As of late Latin America has been reaching agreements and attempting to integrate itself into regional and sub-regional blocks. The South American Common Market (MERCOSUR) and the Andean Community of Nations (ACN), which will soon be integrated into one large block, are an example. And just last week the South American Community of Nations was created, a political gathering encompassing all of South America with its goal of joining efforts towards the creation of a great political and economic block in the next 15-20 years, according to their promoters.
The aforementioned are all positive steps, threadings in the Latin American weave that faces hesitations on the part of some, doubt from others, as well as the pressure of U.S. imperialist interests, which although it failed in the original project of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), persists by other means and uses all the pressure it can bear in order to maintain the balkanization of Latin America.
The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the leading promoter of integration and is playing the role of locomotive that rolls on a reality accepted by all: the neoliberal model has failed. This failure created, in the first place, the crisis of traditional political parties with the subsequent ascension of new forces and movements on the area's political stage — Bolivarian Venezuela itself as the first example. On the other hand, governments, albeit if they are centrist or moderate leaning, have no choice but to move towards a stronger defense of national interests — Kirchner's Argentina is an example — and to lean towards a fairer distribution of wealth. The hesitation of some governments tends to decrease with the alliances and these, on reaching common acts and voices, strengthen each other.
But present times demand celerity and concrete facts. Life must be breathed into clay, giving it flesh and blood, making it visible, palpable, demonstrating its viability, as well as the fact that no government and no people would lose essential particularities, even if adjustments and corrections are necessary.
Venezuela and Cuba — with different systems but common objectives in relation to the region's independence, vocation for a fair distribution of wealth, and a concept of solidarity in relations — are the best endowed to promote it. And this is what happened in Havana on the night of December 14, when the presidents of both countries signed a declaration that fosters the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA, in Spanish).
In the same manner that decades ago the European economic integration was started in order to counterbalance the United States' voracious power that threatened to swallow Europe under the pretense of alliances and free trade, at present ALBA is trying to materialize integrationist policies that step by step will attract other countries in order to some day attain the dream of Simón Bolívar and José Martí — one single and great motherland that reaches from the Rio Grande to the Patagonia — in a multi-polar world; one that is more just and possible.
* Manuel Alberto Ramy is the Havana correspondent for Radio Progreso Alternativa and the Spanish edition editor of Progreso Semanal/Weekly.