Date of Award/Publication

1-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in International Studies

Department

International Studies

First Supervisor

David McGregor

Second Supervisor

David Baronov

Abstract

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) is an international cooperation organization based upon the idea of social, political, and economic integration between the countries of Latin American and the Caribbean. The ALBA Bloc was started by the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, as an alternative to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), in 2004. Its main objective is to counter United States hegemony in Latin America. It started off as a trade agreement between Cuba and Venezuela and has grown to include the following members: Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The alliance seeks to create regional economic integration through mutual economic aid. ALBA is rooted in the belief that globalization cannot be left to the private sector, but must be overseen by the state in order to maximize the welfare of its citizens. The ALBA Bloc has led to Latin American economic integration that depends on Venezuela to fund its initiatives; this dependency destabilizes Latin America because Chavez politically influences the members of ALBA. The ALBA Bloc is important to examine because of its growth and influence in Latin America. The growth of the bloc has increased the tension between the US and the members of ALBA. The tension has been driven by Chavez, as he launched his anti-American crusade throughout the world. His efforts have the potential to upset the balance of power in the Western Hemisphere by creating a divide between "pro-US" and "anti-US" countries in Latin America.

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