Venezuela Proposes New Regional Currency During ALBA Summit


Source: Venezuela Analysis

In a speech at the III Extraordinary Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in Caracas on Wednesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez proposed the creation of a regional monetary bloc with its own currency to break the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and U.S.-dominated international financial institutions.

“We are going to create a proposal for a monetary zone of solidarity-based commercial exchange,” said Chávez. “The hegemony of the dollar must end.”

The currency would start out as a virtual compensation system, and later become a hard currency, Chávez explained. It would make Latin American countries less susceptible to the effects of the world financial crisis, he said.

Chávez suggested that the name of the currency be the Sucre, in honor of Antonio José de Sucre, a South American independence hero. SUCRE also stands for Unified Regional Compensation System, translated from Spanish.

The ALBA is an alternative trade bloc to the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and its members include Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Dominica, and Ecuador as an associate.

Chávez also said the ALBA member countries must construct their own solutions to the world financial, food, and ecological crises. “We are not going to wait here with our arms crossed for the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to come and solve the problems for us,” said Chávez. “We have things to say, the South also exists.”

“We will leave the Inter-American Development Bank and we will make our own bank, a bank that we ourselves manage,” said Chávez. “Can anyone imagine that the solution will come from Washington, from those who generated the crisis?”

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said “the time has arrived to review” the participation of ALBA member countries in the IMF and other financial institutions.

Chávez said these institutions “must be dissolved” because they are the “culprits of the crisis” and they only exist as “an imperialist hand to dominate us.”

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who participated in the summit, said the ALBA “has established bases that put us in an advantageous position amidst the world economic crisis.”

Bolivian President Evo Morales also advocated mutual support among countries in the region, which is one of the ALBA’s principles. “Those of us who believe in life have no other path than to choose to work together and complement each other for the benefit of all,” said Morales.

“In Capitalism, there are no human beings, but consumers, there is no Mother Earth, but raw materials, and great assymetries exist among families, countries, and continents,” Morales asserted.

Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, asked for support from ALBA member countries as he seeks international tribunals to relieve Ecuador of debt incurred by past governments which operated according to the values of U.S.-dominated international financial institutions.

“We ask the ALBA to back us. It is necessary to make the truth known… this debt is illegitimate and we have no reason to pay,” said Correa. “I assure you, we will make sensible and responsible decisions… we can achieve much more if we are united.”

While presenting the final declaration of the summit, President Chávez proposed that ALBA countries create debt auditing commissions to support debt-burdened countries such as Ecuador and “begin evaluating ourselves and supporting other nations in this task.”