paraphernalia. On the contrary, both Cuba and Venezuela suffer worse rates of poverty today than in 2004. Nor was it an alternative for “the people,” since decisions have always been made from the hierarchies of these regimes, where civil society cannot even look out.

Last Wednesday, in Caracas, the XXIII Summit of Heads of State and the Government of Alba-TCP took place. Twenty-three summits in twenty years – that’s typical of our tireless bureaucrats! The host, Nicolás Maduro, for whom originality is an unknown concept, presented the Alba 2030 agenda. Don’t expect to find anything new, much less verify results within six years. It’s a diet of bombastic ideas like that of the Petro cryptocurrency*, which the dictator sold as the most solid and stable in the world. Now he sells us a septet of “great goals,” including the resurrection of Petrocaribe**, the University of the Peoples, a “fair” trade zone and other pretty things.

The host, Nicolás Maduro, for whom originality is an unknown concept, presented the Alba 2030 agenda

Díaz-Canel, the front man for the Castros, awkwardly read his flash cards. His dyslexia prevented him from distinguishing between “vecino” (neighbor) and “destino” (destiny), “precedent” and “president.” Which prankster thought of writing the word “consolidation” in his speech? At the conclusion, he made his characteristic grimace of dry swallowing, picking his nose and going from robotic seriousness to a childish smile, looking for a friendly face in the crowd, like a bad student after an uncomfortable oral presentation. Sympathizing with his ineptitude, Maduro released one of his pearls: “Together we are invincible. And together with the women, even more invincible.” That’s Alba, a group of idiots.

Alba, Alba, to the trash!

Translator’s notes:
*Petrocurrency was launched by President Maduro six years ago to sidestep US sanctions but was shut down in January, 2024, due to corruption.
**Petrocaribe was a 2005 agreement between Venezuela (under Hugo Chávez) and Caribbean nations for selling and buying oil.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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