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By Fernando Ramón Bossi
It usually happens that in conferences where the central theme is ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for America, they do not talk about ALBA, but rather talk about the FTAA And it should be clarified that ALBA is not only a response to the FTAA, it is not only that, but it transcends it in all its aspects.
Before starting the exhibition, I want to thank the organizers of this event for inviting me to participate and share with you some reflections regarding ALBA.
I must also state that it is a true honor to be able to share this rostrum with leaders of the stature of Jorge Ceballos, national coordinator of the Movement Barrios de Pie and member of the Political Secretariat of the Bolivarian Congress of Peoples, as well as with friend Aníbal Mellano, genuine representative of small and medium-sized Argentine companies, a man committed to the cause of the peoples.
It usually happens that in conferences where the central theme is ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for America, they do not talk about ALBA, but rather talk about the FTAA. It exposes itself on the FTAA, it raises all the evils that this imperialist proposal entails and it concludes by stating that ALBA is the opposite. At most some examples are mentioned: Petrosur, Telesur or Banco del Sur. There is seldom an attempt to explain the Bolivarian integration proposal, and it should be clarified that the ALBA is not only a response to the FTAA, it is not only that, but it transcends it in all its aspects.
This is why, with the intention of not repeating the traditional conference on ALBA but where ALBA is not talked about but the FTAA, I took the task of outlining 10 points of approach to the ALBA proposal and the role of the peoples in its construction.
1) ALBA is a historic project
Although it was born as an alternative proposal to the FTAA, ALBA responds to an old and permanent confrontation between the Latin American Caribbean peoples and imperialism. Monroism versus Bolivarianism, perhaps it is the best way to raise the projects in conflict. The first, the one that is summarized in "America for the Americans", actually "America for the Americans." That is the imperialist project, of domination, looting and robbery. The second is the proposal for unity of the Caribbean Latin American peoples, the idea of the Liberator Simón Bolívar to form a Confederation of Republics. In short: an imperialist proposal faced with a liberation proposal. Today ALCA versus ALBA.
Therefore, we must understand that ALBA recognizes its antecedents in the best tradition of the struggles for independence and for unity.
There appears, then, the figure of the Precursor, Francisco Miranda, with a Government Plan for this region, which he called Colombia. And we find, without a doubt, the work and thought of the Liberated Simón Bolívar. It is necessary to read, study, reflect on the "Letter of Jamaica", his speech in the Congress of Angostura, the letter to Martín de Pueyrredón, the convocation to the Amphictyonic Congress of Panama, the Mosquera-Monteagudo, Mosquera-O Higgins, Santamaría agreements -Alaman, the correspondence with José de San Martín and many other documents that announce the path of ALBA.
And we cannot forget either Sucre, the proclamations of Hidalgo and Morelos, General San Martín, Artigas and his agrarian reform, the “Gaucho Law” of Güemes, the Mariano Moreno Operations Plan, the economic writings de Belgrano, the work of Simón Rodríguez, the Bernardo Monteagudo Federation project, the work of the Honduran Cecilio del Valle and the fight for the Central American Confederation of Francisco Morazán. Throughout this period, of no more than 20 years, revolutionary doctrine, programs, projects, undertakings and laws leading to integration and independence with social justice were generated through thought and action. I think it is one of the most brilliant periods in our history.
But also, in that direction, after the defeat of the Bolivarian project, the popular forces recompose themselves and return to the historic struggle. Unity flags are raised by Eloy Alfaro in Ecuador, Martí in Cuba, Ezequiel Zamora in Venezuela, Felipe Varela in Argentina, Ramón Emeterio Betances in Puerto Rico… and many others.
The same great Nicaraguan patriot and revolutionary "The General of Free Men", Augusto César Sandino, will write his project of Latin American unity: "Plan for the realization of Bolívar's supreme dream." And this just to mention a few milestones in our history.
When looking for the most contemporary, the most recent, Perón and Getulio Vargas appear with ABC; Salvador Allende and the Latin American University; Fidel's voice telling us "There will only be salvation in unity"; Francisco Caamano from the Dominican Republic; Velasco Alvarado from Peru mariateguista and tupacamarista; Torres and Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz from Bolivia; Omar Torrijos from Panama; Carlos Fonseca from Nicaragua; João Goulart from Brazil; Gaitán from Colombia; Che Guevara from all of Our America ... Anyway ... voices, guides that mark a clear course towards unity and the second and final independence.
That is why ALBA has a glorious background, it comes from the depths of insurgent America, it has roots, deep roots that make it a historic project for the construction of the Great Homeland.
2) ALBA is a heroic creation
As the Peruvian amauta José Carlos Mariátegui pointed out, the revolution in this part of the world will be "a heroic creation, never copy or copy." "Either we invent or we make mistakes," Simón Rodríguez told us. It is worth saying that the task of building ALBA will be without manuals or “magic formulas”.
The examples of the European Union are of no use to us, much less the way in which the United States achieved its unity, at the cost of robbery, indigenous genocide and invasions. Neither does the European Union, because that union is established defensively, under the parameters of capitalism and only to accumulate strength in its competition with the United States and Japan. The European Union is a strategy of a series of nations within the framework of the inter-capitalist and inter-imperialist struggle. None of these are models of integration that can serve us as Caribbean Latin Americans.
This is why we South Americans will have to invent, dive into our history, listen to the “voices of the past that point us to the future”, as Eduardo Galeano says; implement an endogenous regional model that leads to a unit that is the product of our own work, to meet our needs and represent our interests.
3) ALBA is based on the potential of Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the richest regions in natural resources on the planet. Taking advantage of our potential is the key to the development and well-being of our peoples.
Where are our potentialities and how do we take advantage of them today? Wherever we look we will find immense riches on our continent; but we will also find that these riches are not used by our peoples. It is for this reason that in immense savannas, plains and pampas, with unbeatable lands for agriculture and livestock, with an infinite potential to produce food, millions of our brothers who suffer from hunger live together.
On the other hand, our region is rich in energy and minerals. Oil, gas, coal and electricity, thanks to the enormous water resources. Nor do we lack iron, copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, gold, silver, cement, lime. However, the absence of industries and the deindustrialization process unleashed by the implementation of neoliberal policies is another fact of reality.
We have the largest reserve of drinking water on the planet, a resource that is strategic today and will be much more so in the coming years. But despite having such immense wealth, more than 30% of the 500,000 children who die each year, for reasons that would be easily avoidable, die from childhood diarrhea; due to lack of drinking water.
We are one of the richest regions in biodiversity. On the other hand, we are also the region where more species are becoming extinct due to the irrational action of multinational companies.
We have a culture of thousands of years that has been systematically denied by the elitist and foreign culture. The contribution of the cultures of the native peoples, their relationship with nature and their worldview, have to be urgently incorporated by our societies, in the fight for the improvement of human coexistence and life in harmony with the environment. Diversity and originality are the fundamental pillars of a lush Latin American Caribbean culture that until today has been hijacked and denied by the Latin American Caribbean themselves.
And we also have, within the enormous potentialities, a history worthy of a people that has never resigned itself to submission and vassalage. While Europeans boast of having given birth to an Alexander the Great, a Caesar, a Napoleon, we, Caribbean Latin Americans, can proudly say that this has been the land of Liberators and never of conquerors.
In short: fertile lands, imposing rivers, biodiversity, energy, minerals, an ancient culture and a heroic history of struggle are the main riches that sustain the construction of ALBA.
4) ALBA relies on anti-capitalist values
The ALBA table is based on four elements, which are unthinkable within the parameters of capitalism:
d) Respect for the sovereignty of countries.
Let us exemplify based on the agreements already reached.
a) Complementation: Here are among others the agreements of Argentina and Venezuela. Argentina produces food that Venezuela needs today and Venezuela has fuels that are essential for Argentina today. Complementation based on our potentialities.
b) Cooperation: Oil agreements between Brazil and Venezuela. Brazil specializes in “offshore” oil exploitation; Venezuela in the production in "mainland". There then a cooperation agreement is produced, each one socializes their knowledge in the areas that they have specialized the most.
c) Solidarity: Petrocaribe. The Caribbean countries have very little wealth in hydrocarbons. Venezuela, in solidarity -without giving anything away-, helps these countries to purchase fuel at fair prices.
d) Respect for sovereignty: All agreements without exception are made respecting the sovereignty and the right to self-determination of each signatory nation.
5) The ALBA is a popular construction
ALBA is inconceivable without the participation of the peoples, which is "vital, like oxygen for human beings," said Commander Chávez.
Many years ago, General Perón had spoken out on this issue, raising the importance of popular participation in the task of integration. The three-time president of the Argentines said, in the same direction as Chávez, that the presence of the peoples in the struggle for Latin American Caribbean unity is essential, "because individuals die, governments pass, but peoples remain ”.
And it is in this titanic task that the peoples will define their future.
6) ALBA is a chapter of the world revolutionary process
The task of the peoples is titanic, colossal, as a consequence of the challenges that the moment imposes. Let's see for example:
- Without the active participation of the peoples, it is impossible for any of our countries to achieve true independence. Because there can be no independence without social justice, "What is the use of independence, Simón, if the poor continue to beg, if the Indians continue to extend their hands to beg!" Manuela Saenz wrote to the Liberator, when he was already marching towards his grave, defeated by the selfish interests of the native oligarchies and colonialism.
- But that independence without social justice will not be achieved if the peoples do not advance towards Caribbean Latin American unity, because only in that unity will true independence and social justice be consolidated.
- And that unity of Our America will not be enough if we do not achieve a new, non-capitalist world order that achieves harmony among nations, peaceful coexistence among human beings and a new relationship with the environment and nature.
That is to say, the task of the peoples is one of permanent struggle to achieve a world with justice, freedom and equality. ALBA, then, is an event, a link in this chain of objectives, of the revolutionary process necessary to preserve the human species and bury any form of exploitation of man by man.
7) ALBA is a form of integration that is not part of the commercial
The first thing to do, in the new integration proposal, is to break with the capitalist logic, the logic of profit and profit, the logic of competition, the logic of economics as chrematistics. ALBA must start from integration, in the first instance, from the political and social aspects. And this implies popular mobilization.
There we have, from the social point of view, tasks that are already being carried out and others that must be undertaken with the mobilization of popular forces: literacy campaigns, vaccination, medical care, the network of popular universities, arts and crafts workshops, the alternative media network, the Latin American Caribbean workers' center, the peasant center of Our America, the defense network for our natural resources, in short, a number of undertakings that must come from the bosom of the progressive people and governments. of the continent. Likewise, from the political point of view, we must encourage initiatives such as the formation of the Network of Parliamentarians for Integration, established in El Salvador, at the initiative of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the Bolivarian Congress of the Peoples; contribute to forming a powerful network of Latin American Caribbean mayors and mayors, who promote integration mechanisms from local power; the permanent support and solidarity with the progressive political forces that aspire to achieve good results in the upcoming elections throughout the continent ... There are compatriots Evo Morales, Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Daniel Ortega, future presidents of Bolivia, Mexico and Nicaragua, respectively.
In short, it is increasingly necessary for the political and social forces of Latin Caribbean America, the democratic, patriotic, anti-imperialist, and revolutionary forces to become a powerful Latin American and Caribbean popular movement and act in coordination, as the true General Staff of the revolution in Our America. That is the proposal of the Bolivarian Congress of the Peoples.
8) ALBA is a political tool
ALBA should be a political tool for liberation. Now, like any tool, it must be efficient and flexible under the circumstances. Why do I say this? Because I believe that ALBA should also act as a containment barrier against the new tactics that imperialism will use to dominate us. For example: faced with the imperial defeat of wanting to impose the FTAA with a single slap, the "Alquitas" appear, the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) as an indirect way to reach the FTAA.
The US government intends to take advantage of the greatest weakness that we Caribbean Latin Americans have: disunity. So they apply the formula, intelligently I would say, of defeating us one by one. .
But in the face of this new colonialist initiative, in the face of this proposal of twenty-odd rentals or FTA, which in the sum would give birth to the FTAA, we, the peoples of Our America, with the progressive governments and popular organizations, will have to impose 100 "albitas" on them, 1000 "albitas", 10000 "albitas". Each of these agreements that are made in the spirit of ALBA will be solid building blocks in the construction of the Confederation of Latin American Caribbean Republics. That is the task of the popular forces for integration today.
9) ALBA is the program of the Latin American Caribbean Revolution
The peoples of Our America have passed to a new stage. We must make the leap from the stage of protest (without neglecting it, of course), to the stage of proposals. Resistance is necessary, but it is time to go on the offensive.
That is why the ALBA program must be built with the peoples and must be disseminated among the peoples. The three stages proper to any revolutionary struggle must also be worked on in the construction of ALBA:
a) Educate, convince about the need for ALBA.
b) To propagandize and spread the “good news” of ALBA among the popular masses.
c) Organize and mobilize around the concrete construction of integration between peoples.
As the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Alí Rodríguez said very well, "it is necessary that the peoples feel the benefits of integration." That is the task of the popular forces, to make the benefits of integration reach through social campaigns and missions.
I recommend that we read the brochure “Building ALBA from the Peoples”, a true revolutionary integration program, which arose from the proposals of Latin American popular organizations gathered at countless events and through several years of struggle and efforts. This material is not a finished material, but is enriched on a daily basis through new experiences, contributions, studies and undertakings carried out by the different architects of integration.
10) ALBA is a strategic leap to a new stage.
ALBA is already installed, whether the imperialists and the oligarchies like it or not. It will depend on us whether it advances more or less rapidly. ALBA has a fundamental device when it comes to combat:
a) It has a determined leader who has already shown enough conviction and courage: Commander Hugo Chávez.
b) It has a quality General Staff, who are the leaders of popular organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
c) And it has an army of millions of soldiers: the Latin American Caribbean people, ready to build, in peace, the Great Homeland of the Liberators.
This is why the alternative today is no longer "win or die"; Today's alternative is much more demanding, much more tremendous, with even greater responsibility. As the Venezuelan patriot José Félix Ribas said: "necessary is to win." www.EcoPortal.net
Thank you very much
* Presentation by Fernando Ramón Bossi, Secretary of Organization of the Bolivarian Congress of the Peoples, in the Forum that was held at the III Peoples Summit, Mar del Plata, November 3, 2005.
To visit the Alba website: www.alternativabolivariana.org/