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By Jolly Green
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other leaders arrive in Cuba to attend the Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
The Alba was created 14 years ago on December 14, 2004, by the deceased presidents of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and of Cuba, Fidel Castro, describing it as an alternative to the Free Trade Area for the Americas (FTAA).
December 12, 2018, before the opening, the Cuban head of State received the participants of the meeting, at the venue of the Protocol Hall Cubanacan of Havana.
Attending the meeting are the Secretary-General of the integration bloc, Bolivian David Choquehuanca, presidents of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, of Bolivia, Evo Morales and Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, as well as Prime Ministers of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.
Several dignitaries, among them Cuba’s President, Miguel Diaz-Canel and Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, who has highlighted on social networks the importance of consolidating unity and the regional integration to defend independence and sovereignty of the peoples.
To comply with that objective, they also highlighted the pertinence of strengthening the ALBA-TCP, which appeared as the alternative to the Area of Free Trade of the Americas (AFTA), a neoliberal proposal of the United States that pretended to break the sovereignty of Latin American and Caribbean nations.
The usual anti-US rhetoric prevailed at the meeting and ALBA, which on Thursday is marking the 13th anniversary of its founding, “needs an additional push,” Rodriguez said at the inauguration of the organization’s 16th Political Council.
He said this year had been one of changes in the international arena, including a “growing onslaught of US imperialism” in Latin America and the Caribbean, an “escalation” of aggression [by the US] against Venezuela and “growing threats to peace and security.”
In Thursday’s session, ALBA members reviewed global political issues such as the “campaign against Venezuela,” a reference to harsh sanctions imposed earlier this year by the United States, the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s director-general for Latin America and the Caribbean, Eugenio Martinez, told reporters.
US President Donald Trump in August signed an executive order that bars dealings in new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and that nation’s state oil company, PDVSA.
The US Treasury Department said the measures were “carefully calibrated to deny (President Nicolas Maduro’s) dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule, protect the United States financial system from complicity in Venezuela’s corruption and the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people, and allow for humanitarian assistance,” the statement said.
Because the re-election of Maduro was considered illegal and rigged, like the US, the European Union and Canada also have imposed their sanctions on Venezuela.
At the conference Maduro presented his old re-modeled plan to try and damage the dollar, called on all the ALBA members to follow Venezuela’s lead and adopt the Petro cryptocurrency and dump the dollar.
Of course, most of the hemispheres intelligencia realize that Maduro invented the Petro cryptocurrency because Venezuela was rapidly being prohibited in dealing in dollars because of ever squeezing US sanctions.
The conference all agreed that their respective countries would adopt the Petro cryptocurrencies, but not one of the leaders have relayed to their citizens of this critical shift, an action which will more than annoy the US.
How that will affect the East Caribbean Dollar Union EC$, which is the currency of some of the Caribbean members, is not yet fully understood. The EC$ is tied in value to the US$, if it is realigned to be set against the Petro cryptocurrency it could quite well become valueless in a brief time after adoption. Unless of course those countries like Saint Vincent and the Grenadines opt out of the ‘Petro’ which would be a sensible thing to do.
Problem is there are not any sensible leaders among the ALBA membership, otherwise they would have not taken their countries into the membership in the first place. Also they are all obliged to provide solidarity to each other, it is one of ALBA’s terms of membership.
Six of the states using the EC$ are independent states: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts, and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The other two are British overseas territories: Anguilla and Montserrat. These states are all members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.
Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, are all members of the East Caribbean Dollar monetary alliance. They all owe their citizens an explanation regarding the adoption of such a far-reaching decision.
The petro, or petromoneda, launched in February 2018, is a crypto-currency invented and developed by the government of Venezuela. As of August 2018, it did not appear to function as a currency. Announced in December 2017, it is supposed to be backed by the country’s oil and mineral reserves and is intended to supplement Venezuela’s plummeting bolívar-Fuerte-currency, as a means of circumventing U.S. sanctions and accessing international financing. On August 20, 2018, the bolívar Soberano was introduced, with the government stating it would be linked to the petro value.
The problem is that the country’s oil and mineral reserves are already in hock to Russia and China, which makes the Petro little more than useless and valueless. Cuba has bled Venezuela dry, and now agrees with the adoption of the petro.
In 2017, a month after Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro announced the creation of the Petro, a state-backed cryptocurrency that would supposedly bring the country out of six-figure hyperinflation, the only place the Petro seemed to exist was in the media.
Now it will take on a new status if adopted by all the ALBA members, who may just be adopting Venezuela’s one million percent inflation, ALBA wide.