ALBA leaders push greater unity, social mov'ts at summit

Cuban Vice-President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura praised Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on July 31 for their fight against US imperialism.

Machado said greater Latin American integration was aiding development across the region during the closing session of the 12th summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) in Ecuador. But he stressed that social movements should lead the charge.

ALBA in an anti-imperialist political and economic bloc first formed by Venezuela and Cuba in 2004, which has expanded to include Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

About 10,000 people marched through Ecuador's biggest city Guayaquil on July 30 in support of greater integration. And about 200 representatives of the groups involved in the march joined the summit the next day to propose greater economic, political and cultural ties across the region.

Maduro said ALBA heads of state had backed the social movements' proposals. The summit also discussed the role of women, food sovereignty and changes in production.

Maduro said: “ALBA is driving our comprehensive development model with democracy and equality, strengthening the new independence.”

Correa pointed to the differences between ALBA and the US-sponsored Organisation of American States on Tuesday. He asked the summit how the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean could continue to support the OAS, given that its venue is the nation “maintaining a criminal blockade on the island of Cuba”.

He said the blockade openly violated 50% of OAS articles and has been condemned by the United Nations for 21 years in a row.

[Abridged from Mornign Star.]

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